Acne FAQs

Acne is a common condition that causes blocked pores, pimples, cysts and other lesions on the skin of the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. There are several effective treatment methods available to help improve the appearance of the skin and prevent future acne breakouts.

Do only teenagers get acne?

Although teenagers often get acne, it can affect adults of any age.

Is acne dangerous?

Acne is not life-threatening, but it can cause physical disfigurement or scarring, and lead to emotional distress.

What causes acne?

Acne develops on the skin when the pores become clogged, which may occur as a result of an overproduction of oil, a buildup of bacteria or the shedding of dead skin cells. When these substances build up in the hair follicle, they form a soft plug that forces the follicle wall to bulge and protrude from the skin, causing a lesion to develop.

Can eating chocolate or greasy foods cause acne?

No; what a person eats does not cause acne.

What are the symptoms of acne?

Symptoms of acne can include blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, nodules, pustules, redness and swelling.

What are acne lesions?

Acne lesions are physical changes in the skin caused by a disease or bacteria affecting the sebaceous gland. Acne lesions range in severity from blackheads (comedones) to cysts.

Where do acne lesions usually appear?

Acne lesions are most common on the face and neck, where sebaceous glands are most dense, but they can also appear on the chest, back, shoulders, scalp, legs and upper arms.

Can picking at or opening up pimples make them better?

No; it can make them worse. Pimples should never be opened except by a dermatologist because of the risk of infection.

What are the different kinds of acne treatments?

Acne treatments vary depending on the type and severity of lesions, and the patient's skin type, age and lifestyle. Treatment options can include topical creams and ointments, and prescription oral antibiotics. To remove acne scarring, treatments such as dermabrasion or laser therapy may be recommended.

Additional Resources

Back to top