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Acne is a common skin condition that causes black, white or red spots, usually on the face. It can also affect the back and the top of the chest. It can be caused by a wide variety of factors, such as increased hormone levels and stress.
Acne is caused when tiny holes in the skin, known as hair follicles, become blocked. Sebaceous glands are tiny glands found near the surface of your skin. The glands are attached to hair follicles, which are small holes in your skin that an individual hair grows out of. Sebaceous glands lubricate the hair and the skin to stop it from drying out. They do this by producing an oily substance called sebum, some acne treatment will help to prevent the production of sebum.
In acne, the glands begin to produce too much sebum. The excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells and both substances form a plug in the follicle. If the plugged follicle is close to the surface of the skin, it bulges outwards, creating a whitehead. Alternatively, the plugged follicle can be open to the skin, creating a blackhead. Normally harmless bacteria that live on the skin can then contaminate and infect the plugged follicles, causing papules, pustules, nodules, or cysts. Acne treatment can help to prevent this from happening and heal the acne faster.
Treatment for acne depends on how severe it is. It can take several months of acne treatment before acne symptoms improve. If you just have a few blackheads, whiteheads, and spots, a pharmacist should be able to advise you on how to treat them successfully with over-the-counter gels or creams (topical treatments). Acne tends to affect everyone differently, so it is best to speak with your healthcare provider to find the best solution for you.