What is Acne?

Acne is the #1 skin disease in the United States. Acne has genetic, hormonal, and infectious factors that make it difficult to treat and predict its prognosis, but when diagnosed early, can easily be treated.

Causes of Acne

Simply put, acne is a result of an overproduction of skin cells, which clog up hair follicles and sebaceous (oil) glands. These glands normally produce oil that drains through the follicles up to the skin. Once blocked, it’s the perfect home for Propionibacterium acnes, allowing these bacteria to grow, proliferate, and cause acne!

Why You Might Have Acne


Acne begins at puberty with a spike in Testosterone, regardless of sex. This hormone makes the follicles grow larger, increase in sebum production, leading to more clogged pores.


Propionibacterium acnes is an anaerobic bacteria that loves to live in oil. Once your pores are clogged, this bacteria thrives and becomes the major culprit in causing progression of acne.


Acne tends to run in the family. Therefore, a family history of acne usually results in early onset of acne in children.

Two Major Types of Acne:

Non-Inflammatory: The follicular wall is intact.
  • White Heads: Tiny white spots caused by trapped sebum (oil) and bacteria. Usually, invisible to the naked eye, but feel rough to the touch.
  • Black Heads: Occur when the pore opens to the surface, sebum is released to the skin, which contains the skin pigment melanin, oxidizes and turns black/brown color. This is not dirt, which can easily be washed away.
Inflammatory: Follicular wall has ruptured! This leads to redness, pimple popping, and ultimately scarring!
  • Papule: This is the early stages of inflammatory acne, when white blood cells rush in to the injured follicle.
  • Pustule: “The Zit”- This occurs several days after when the white blood cells make their way to the surface of the skin.
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