Acne is an inflammatory condition of the skin. During the teen years, there is an increase in production of skin oils on the face, neck, chest, upper back, and upper arms. These oils can block hair follicles and allow an overgrowth of normal bacteria. This results in acne.

Mild acne causes whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. More severe acne causes cysts and scarring. Acne is most common during teen and young adult years, but it can occur at any age.

These factors can make acne worse:

  • Oil-based cosmetics

  • Heavy sweating

  • Frequent or hard scrubbing of the skin can irritate the acne lesions

  • Skin rubbing against helmets, shoulder pads, turtlenecks, and bra straps

  • Certain types of birth control pills

Home care

Here are some tips to help care for acne:

  • Treatments may include topical products (creams, lotions, or gels), oral antibiotics, and other medicines.

  • Follow the treatment plan advised by your healthcare provider. It usually takes 2 to 3 months to see a result.

  • Switching from oil-based to water-based makeup may improve acne in girls.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. For more information:

  • American Academy of Dermatology

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have acne cysts that get larger or more painful, or as advised.

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