Almost all the body is covered with hair, though most hair is virtually invisible. Each hair grows from so-called follicles or bubbles (small patches on the skin), and in each follicle there is a gland (sebaceous gland) that creates an oily matter which lubricates the skin. If sebaceous gland creates too much of this matter and is kept in the bubble, the clogged follicle can be inflamed. The result is a node in the form of a reddish red lump which can, after some time, become a pimple filled with pus. This can occur in most adolescents (i.e. mild acne).
Acne can be caused by taking some medicines, such as corticosteroids or antiepileptic drugs, although this is a common adolescent disorder. It occurs in puberty and disappears at the end of adolescence or at the beginning of the twenties. Sometimes acne persists in adulthood for certain reasons, especially in men.
Numerous adolescents have acne due to increased levels of the body’s hormones in puberty. This leads to stronger build up of oily matter (sebum) in sebaceous glands, as well as to the excessive development of the cells on the surface of the skin that can can clog the glands.
Nodules usually develop on the face, although they often develop even on the back of the head, back, chest and upper arms. Squeezing them may further damage the skin and aggravate the condition. ”Old” nodules disappear while new ones appear. Each nodule leaves a purple trace that also usually disappears; however, some last for weeks and may sometimes leave visible scars.
Acne at a greater or lesser degree affects more than half of men at the age of 14 to 18. Disease is somewhat less common in adolescent girls, and in many cases it occurs mainly in menstrual periods. However, the severe form of acne with permanent scars is rare. Some forms of acne appear to be hereditary, especially if there is a tendency to greasy skin.
Acne is not life-threatening, but is annoying to many adolescents. Do not touch the nodules on your face as you are exposed to dangers of infection and permanent scars.
What to do?
If you have a mild form of acne, you will be able to keep it under control by using self-help measures recommended below. If it is a severe form, consult your doctor.
Self-help: in spite of various ”theories” about the causes of acne, there is no evidence that this is a consequence of, for example, nutrition or masturbation. You should wash your face twice a day (no more than that if it is not abnormally dirty or greasy) – although nodules are not the result of dirty skin. Too much exposure to sun may also cause the appearance of new nodules. Do not squeeze those nodules or touch them, as this will only exacerbate the condition. There are various anti-acne creams and sprays that can be purchased without a prescription, and they sometimes help. However, do not use them too much because you could damage the skin even more.