Types Of Acne And What It Is

types of acne model

Introduction To Acne, Pimples, And Zits

The single problem that affects nearly every fourth teenager across the world is the skin infection commonly known as pimples, acne or zits.

We have chosen to use the slang term zit when speaking of pimples in a general sense. Why? Because zit, in three short angry letters, so accurately conveys the true terror of what faces you in the bathroom mirror the moment you spot one.

Zits, as we all know, are rude little critters. They possess a sixth sense that enables them to erupt, as if by magic, on the most crucial days of our lives. When, after all, was the last time you heard a story about a zit that disappeared the day before the prom or the morning of a big job interview?

Among other useful tidbits, you will discover in the following pages that the impeccably horrendous timing of your breakouts is probably not the result of rotten luck or evil spirits, but an outcome of emotional stress and the increased hormonal activity it produces. But before we delve too deeply into the causes of acne, we must first learn about the disease itself, and the different kinds of zits it produces.

Experts in dermatology have identified three major types of acne:

Types of Acne ~ Acne Vulgaris

Acne vulgaris, which is also called “teen” acne, although adults occasionally suffer from it, too.

Types of Acne ~ Acne Rosacea

Acne rosacea, which is commonly referred to as “adult” acne, because it primarily afflicts people between the ages of 20 and 50 (and can develop into a chronic, lifelong condition)

Types of Acne ~ Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis, which causes clusters of pimples to form around the “muzzle” of the face (i.e. the sides of the nose, the skin around the mouth, and the chin).

Acne vulgaris is the main cause of concern for us because it accounts for the overwhelming majority of the acne problems experienced by teens. A quick glance around your classroom, workplace, or maybe even your family dinner table will demonstrate that “teen” acne manifests itself differently from person to person and from outbreak to outbreak. The most visible evidence of the disease, obviously, is our good friend, the zit.

The Definitive … Zit!

So, what is a zit? Well, according to Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, a zit (or pimple, to use the dictionary’s term) can be defined as “a papule or small pustule; usually meant to denote a lesion of acne.” Translated into everyday language, his means that zits are small, typically bump-like eruptions of the skin.

They originate in hair follicles (oil pores) that have become plugged up with a mixture of dead skin cells, bacterial by-products, perspiration and sebum, the skin’s natural lubricant. Sebum is a somewhat thick, greasy fluid produced by the oil (or sebaceous) glands to provide necessary moisture to the epidermis, or outer layer of skin.

Ideally, sebum travels slowly and smoothly through a short duct that leads from the oil glands in the dermis to the oil pores on the skin’s surface, where it is discharged and gradually dissipates through evaporation, friction, or cleansing.

Birth of a Zit

Zits crop up when the body produces too much sebum to be efficiently discharged through the pores. When this occurs, the sebum—which is gooey stuff to begin with—starts to accumulate somewhere either below or near the opening of the follicle, where it mingles with debris, thickens, and eventually hardens. At the same time, the cells that compose the walls of the oil duct also tend to thicken, which further restricts the free, natural flow of oil.

The resulting blockage causes the skin immediately surrounding the plugged follicle to fill to the bulging point with oily, bacteria-laden fluid. In time, the entire area becomes inflamed, which is a nice way of saying that it swells, red- dens, and generally looks just awful.

Excess sebum accounts for the swelling around the head of a zit, while the infection caused by bacterial waste products accounts for the red, angry color of the bump.

These waste products, incidentally, are fatty acids produced by the legions of bacteria that live along the walls of your oil ducts, happily feeding on the sebum and nutrients that pass their way.

Under normal circumstances, such bacteria pose no problems to your skin. But as sebum production increases and oil builds up beneath the skin surrounding a clogged pore, two ugly events take place: first, the bacterial population grows rapidly, owing to the more plentiful food supply, and therefore generates greater quantities of fatty acid waste; and second, that waste, now released from the confines of the oil duct, irritates and inflames the surrounding skin it comes in contact with.

In short, a zit has been born—perhaps with you (or one of us!) as the proud parent.
Types of Acne


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Types Of Acne

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