Who gets acne?
Acne is the most common of skin diseases, affecting 85 per cent of Australians aged 15-24 years old. Very few people manage to escape their teenage and young adult years without some pimples and blackheads.
Acne usually clears spontaneously for many people by their mid 20s. However, for some young people acne is a far more serious problem with the possibility of permanent physical, mental and emotional effects.
When it comes to acne, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a guy or girl as both sexes get acne.
Adolescent boys and young men (13 – 25 yrs old) have higher levels of androgens (hormones that rule the development of the sexual organs) than females so they are more likely to have acne and unfortunately, are also more likely to have severe acne. Acne in guys usually settles during their early 20s.
Females are more likely to suffer with ongoing acne. In some cases, this means acne can be hanging around even in your 30s and 40s. Females can also develop acne for the first time after puberty.
What causes acne?
Acne happens when the oil glands (pores) in the skin become blocked. Hormones make the oil glands produce more oil (sebum) and if the pores are blocked, a build-up occurs and you’ve got acne.
The face, neck, chest, shoulders and upper back are the areas mainly affected by acne because they have the highest number of oil glands.
Acne usually starts at puberty when increased levels of sex hormones (known as androgens) cause an increase in the size and oil production of glands.
If you have a family history of acne, it may also increase your chances of developing acne.
What happens under your skin before a pimple pops up?
If the pore becomes blocked, oil builds up and causes irritation. Bacteria rapidly multiply within these blocked follicles contributing to the redness, swelling and tenderness of pimples.