Acne may be whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and cysts. Acne affects men and women of all ages. Many mature women are still experiencing acne, years after they thought they’d “grown out of it”.
Acne develops in the pores and oil glands in the skin. The cells in the pores form keratin (cellular debris) that accumulates and blocks the openings. The oil glands continue to produce oil (sebum). Bacteria in the pores flourish in the environment of blockage and increased presence of sebum. The result is a cascade effect causing the skin to become inflamed and swollen, forming a pimple or cyst.
In females, it is not uncommon to have pre-menstrual flares secondary to hormones called androgens. Many medications are also associated with acne. Examples include testosterone, barbiturates, lithium, anticonvulsants and topical, inhaled or systemic corticosteroids. Finally, mechanical irritation such as friction from a bra strap, helmet or headband may cause acne.