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What is acne?

Acne is a common skin problem involving inflammation of the hair follicle and its attached sebaceous (oil producing) gland.

It is formed by:

  • Blockage of the hair pore
  • Increased sebum (oil) production by the sebaceous gland due to androgen hormones
  • Bacteria
  • Inflammation

Who gets acne?

It is most common in teenagers during puberty (85% affected), but 12% of adult females and 5% of adult males can also be affected with acne. Pregnant women in particular are at increased risk.

What causes acne?

A number of factors can lead to acne. They include:

  • Heredity
  • Hormones
  • Heavy, oily make up
  • Hot humid climates
  • Some medications (e.g. steroids)
  • Industrial oils and tars
  • Tight clothing, friction, mechanical trauma

Some studies have suggested that acne may be exacerbated by foods high in sugar and some milk products like skim milk.

What does acne look like?

The features of acne include:

  • Comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) caused by blockage of the hair pore
  • Papules – solid red bumps
  • Pustules – bumps containing pus
  • Nodule – large, tender lump
  • Cyst – Deep tender lump containing fluid

Other features can be present due to complications of acne. These include scars (elevated and depressed) and hyperpigmentation (dark spots). Acne can also lead to a significant psychological impact on the individual.

How can acne be treated?

The table below illustrates a basic guide to various treatment options for acne. It is important for active acne to be treated to prevent complications such as scarring. Your Dermatologist can help you decide which treatments are best for you based on the severity and psychological impact of the condition.









Topical preparations: Benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, retinoids, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, resorcinol, sulphur etc.

Oral medications: Antibiotics, retinoids, anti-androgens (females)


Procedures: Chemical peels, comedone extractions, injectable steroids, microdermabrasion, light therapy


How can the complications of acne be treated?

  • Elevated Scars: Topical +/- Injectible steroids, silicone bandages, surgery, laser
  • Depressed scars: Microdermabrasion, chemical peels, dermabrasion, laser, fillers, surgery
  • Hyperpigmentation: Sunscreen, pigment suppressing creams, chemical peels, laser



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Montego Bay
Jamaica, W.I.
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