Acne Vulgaris is a common disease of the pilosebaceous unit, involving abnormalities in sebum production, follicular epithelial desquamation, bacterial proliferation and inflammation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, Acne Vulgaris affects approximately 40-50 million people in the United States.
Acne occurs most frequently during childhood and adolescence (affecting 80-85% of all adolescents) but it may also appear in some individual adults.
Acne patients suffer from the appearance of lesions on areas of the body with a large concentration of oil glands, such as the face, chest, neck and back. These lesions can be inflamed (papules, pustules, nodules) and non-inflamed (comedones).
Acne has a profound effect on patients’ quality of life: the appearance of lesions may cause psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and lowered self-esteem of the patient. Also, acne lesions may cause permanent scarring.
There are four major factors that contribute to the emergence of Acne lesions:
- Stimulated sebaceous gland, resulting in excess production of sebum.
- Blockage of hair follicles due to abnormal keratinization.
- Proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) within the clogged hair follicles.
- Inflammatory response by a variety of immune cell types.
Acne may be also triggered by factors like stress, excessive sweating, use of oily cosmetic products and diet.