Acne Vulgaris is a common disease of the pilosebaceous unit, involving abnormalities in sebum production, follicular epithelial desquamatin and bacterial proliferation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne vulgaris affects approximately 40 million to 50 million people in the United States.
The disease occurs most frequently during childhood and adolescence (affecting 80% to 85% of all adolescents) but it may also appear in 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) or non-inflamed (comedones).
Acne can have a profound effect on the quality of life of those suffering from the disease. In addition to carrying a substantial risk of permanent facial scarring, the appearance of lesions may cause psychological strain, social withdrawal and lowered self-esteem.
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.