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Acne Vulgaris is a skin disease that affects most people at some point in their lives. It usually starts at puberty, affects both men and women and is more common in certain racial groups. It affects mostly the face, back and chest – areas with the highest concentration of oil glands (called sebaceous glands). Acne can, and does, run in families. Clinical history is one way to determine the root causes of acne and can give insights into one’s tendency to develop it.
Acne is influenced by many factors, of which hormonal fluctuations is the most common. It affects the pilosebaceous unit which attaches to our hair follicles and affects both the epidermis and the dermis. Sebum is a necessary component in skin health but when over secreted, it can cause acne. Sebum production is influenced by androgenic hormones, which are influenced by the hormone testosterone (and, yes, women also make testosterone!). Conventional treatment aims to stabilize these hormones to reduce acne, but unfortunately, it is only one factor that affects the sebaceous gland. Females often have an underlying reproductive disorder, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is advisable to consult a medical professional to eliminate possible health conditions which could contribute to the problem, especially if there are other symptoms present. Certain medications can also cause acne.