Acne Vulgaris

Acne Vulgaris: Everything You Need to Know

Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition that affects an estimated 50 million people in the United States. It is a chronic, long-term skin disorder that is characterized by the formation of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and other blemishes on the face, chest, back, and shoulders. Acne is not a serious disease, but it can have physical and emotional effects.

Acne can affect people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities but is most common in adolescents and young adults. It typically begins during puberty when the body starts producing more hormones called androgens that stimulate the glands of the skin to produce more oil, or sebum. This excess oil can clog pores, leading to an increase in bacteria that can cause pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and other blemishes.

Common Treatments for Acne Vulgaris

Given the prevalence of acne, there are numerous treatments available. Options include:

  • Topical creams and ointments containing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinoids, and antibiotics.
  • Oral antibiotics that can reduce irritation and inflammation.
  • Birth control pills that can help control hormone levels.
  • Laser or light treatments that can help reduce redness and unclog pores.
  • Isotretinoin, a potent and highly effective oral medication that can reduce pimples.

Individuals can also reduce their risk of developing acne by: avoiding picking, squeezing, or popping pimples; washing their face twice a day with a gentle cleanser; and using oil-free products that are non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t clog pores).

Despite its prevalence, acne can be managed and treated. If you are struggling with acne, talk to a dermatologist about which treatment option may be right for you.