More commonly known as "zits" or "pimples", acne often occurs to an individual during puberty, after which its occurrence decreases and may even disappear completely when a person reaches his twenties.
Some individuals, however, continue to suffer from acne well into their thirties and forties.
Acne produces immediate physical effects, but often its most damaging effects are psychological, such as low self-esteem and depression.
Acne is known to be partly hereditary, but why some people get it while others don't is yet to be fully determined.
There are, however, some factors that have been found to be commonly related to the occurrence of acne, such as hormonal activity (for instance during the menstrual cycle), bacteria found on the pores, hyperactive sebaceous glands (that is, the glands found in the skin which secrete an oily substance called "sebum"), the intake of anabolic steroids, and the build up of dead skin cells.
Various hormones in the body have been found to be linked to the incidence of acne.
A common misconception about acne is that it is caused by a constant diet of French fries, potato chips, and other greasy food.
Such is yet to be proven, however, and most health professionals suggest that people who suffer from acne should vary the types of food they consume and avoid those that appear to affect the severity of their acne.
Another misconception about acne is that it occurs due to excessive dirt brought about by deficient personal hygiene.
On the contrary, the bacteria that cause acne are not brought about by dirt that has accumulated on the skin, and instead are the bacteria that have always been present on the skin.
As such, regular cleansing of the skin can help reduce the incidence of acne, but not fully prevent it.
There are various ways and numerous products available for treating and preventing acne.
A regular intake of generous amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds is an ideal and healthy way to prevent, or at least decrease the incidence of acne.
Try including a salad in at least one of your meals everyday, and opt for fruit smoothies and shakes instead of soda and other artificial beverages.
It is also recommended to drink plenty of water, at least two liters a day.
Doing so will keep your skin hydrated and allow effective shedding of dead skin cells, which would help prevent blocked pores that lead to further acne.
Skin exfoliation is a particular method that has been proven effective against acne.
Exfoliating allows for the peeling of the top layer of the skin, which helps prevent the accumulation of dead skin cells.
While preventing pores from being blocked by the build-up of dead skin cells, it can also help unclog already blocked pores.
Products that contain Benzoyl peroxide are also effective in treating acne.
Such products, which often come in gel or cream form, are easily available and can be purchased over the counter.
The gel or cream should be used in moderation, often applied once to twice daily by rubbing it over the affected region of the skin.
Though proven effective, the use of such products may often cause dryness of the skin as a side effect.
Moisturizers are thus often used alongside the product.
There are also both topical and oral antibiotics that can be used to treat acne.
Topical antibiotics are externally applied, thereby avoiding the risk of such side effects as an upset stomach or inappropriate drug interactions.
It is as effective as an oral antibiotic and is best used when treating the face, but can prove to be problematic when one is dealing larger portions of the skin.
An oral antibiotic, on the other hand, produces much the same results as the topical kind, but needs to be ingested to work.
Females can also use hormonal treatments to control acne.
Contraceptive pills have some effect on treating acne and are sometimes used, but the least risky method with very minimal side effects is the injection of the hormone cortisone directly into a pimple.
The procedure is done by a dermatologist, and it reduces the inflammation and redness of the pimple almost instantly after the procedure's administration.
In treating acne, it is best to seek the advice of your dermatologist to find the most suitable method or product to help treat your acne condition.