Acne is the inflammation of the sebaceous glands of the skin. Pores become clogged and pustles form, creating what are colloquially known as "pimples", "zits" or "blemishes". Acne is often due to the overproduction of an oil called sebum, and can appear at any stage of life. Several factors contribute to how acne will affect an individual person.
For most people, acne begins at the onset of puberty and lessens or disappears once puberty is over. This is not true for everyone, however.
Adult acne affects 25 percent of all adult men and 50 percent of adult women, according to a study published in the October 1999 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Adult acne may not be persistent, but may appear and disappear seemingly at will.
The exact cause of acne is unknown, but is commonly thought to be caused by a fluctuation in hormones, which can be caused by bodily changes and sometimes stress. The use of cosmetics, over-washing of the face and exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria are all also known to cause acne.
Baby acne, known as millia, are spent skin cells that get trapped in little pockets and appear as small bumps. Treatment is not usually indicated for young children.
Over-the-counter acne soaps and solutions containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are of help to most individuals, however those with serious cases of acne are advised to seek help from a professional dermatologist.