Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, July 2014.
Acne is a common chronic disorder affecting the hair follicle and sebaceous gland, in which there is expansion and blockage of the follicle and inflammation. There are several variants.
Acne affects males and females of all races and ethnicities. It is prevalent in adolescents and young adults, with 85% of 16-18 year olds affected. However, it may sometimes occur in children and adults of all ages.
Acne is due to a combination of factors. The exact mechanisms are not fully understood.
Flares of acne can be provoked by:
Acne is often confined to the face but it may involve neck, chest and back.
It is characterised by:
Severity is classified as mild, moderate or severe.
In most cases, tests are unnecessary. If features are atypical consider:
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Treatment with isotretinoin can lead to long-term remission in many patients.
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