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Acne, pimples, zits, whiteheads EliminateFact: Acne and Blemishes result from the obstruction and inflammation of the sebaceous glands. Skin blemishes are one of the most common skin problems in the United States, affecting nearly 85% of all people.

What Is Acne? Acne lesions are commonly referred to as pimples, spots, or zits. Acne is the term for plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and even deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and even the upper arms.

Acne is not a serious health threat but it is unsightly and can cause scars. It is not confined to teenagers and puberty, it also prevalent in adults and in women mostly during pregnancy.


Who Gets Acne? People of all races and ages get acne. It is most common in adolescents and young adults. An estimated 80 percent of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point. For most people, acne tends to go away by the time they reach their thirties; however, some people in their forties and fifties continue to have this skin problem.

How Does Acne Develop? Doctors describe acne as a disease of the pilosebaceous units (PSUs). Found over most of the body, PSUs consist of a sebaceous gland connected to a canal, called a follicle, that contains a fine hair (see "Normal Pilosebaceous Unit" diagram). These units are most numerous on the face, upper back, and chest.

 The sebaceous glands make an oily substance called sebum that normally empties onto the skin surface through the opening of the follicle, commonly called a pore. Cells called keratinocytes line the follicle.

The hair, sebum, and keratinocytes that fill the narrow follicle may produce a plug, which is an early sign of acne. The plug prevents sebum from reaching the surface of the skin through a pore. The mixture of oil and cells allows bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) that normally live on the skin to grow in the plugged follicles.

These bacteria produce chemicals and enzymes and attract white blood cells that cause inflammation. (Inflammation is a characteristic reaction of tissues to disease or injury and is marked by four signs: swelling, redness, heat, and pain.) When the wall of the plugged follicle breaks down, it spills everything into the nearby skin sebum, shed skin cells, and bacteria leading to lesions or pimples.

Market America's Acne/ Blemish/
Skin Care
products are for all ages and skin types.


Factors that can cause an

acne flare

  • Changing hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women 2 to 7 days before their menstrual period starts

  • Oil from skin products (moisturizers or cosmetics) or grease encountered in the work environment (for example, a kitchen with fry vats)

  • Pressure from sports helmets or equipment, backpacks, tight collars, or tight sports uniforms

  • Environmental irritants, such as pollution and high humidity

  • Squeezing or picking at blemishes

  • Hard scrubbing of the skin

  • Stress.

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