Do You Have Acne?
Image Some people, especially teens, are unsure whether what they are experiencing can be classified as "acne." A swelling of the skin, accompanied by redness, can be caused by a number of things, not necessarily acne.

Acne is also called simply "pimples", or more scientifically, vulgaris. It is generally caused when the pores are clogged by an accumulation of fatty material from the oil gland or sebaceous gland. It is a very common phenomenon, and certainly nothing to worry about for most people.

Not all pores are affected by acne. The reason for this disparity is still a mystery. Because of the accumulation in the pores, a swell may eventually appear which is called a blackhead or whitehead. Blackheads are not caused by dirt but by the simple chemical reaction of the fatty material in the pores with the air. Oxygen causes the discoloration of the fatty material, sebum, causing a black “bump”.

Teens are not the only ones who suffer from acne, as adult acne is also common these days. Unlike teenagers' acne, adult acne is caused by changes that our skin goes through as we mature. Scars caused by acne in adults are often more severe than the scars of teens with acne. Adults are also less likely to find treatment for their acne, leaving them to suffer in silence.

Acne includes many different types, and each seems to correspond to different superstitious beliefs, causal theories, and treatments. These different treatments may work for others but not on you because of acne’s complex nature. So, don’t simply believe what your friends tell you or what the TV commercials promise regarding acne. They may be merely parroting one of the common theories or superstitious beliefs.

Although not advised, if you choose to pop or squeeze blemishes, be gentle, as harsh treatment can lead to life-long scars. The physical effects of acne are well-known, but how about the psychological effects? Teenagers with acne tend to have lower self-confidence that may lead to a feeling of isolation and awkwardness. Acne has caused much grief for people at a vulnerable age, and also much anger. Millions of people each year are afflicted by it, and it makes recluses out of many teenagers.

Acne falls into two main categories. It can be inflammatory or non-inflammatory acne. Whether you are an adult or a teen, your acne will fall to one of these categories. Whiteheads and blackheads are signs of non-inflammatory acne. Unlike non-inflammatory acne, inflammatory acne is more difficult to identify. Some symptoms of inflammatory acne may be pustules, papules, and in more severe cases, cysts or nodules.

Seek treatments once you know what category your acne falls into. Remember that if a certain treatment does not work for your acne, you can always try something else. New technology has given rise to new treatments. Researchers are now developing new treatments that may be more effective than traditional methods and drugs, and might give you the clear skin your longing for. But most of the "off-the-shelf" products in pharmacies have little or no benefit.

Another treatment which may be more effective is to avoid heavy use of grain products such as cereals, bread, corn, and pastries. Also, don’t forget to get a standard daily dose of vitamins because there is some evidence of their usefullness with acne. Still, these methods may not work for you. If your acne is serious, or you are seriously concerned about it even if it appears to be mild, consult your family doctor, or try to arrange to see a dermatologist.