Acne Vulgaris – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Acne vulgaris

Acne vulgaris is a common skin disorder. It is acne vulgaris is a common skin disorder affecting at least 85 percent of adolescents and young adults. When you have just a few red spots, or pimples, you have a mild form of acne. Some people with severe acne are not bothered by it. Others are embarrassed or upset even though they have only a few pimples.


For most people, acne starts during the teen years. This is because hormone changes after puberty make the skin oilier. The condition results in part from excessive stimulation of the skin by androgens (male hormones). Bacterial infection of the skin also appears to play a role. During puberty, hormone levels rise and skin glands make more oil (sebum). The oil’s job is to keep your skin moist. Acne gets its start when the oil mixes with dead skin cells. Acne can also cause psychological stress and be socially disabling. An early effective treatment is therefore imperative.


Papules and pustules are red lesions 2 to 5 mm in diameter. In both, the follicular epithelium becomes damaged with accumulation of neutrophils and then lymphocytes. Acne develops most often on the face, neck, chest, shoulders, or back and can range from mild to severe. It can last for a few months, many years, or come and go your entire life.


Sometimes your doctor will combine treatments to get the best results and to avoid developing drug resistant bacteria. If taking extra zinc, your body will need 1 to 2 mg each day of copper to avoid deficiency of this mineral.

Topical agents, which comprise first-line therapy for both comedonal and inflammatory acne, are continually being refined to eliminate side effects and improve compliance.

Benzoyl peroxide is the treatment of choice. It is as effective as any other topical treatment, and is relatively cheap. As with other topical treatment, benzoyl peroxide can cause local irritation. It can bleach dyed fabrics.

Permanent, disfiguring scars can be prevented by treatment with the retinoid isotretinoin. It can only be prescribed by, or under the supervision of, a consultant dermatologist, and patients who take it require careful monitoring.

A prescription gel or cream for your skin may be all you need. Your doctor may also order antibiotic pills. A mix of treatments may work best. If you are female, taking certain birth control pills may help.