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A Multifaceted Approach to Acne

Lawrence Samuels, MD February 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
acne patient

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Acne is a common skin disorder affecting both genders and all ethnic groups. In fact, the condition affects at least 80% of adolescents and young adults to some degree. Research also shows that a large number of women over 25 have acne, and the prevalence of acne remains constant until approximately 44, at which time there is a decrease in its incidence.1 It is important to understand the epidemiology and causes of acne and oily skin to truly appreciate the science and benefit behind today’s acne treatment products.

Acne can substantially impact a client’s quality of life. Clients with moderate or severe acne generally have higher levels of behavioral and emotional difficulties than those with clearer skin. The most prominent psychological impact acne has on clients is lower self-confidence, embarrassment, and reduced self-esteem and self-image. The psychosocial impact of this skin condition should never be underestimated.

Clinical features and etiology

Acne is a self-limiting disease that involves the hair follicle (pilosebaceous) unit. A pilosebaceous unit is comprised of a follicle or pore and an oil gland (sebaceous gland). Characteristic skin lesions are created by pathology in the pilosebaceous unit and include blackheads (comedones), red papules, pustules, red nodules and cysts.

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