Acne is a common skin condition in which bumps of various sizes form in the skin. It affects some people severely and others only a little or not at all. Acne is common during the adolescent years and tends to affect boys more than girls.

This condition is common in the teenage years because of hormonal changes that occur as children mature into adults. These changes can cause glands in the skin to secrete (put out) too much oil, which then clogs hair follicles. Bacteria trapped inside the follicles multiply, causing pus to accumulate. These accumulations of pus grow into inflamed bumps called pimples or boils.

Acne pimples can develop into bumps called papules. In some cases they can grow into large inflammations called pustules. Some people may have just a few pimples scattered over the face, chest, shoulders or back. Others may have a more severe condition, with large areas of inflamed bumps. The appearance of these bumps can be distressing and embarrassing, and the inflammations can also leave permanent scars.

It is not clear why acne affects some people more than others. Genetics and diet may be factors. Adults can also have acne. The condition can be cyclic in women, and related to regular hormonal changes.

Treatments can reduce the number and size of acne inflammations, and result in better self-esteem.

Our physicians have extensive experience with all degrees of acne. Because of our ability to treat this condition successfully, patients who have acne that is difficult to treat often come to IU Health through physician referrals.