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Acne is a skin condition that affects the pilosebaceous units or hair follicles in the skin. When the follicles become clogged (or plugged up) with oil and dead skin cells, the skin becomes inflamed and may appear red and puffy. Acne usually occurs on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. 

The Root of the Problem

There are numerous causes of acne. Different people may have differing types of acne including inflammatory papules, comedones, cysts or pustules.

In some patients, acne can occur when the skin produces too much oil, also known as sebum. Sebum is produced in the sebaceous glands located in the dermis layer of the skin. This layer helps keep the skin lubricated and protected. But, like most things, too much of a good thing can be a problem. If the body is producing excess oil, the ‘extra’ oil, combined with dead skin cells can form a plug that blocks follicles or pores. This plugged follicle is a form of acne called a comedone. Sometimes these plugs can attract and feed bacteria, which causes inflammation or an inflammatory papule. 

Symptoms of Acne

  • Comedones (whiteheads and blackheads) are created when the openings of hair follicles become clogged and blocked with oil secretions and dead skin cells. When comedones are open at the skin surface, they're called blackheads because of the dark appearance of the plugs in the hair follicles. When comedones are closed, they're called whiteheads and appear as slightly raised, skin-colored bumps.
  • Papules are small raised bumps that signal inflammation or infection in the hair follicles. Papules may be red and tender.
  • Pustules are red, tender bumps with white pus at their tips.
  • Nodules and cysts are large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin. They're formed by the buildup of secretions deep within hair follicles. These lesions may result in scarring.

Causes of Acne

  • Overproduction of oil (sebum)
  • Irregular shedding of dead skin cells resulting in irritation or plugging of the hair follicles
  • Buildup of bacteria

Treatments for Acne

Not to worry, there is hope!

If your child or teenager has acne, they’re not alone. About 85% of teenagers have some form of acne. Even though acne can be distressing and sometimes embarrassing, there are numerous treatments available no matter the severity of your child's condition. Our team can help determine the right treatment for your child whether you prefer conservative or more aggressive treatment to help prevent scarring.

If you would like to learn more about the services we provide for treating acne, please contact Florida Center for Pediatric Dermatology at 407.303.1687 or through our online contact form.