WHAT IS IT:
You may see blackheads (comedones), whiteheads (closed comedones) spots (papules, pustules, nodules, cysts) and sometimes an oily blotchy appearance on the skin. There is often pitting (atrophic scarring) or red, brown or purple marks as scarring can occur if acne is not correctly treated and in a timely way. Clinically, even a few blackheads qualify as acne which means that most of us will have suffered with it at some point in our lives.
Family history of acne, hormone disturbances, lifestyle factors like stress and poor diet, and health conditions (for example polycystic ovarian syndrome) can contribute to it developing.
Spots occur when a comedo (black or whitehead) becomes infected and inflamed or when something external rubs and irritates the skin. The deeper below the surface of the skin and the larger the infection, the more likely scarring will result.
Different skin types have different risk factors. Darker skin is particularly prone to both scarring and dark marks called Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, whilst lighter skin has a higher likelihood of acne developing.
There are five grades of acne with Nodular-Cystic acne being the most severe and which requires immediate action to avoid emotional and physical scarring. There are also different types of acne with Acne Vulgaris being the most common. Less common types are Acne Excoriée, Acne Concoblata, Acne fulminans, Acne Mechanica, Acne Cosmetica and Chloracne. Some of these are extremely serious and very rare.