What is Acne

What is Acne?

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting more than 40 million tweens, teens and adults.1 Approximately 85% of people aged 12 to 24 experience some type of acne and for many, acne’s bumps, blemishes and scarring present both a physical and psychological struggle.2

Causes of Acne
Acne is a combination of oil and dead skin cells that clog pores and allow bacteria to grow, resulting in pimples and acne flare-ups on the face, including the chin and forehead. When acne is present on the chest, back or shoulders it is called truncal acne.

"Types of acne range from mild acne to serious acne. While mild acne can respond well to regular cleansing and over-the-counter treatments, more moderate to severe acne tends to require a prescription and regimen approach under the care of a dermatologist."

If your teen has multiple bumps and blemishes, talk to your doctor about if they have serious acne. And because almost all acne scars come from inflammatory lesions, even patients with mild acne can suffer from scarring.

How You Can Treat Acne
If your teen’s acne doesn’t improve, you should consider consulting with a dermatologist. They can recommend a regimen that includes a combination of prescription medications and over-the-counter moisturizers and sunscreens.

How long before my teen sees improvement in their acne?
How quickly acne treatments will work depends on several factors, including skin type, severity of acne symptoms and how committed the patient is to the prescribed acne treatment regimen. The more consistent a patient is with his or her treatment, the faster they are likely to see improvement. Click here for tips to get teens to adhere to treatment.


1. AAD. Skin conditions by the numbers. Accessed March 14, 2022.

2. Layton AM, Henderson CA, Cunliffe WJ. A clinical evaluation of acne scarring and its incidence. Clin Exp Dermatol. 1994;19(4):303-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.1994.tb01200.x.

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