Acne – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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By Dr. Venu Kumari, Dermatology

Acne is a skin condition caused due to the plugging of the hair follicles on the skin with dead skin cells and excess oil (sebum) secretion. Acne is characterized by the formation of pimples, mainly around the face, neck, chest and the back. There can be abnormal swelling and severe pain in the affected region as well if there is an infection around the pimples.

Acne breakouts can also be on the whole body of the person that can be both embarrassing and uncomfortable for the affected person. Though it can happen to both the sexes, women, especially teenagers are the most vulnerable to this condition.


  1. Acne can occur due to over-consumption of fast foods and fried foods.
  2. Acne can also result from certain endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome (a condition that stems from prolonged exposure to high levels of cortisol resulting from increased stress levels) and polycystic ovary syndrome (characterized by enlarged ovaries with the formation of tiny cysts on the ovary’s outer edges).
  3. Acne can also develop as a side effect of certain medications such as lithium and corticosteroids.
  4. Using excessive cosmetics and other topical creams on your face might make you more prone to this condition.


The symptoms of acne depend on the intensity of the condition. The most noticeable symptoms are:

  • Appearance of tender, minute and reddish bumps around the face, neck and the chest.
  • Extremely painful bumps on the concerned areas that contain pus.


  1. Hormone therapy can be useful to treat acne if this condition interferes with the menstrual cycles. This therapy is also recommended if there is an excessive secretion of the androgen hormone (male hormone) in the body.
  2. A prescribed dosage of benzoyl peroxide can help cure acne if the breakout occurs due to bacterial infections.
  3. A regulated dosage of antibiotics (tetracycline, clindamycin) combined with benzoyl peroxide or retinoid can be administered to remedy from acne breakouts.
  4. A regulated dosage of retinoids (a group of compounds that have effects similar to those of Vitamin A in the body) can effectively cure acne in its early stages.