Acne is a term that includes clogged pores, pimples and lumps or cysts that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. It occurs mostly in teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17, but can occur at any age. This condition has many variations and is non life threatening, but the more severe cases of acne can be disfiguring, leaving permanent scars on the affected areas.
The lesions which acne causes are described in five ways: comedos, papule, pustule, nodule and cyst. These terms denote the range or severity. Comedo, also known as blackheads and whiteheads, are at one end of the scale and nodules or cysts at the other.
Usually, the mild cases are cleared up with over-the-counter treatments. Although acne affects girls and boys equally, there are some distinctions. Young men are more likely to have severe, long-term acne while women can have reoccurring or intermittent acne well into adulthood, due to hormonal changes and cosmetics.