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Acne Vulgaris

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Updated June 24, 2012

Acne Vulgaris

Acne vulgaris is the medical term for common acne.

Photo © Angela Palmer

What is Acne Vulgaris?:

Most people have suffered from acne vulgaris at some point in their life. Acne vulgaris is the medical term for common acne. This is the typical acne that has been the bane of teenagers since the beginning of time.

But teens aren't the only ones who suffer from acne vulgaris. It is common in adults too, and can sometimes occur in younger children

What It Looks Like:

Blackheads, papules, and pustules are the harbingers of acne vulgaris. More severe cases may involve nodular breakouts and/or cysts. Acne vulgaris cases can be very mild to extremely severe.

In teens, the skin is often greasy-looking with lots of blackheads. Nearly every teen suffers from acne vulgaris to some degree.

Adults may not have the conventional oily skin, but can still suffer from acne vulgaris breakouts. Adult women especially seem to develop breakouts on the chin and jaw line, often around the time of their menstrual cycle.

Acne Vulgaris Causes:

Several factors contribute to acne development, and hormones play a big role. Androgen hormones rev up oil production. Excess oil and sticky skin cells become trapped in the pore, creating an impaction. This comedo can progress to a more serious breakout if the follicle ruptures and bacteria infects surrounding tissue.

Why some people go through life relatively unscathed by acne while others battle severe breakouts is still a mystery. Acne vulgaris does seem to run in families.

Common scapegoats like chocolate and pizza don't cause pimples, but some doctors now believe diet may impact an existing case of acne.

Acne Vulgaris Treatments:

There is no cure for acne vulgaris, but it can be treated. For those with a mild case of acne vulgaris, over-the-counter products might do the trick. Prescription medicines are needed for more severe or persistent cases.

Some common acne vulgaris treatments include:

Some women may find medications that help reduce hormonal fluctuations, like oral contraceptives or spironolactone, are helpful.

It's also important to stick to a regular skin care regimen. Acne isn't caused by a lack of cleansing or bad hygiene, but good daily skin care is always helpful.

Medications that work brilliantly for one person may have no effect on another, so it can take a while to find the right treatment. This can be thoroughly frustrating, but it's important to stick with your treatment long enough to see results.

More About Acne Vulgaris Treatment

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