What is Acne and Why Does It Occur During Adolescence?

By: Saint Peter's Healthcare System

So acne is a series of the skin lesions that often develops in late childhood and early adolescence. What we see mostly is children around the ages of 8 or 9, even before they have obvious puberty, will start to have little bumps on their face. Often, they're kind of white and never inflamed looking, but as children get older, they become more red or inflamed.

Sometimes there can be a little yellow fluid inside like a pus bump. Sometimes the bump can be large, even like up to a centimeter in size and they can be very disturbing for both parents and children. We often see acne starting on the face, but very often can spread to the neck, upper chest, shoulders and back. There are a couple of different things we know cause acne. One of the things that we know plays a role is bacteria on the skin called P. Acnes.

That often is a starting point for a lot the inflammation that happens, which we think is one of the first things that can cause acne. The other issue is that as hormone levels change, as children grow from say, 6 or 7 years old into 9 or 10, there are hormones in their body that actually stimulate oil glands in the face, particularly around the nose, forehead and chin. Those oil glands will cause more secretion of oil and block the little pores or what we call the hair follicle. That blockage will result in a bump, which then gets inflamed and irritated from the P. Acnes I described earlier. We often recommend not touching the face or certainly popping any pimples. What happens with any kind of a self-induced popping or minisurgeries that sometimes parents or the children will do themselves is will cause scaring. As the pimples get popped, the face is squeezed, the blood vessels are opened and often end up just causing of more inflammation and skin damage.

Particularly, we know that popping the pimples can lead to scaring, which can be disfiguring and even lifelong. So I'm always telling children and teenagers not to touch their face and certainly not to pop or open up any of their pimples themselves. We know that family history is often very strongly linked to acne. Different studies in twins, and they show a very strong concordance, particularly in identical twins. They are much more likely to have acne if the other one does. We also know that there's a higher likelihood of children having acne if one or both parents suffer from clinically significant acne when they were younger. So we do see an important role for family history in this disease. Thank you for choosing St.

What is Acne and Why Does It Occur During Adolescence?

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