According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, acne affects as many as 17 million people in the United States, making it the most common skin disease. It usually begins at puberty and worsens during adolescence. Nearly 85 percent of people develop acne at some point between ages 12 to 25. As many as 20 million teens have the condition. Acne may appear as early as age 10, and even may be found in some new-borns. Some people may continue to be affected by acne after age 30. Acne, by definition is a skin condition that occurs when the follicles of your hair become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It usually appears around the face, chin, forehead, neck, chest, back and shoulder areas. The most common causes of acne are age, adolescents are more likely to develop acne, disease, certain hormonal disorders may promote the development of acne, hormonal changes, before and sometimes during menstruation an increase in the male hormone androgen causes the sebaceous glands to overproduce the hormone making acne more prominent, cosmetics, oil cosmetics combined with sensitive skin can plug up follicles, heredity, some individuals with a genetic predisposition are susceptible to acne, and drugs, steroids antibiotics, antidepressants, and even birth control are known to cause acne. There are many types and characterizations of acne including papules, small, red bumps that may be tender to the touch, pustules, pus-filled lesions that are often red at the base, nodules, large, painful lesions deep in the skin, and cysts, painful pus-filled lesions deep in the skin that can cause scarring. Whiteheads, blackheads, and inflamed red pimples or “zits” are just a few examples of the different characterizations of acne. Acne typically becomes worse during puberty due to the increase in the secretion of androgens, male sex hormones produced by the body’s adrenal glands. High levels of androgen cause excess sebum to form. Sometimes the sebum combines with the dead, sticky skin cells and bacteria called Propioni-bacterium acnes that normally live on the skin. The mixture of oil and cells, along with the increased secretion of androgen, allows the bacteria to grow in the plugged follicles. When this happens, a hard plug called a comedo can form. A comedo is an enlarged hair follicle that can, as previously mentioned, take the form of a whitehead, blackhead, or irritated red bump. The most severe type of acne includes both nodules and cysts. Severe acne may cause permanent scarring. Symptoms of acne, oncoming and present, are the appearance of blackheads, red bumps, whiteheads (pustules), cysts, redness or irritation, or visible scarring of the skin. In order to treat acne, good hygiene is essential. Clean the skin regularly, try to avoid persistent or violent rubbing because that may result in further dermal irritation. Make sure to use a mild, non-drying soap and remove all dirt, makeup, or debris from the afflicted area. Do not squeeze, scratch, pick, rub, or irritate the acne as it may result in the worsening of the acne or permanent scarring. Talk to a dermatologist for more information about acne and potential prescription therapies such as oral and topical antibiotics, retinoids, or Accutane, in order to prevent future breakouts. In cases of severe acne scarring, talk to a dermatologist about procedures such as laser therapy, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, interlesional corticosteroid injection, or plastic surgery.