Acne Health Center

Acne is a disorder resulting from the action of hormones and other substances on the skin's oil glands (sebaceous glands) and hair follicles. These factors lead to plugged pores and outbreaks of lesions commonly called pimples or zits. Acne lesions usually occur on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Although acne is usually not a serious health threat, it can be a source of significant emotional distress. Severe acne can lead to permanent scarring.

It is common during puberty, as testosterone levels rise in both sexes. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy, birth control, and stress can also cause it in women, as can any medication that increases testosterone or estrogen. Greasy and oily cosmetics and hair products can also contribute.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 3, 2012
Last Updated:
June 28, 2013