acne


acne
acned, adj.
/ak"nee/, n. Pathol.
an inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands, characterized by comedones and pimples, esp. on the face, back, and chest, and, in severe cases, by cysts and nodules resulting in scarring. Also called acne vulgaris /vul gair"is, -gar"-/. Cf. rosacea.
[1820-30; < NL < LGk aknás, a manuscript error for akmás, acc. pl. of AKMÉ facial eruption, prob. to be identified with Gk akmé ACME]

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Inflammatory disease of the oil glands of the skin.

Acne vulgaris, probably the most frequent chronic skin disorder, results from an interplay of hereditary factors, hormones, and bacteria, beginning in the teen years when overactive sebaceous glands are stimulated by high levels of androgens. Its primary lesion, the blackhead, may be open or closed; it consists of a plug of skin oil (sebum), cell debris, and microorganisms in a hair follicle. Acne has four grades of severity, with increasing degrees of spread, inflammation, pustule formation, and scarring. Methods of treatment vary from skin medication to antibiotics and hormones; many cases eventually resolve spontaneously.

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      any inflammatory disease of the sebaceous, or oil, glands of the skin. There are some 50 different types of acne. In common usage, the term acne is frequently used alone to designate acne vulgaris, or common acne, probably the most prevalent of all chronic skin disorders.

      Acne vulgaris results from an interplay of heredity factors, hormones, and bacteria. In susceptible individuals, it begins in the teen years, being caused by overactive sebaceous glands, which are stimulated by the upsurge in the circulating level of male sex hormones that accompanies the onset of puberty. The primary lesion of acne vulgaris is the comedo, or blackhead, which consists of a plug of sebum (the fatty substance secreted by a sebaceous gland), cell debris, and microorganisms (especially the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes) filling up a hair follicle. Comedones may be open, their upper or visible portion being darkened by oxidative changes; or they may be closed (i.e., not reaching the surface to be extruded), in which case, they may be starting points for pustules and deep inflammatory lesions.

      The severity of acne is divided generally into four grades. In grade I, comedones may be sparse or profuse but there is little or no inflammation. In grade II, comedones are intermingled with superficial pustules and papules (small, solid, usually conical elevations). The lesions are ordinarily confined to the face and do not produce significant scarring, unless there has been continued scratching and picking. At this stage, topical (locally applied) medication is reasonably effective. Complete spontaneous remission is ordinarily seen within one to two years. In grades III and IV, the acne is characterized by comedones and pustules and deeper inflamed nodules, which are thought to result from the rupture of the sebaceous duct, with extrusion of sebum and bacterial products into the skin tissue. The lesions are likely to extend from the face to the neck and upper trunk and to produce a permanent scarring of the skin.

      The course of acne vulgaris is variable, persistence being ordinarily directly related to the severity of the lesions, although changes of climate and emotional stress may markedly improve or exacerbate the acne lesions. Methods of treatment vary from topical medication to sunlight and ultraviolet light, antibiotics, and hormones. In a high proportion of cases, however, the tendency is toward spontaneous cure over several months.

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Universalium. 2010.

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