Acne 101

Acne. That word strikes abject terror into the heart of your teenager.

Yes, that single word, clinically known as acne vulgaris, is way scarier to a teenager than The Grudge 3. Acne can ruin a young person’s life, at least in their minds, or surely cause a crimp in their self-esteem. What causes this scourge of youth?

What’s behind those zits?

If you break it down, acne really simple comes down to the sebaceous glands at the base of the hair follicles. The sebaceous glands produce oil, keeping the skin and hair lubricated and moist. Acne forms when the hair follicles under your skin clog, trapping the oil beneath the skin. Acne is most typical on the face, back, neck, shoulders, and chest. It appears as occluded pores (blackheads or whiteheads), red bumps (pimples), pustules, or cysts.

The condition isn’t serious — although don’t tell this to your 16-year-old daughter in the midst of a breakout — unless the acne is cystic. Those cysts can scar the skin and are generally the reason for pockmarks on adult faces.

Causes of acne

Despite every high school student in the world pleading for a cure, acne is still somewhat of a mystery. Doctors believe it’s due to a combination of factors. The rise in the male sex hormone androgen in teenagers of both sexes is thought to be the primary cause. When androgen levels increase the oil glands enlarge and produce more oil.

Genetics also play a role. Some people are simply more prone to the condition, and this is thought to have genetic tendencies. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can trigger acne outbreaks, even if you got off easy as a teenager. Certain cosmetics and medications cause breakouts for some people, as well. Research has not proven any link between foods such as chocolate or junk food and acne.


When we’re approaching a patient with acne, Dr. Jones and the whole team realize that every case is unique. For that reason, our treatments vary. We use antibiotics, Accutane®, prescription topical medications, hormone therapy, microdermabrasion, Obagi Skin Care products, Retin-A, and laser treatments.

Acne can be very stressful for your teen. Call Dr. Jones at 405.418.5400 and let’s see how we can get rid of it.




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