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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown


Acne is an extremely common skin condition which mainly affects the adolescent population (currently estimated at over 90%).

Despite very intensive research over many decades, a detailed explanation of what triggers and maintains the condition is still lacking.

Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease of the pilosebaceous unit resulting from androgen-induced increased sebum production, altered keratinisation, inflammation, and bacterial colonisation of hair follicles on the face, neck, chest, and back by Propionibacterium acnes. Although early colonisation with P acnes and family history might have important roles in the disease, exactly what triggers acne and how treatment affects the course of the disease remain unclear.

Source :Seminar, The Lancet , Vol 379.

There are many factors which are known to increase the risk of developing acne - including :

  • hormonal changes
  • high humidity
  • dust exposure
  • high ambient temperature
  • skin mites
  • bacteria
  • microbiome changes
  • diet
  • genetic factors
  • stress
  • sunlight exposure
  • pollutants

It's still not known, however, why many individuals are badly affected, and others have no symptoms.

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