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Acne is a common skin disorder affecting many teenagers. It is the disorder of pilo sebaceous apparatus (sebaceous hair follicle). Each hair follicle contains a tiny hair and a sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland is made up of multiple lobes and it produces sebum. Sebum is an oily substance.

Sebum travels up to the hair follicle and then comes out to the skin. These sebaceous follicles are blocked and inflamed in acne. Acne develops on those areas of the skin where sebaceous glands are many in number. Mainly you get acne on the face, but it also appears on neck, scalp, chest, back, upper arms and shoulders. Lesions of acne are called 'black heads' (open comendones), 'white heads' (closed comendones), papules and nodules (which are inflamed red and are filled with pustules)

  • Increased sebum secretion: Increased sebum secretion is one of the major factors causing acne. Severity of acne increases with the increase of sebum secretion. Androgen hormone, which usually secretes more during teenage, stimulates sebaceous glands and increases sebum secretion, which consequently causes acne. Sebum secretion rate may remain high even after the healing of acne. Sebum of the patients with acne contains excess of free fatty acids. This excess sebum accumulates in hair follicles. Later it gets blocked and gives rise to inflammation due to bacterial infection.
  • If the sebum glands are unduly sensitive, then even with the normal level of hormones the sebum secretion may increase.
  • In young women acne usually flares up during their menstrual cycle, which naturally coincides with the hormonal changes.
  • Keratin is a protein, which is the main constituent of skin cells. Worn out Keratin is a cleavage by keratinsation, which is facilitated by enzyme keratinase. Due to abnormal and increased keratinisation the flow of sebum at the outlet of the pilo-sebaceous follicle gets blocked.
  • Bacteria: A normal skin bacteria (proprionobacterium acne) colonises in pilo-sebaceous duct. It breaks down tryglyceride in sebum to free fatty acids and triggers off the inflammatory process.
  • Usually acne lesions are limited to the face, shoulders upper chest and back.
  • Your skin often remains greasy.
  • Open commendones (black heads) and close comendones (white heads) are commonly present.
  • Inflammatory papules nodules and cyst may be present.
  • In severe cases, scarring may follow.
  • Acne conglobate is a severe variant of acne and is with many abscesses and cysts. They are often connected with intercommunicating sinuses. Excoriated acne is seen in early teenage girls and manifest as discrete denuded areas caused by pricking.
  • Infantile Acne - This is a rare type. Stimulation of infant's adrenal gland through the placenta in some instances may give rise to infantile acne.
  • Some drugs such as corticosteroides, oral contraceptives, androgen steroids, anticonvulsant may induce acne.

According to Ayurved, acne are the papules resembling the sprout on the bark of 'Shalmali ' tree, appears on the face in adolescents. Increased 'kapha and vata dosha' and 'rakta and meda dhatu ' are involved in causing this disease.
According to ayurved most important contributory factors in this condition is diet. Improper dietary habits may lead to acne or yavanapidika.

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