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Glossary: Acne

Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 21:00

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are definitions of medical terms related to acne.

Accutane: a synthetic derivative of vitamin A

Acne: a skin disease caused by overactive oil glands

Adrenal glands: two endocrine glands, one located above each kidney, that secrete hormones

Androgens: steroid hormones responsible for the development and maintenance of male physical characteristics

Antibiotics: substances that prevent growth of microorganisms

Astringents: a substance that causes tissue to dry and shrink by reducing its ability to absorb water.

Bacteria: unicellular microorganisms that occupy a wide variety of niches, including the human body

Blackheads: dark formations on the skin due to an accumulated mixture of oil and cells in a blocked skin pore; the pore is clogged close to the surface of the skin

Cholesterol: animal sterol that is present in all tissues of the human body but highly concentrated in the blood, bile, gallstones, and the brain.

Collagen: a fibrous protein present in the human bone, cartilage and connective tissue

Contraceptive: a chemical agent or device that prevents conception or pregnancy.

Cyst: a closed sac beneath the skin or deeper that contains fluid or semisolid substances.

Dermabrasion: a "scrub brush" type of operation to smooth out the scars due to pits

Dermatologists: a physician who specializes in diseases and care of the skin

Endocrine disorders: diseases that affect the secretion by endocrine glands

Endocrine glands: glands in the body, such as the adrenal, that secrete hormones (chemical messengers) directly into the bloodstream

Enzymes: proteins that catalyze chemical reactions without undergoing change themselves

Erythromycin: an antibiotic derived from the bacterium Streptomyces erythreus which is especially effective against gram positive bacteria

Excision: surgical cutting out of the affected area from surrounding healthy tissue

Follicular ducts: microscopic tubules in the skin associated with hair follicles

Heredity: the genetic transmission of characteristics from parents to offspring

Hypertrophic scars: hard upraised areas of the skin surface

Lipids: fats that constitute the principle structural material of living cells

Melanin: a dark pigment found in the skin, retina and hair.

Menstrual period: the monthly discharge of menses or blood in women

Nodules: a small knot like protuberance or node

Ortho tri-cyclen: a low-dose contraceptive

Ovaries: the two female reproductive glands that produce ova or eggs

Papule: another name for a pimple

Pigment: a substance, such as melanin, that produces a characteristic color in skin tissue

Pimple: small skin swellings sometimes containing pus

Pits: depressions on the surface of the skin.

Pock marks: another name for pits

Pore: an opening on the skin that contains a hair follicle

Propionibacterium acnes: a bacterium naturally found on the human skin that protects from infection and chemically alters skin oil

Puberty: stage in the human life when the reproductive organs reach maturity

Pustule: a small skin blister containing pus

Retin A®: the registered trademark for commercially available retinoic acid

Retinoids: Retin-A; Vitamin A acid

Scar: a mark left on the skin after a surface injury or wound has healed

Sebaceous glands: glands that are located beside hair follicles and secrete oil

Steroid: a naturally occurring fat-soluble organic compound present in bile acids, many hormones, some natural drugs, and precursor of certain vitamins

Testes: singular testis - the two male reproductive glands that produce sperm and androgens

Tetracycline: an antibiotic derived from bacteria of the genus Streptomyces

Triglycerides: fatty acids that are the basis for lipids and membrane components

Whiteheads: small flesh-or white-colored bumps due to skin pore blockage; the blockage in the pore is deeper than in a blackhead

Yeast infection-an infection spread by a fungus, often within the vagina

Zit: American slang term for pimple

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