Frequently Asked Questions: Acne

Here are some frequently asked questions related to acne.

Q: Can I get acne on other parts of my body?

A: The parts of the body most susceptible to acne are the face, the back, and the chest. These are the locations with the highest density of sebaceous glands, the glands responsible for excess oil production. In rare cases, acne can appear on other parts of the body that also have sebaceous glands.

Q: Does acne cause scarring?

A: Yes. When moderate to severe acne is not treated early enough, acne may scar the skin. There are two types of scars that result from acne. Hypertrophic scars, which are hard, upraised areas of the skin surface. Pits, or “pock marks,” are depressed at various depths into the surface of the skin.

Q: Does what I eat cause acne?

A: It was long thought that fatty foods, chocolate, and sugar aggravated acne. But dietary causes for acne have never been proven scientifically. So although a well-balanced healthy diet is recommended for overall good health, no special restrictions on food are imposed for preventing acne.

Q: Can I “catch” acne from someone else?

A: Acne is not an infectious disease, so you cannot “catch” it like you would a cold or the flu.

Q: Will the acne disappear when I get older?

A: Yes, in most people. In a small number of cases, acne that begins in adolescence will last beyond age 25, and can continue up to the age of 40. In women, particularly, acne may not occur until age 25.

Q: How well do over-the-counter medications work?

A: In cases of mild acne, over-the-counter medications successfully manage the disease. The products that are particularly effective are those with 5% or 10% benzoyl peroxide. These medications are available as a cream or a gel and are applied topically to the skin. It is recommended that the benzoyl peroxide be applied not just to the pimples themselves, but also to the entire area affected by the acne. These topical treatments are usually needed for several

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