What Causes Teenage Acne?

Dr. Jan Dank, MD, discusses what causes teenage acne.

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Dr. Jan Dank, MD, discusses what causes teenage acne.
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Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Jan Dank, MD

Duration: 1 minute, 35 seconds

Most but not all teenagers are going to experience some amount of acne.

Acne is an inflammatory condition of the skin that happens under the influence of hormones. That’s why teenagers get it and children don’t. Where you get acne is where you have oil glands.

You’ve got oil glands on your face, on your neck, on your chest and your back – and that’s where you’re going to get the spots that people call acne. Those are gonna be blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, zits and these painful deep nodules and cysts.

If you were to look into the skin in acne, what happens is that the skin cells that are lining the oil gland and the hair follicle are becoming sticky, and they’re causing a little plug.

That’s what you see as that blackhead or that whitehead. If the plug is at the surface, it gets exposed to oxygen, and it turns black – and that’s a blackhead. If the plug is a little deeper in the skin, it’s not exposed to oxygen, and it’s a whitehead.

Behind that plug, bacteria grow. They’re fed by an oil gland, and that becomes and inflammatory center, and that becomes the pimple or the zit. And if it’s deep deep in the skin, you get the painful nodule or cyst.

If over-the-counter medications aren’t controlling your acne, you should seek out medical advice. There are prescription medications that can do better.

Start with your primary care physician. Most primary care physicians treat acne and do a good job at it. If the acne is stubborn, they can certainly refer you on to a dermatologist, or you can seek out one yourself for your acne advice.

Video shot in conjunction with Dr Dank and http://www.dlcnw.com/

Presenter: Dr. Jan Peter Dank, Dermatologist, Bellingham, WA

Local Practitioners: Dermatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.