Acne, also known as zits, pimples or Acne Vulgaris is a very common inflammatory skin disease caused by clogging of the hair follicles under the skin. It usually affects teenagers and young adults although older people can also develop acne (especially women during pregnancy).
It isn't serious or life-threatening condition but it can cause scars which can be hard for removal. Those scars can sometimes cause social problems and psychological stress (even depression) especially in young females.
It isn't contagious and can not be spread to other people.
There are many myths about what causes acne but none of them has been scientifically approved. Those myths are usually related to diet and bad hygiene. Anyway the real cause of this disorder may only be related to hormonal changes and sensitivity to male sex hormone testosterone.
Symptoms of acne usually include lesions affecting face, chest, shoulders, back and upper arms. Most common acne lesions are: comedones, pustules, nodules, papules and more serious form known as cystic acne or simply cysts (bigger reddish bumps filled with pus, sometimes can lead to serious infections).
There are several things that can make acne symptoms worse such as: menstrual periods, contraceptive pills containing hormones, usage of anabolic steroids, touching and squashing the pimples, emotional stress, exposure to chemicals such as oils and grease, too much usage of oily cosmetics.
Treatment methods usually include medicines and creams. Local treatment which can be applied directly to the skin most commonly include azelaic acid and benzoyl peroxide based creams.
More serious forms of acne may require antibiotics and/or hormonal treatments.
Methods of removing scars left behind by acne may include surgery or laser treatments. Anyway those methods are usually very expensive and sometimes scars can't be removed completely.