Acne. A common skin disease starting after puberty, and which may persist for many years. It arises from pilosebaceous ( relating to hear-follicles and associated sebaceous glands) follicles on the face and neck and often trunk. Sebum production in increased bacterial proliferation causes inflammation with papule and pustule formation. Plugs of sebum and epidermal cells form blackheads (comedones).
Treatment. Topical treratment with benzoyl peroxide gel, erythromycin or clindamycin lotions or retinoic acid may be effective. If not, longterm suppressive oral therapy with a tetracycline or erythromycin may be necessary. In females a combined oestrogen-antiandrogen " pill"is an alternative. Severe resistant acne can be cleared by a 16-to-24 week course of oral isotretinoin, but this drug is teratogenic and can cause many side-effects including depression, so its use requires specialists supervision.