Acne is an inflammation of the pilosebaceous follicles that occurs with the appearance of small pustules (commonly called pimples) on the skin, especially on the face, neck, chest and back.

Among the underlying causes of this inflammation are stress and family history, as explained by Professor Antonio Costanzo, Head of Dermatology in Humanitas, in an interview.

The predisposition inherited from parents can cause inflammation of the pilosebaceous follicles. First blackheads (comedones) are formed, then pimples (postules) and, in the most serious cases, they may turn into nodules or cysts. Stress can exacerbate acne and its increase can therefore cause new stress, creating a vicious circle. Secondly, external factors such as hygiene, environmental pollution and food disturbances also play a role. However, it has been observed that the Mediterranean diet, with the consumption of low glycemic index foods such as fish, foods rich in vitamins such as fruit and vegetables, unsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil and mineral salts, plays a protective role against acne “.


Young Acne and Late Acne

Acne is mainly characterized by juvenile acne and late adolescent acne. Young acne appears at the time of sexual development and can then heal or persist in adulthood. Post-adolescent acne, on the other hand, appears in adults even if they have not suffered in their youth.

The onset of hormones during the adolescence period causes the volume of the sebaceous glands to increase and initiates the beginning of sebum production. Sebum is an oily secretion that protects the skin from infection. In some predisposed subjects, however, the sebum can have an irritating effect and induce the formation of black heads, which, like a cap, prevents the sebum from flowing from the gland to the surface of the skin. In this case, the fats that make up the sebum degrade and become irritating.

Prof. Costanzo also advises to “avoid popping blackheads or furuncles, an action that increases the possibility of scarring and to turn to the dermatologist avoiding do-it-yourself”.


Acne drugs

Recent studies have shown that bacteria play the role of activators of the skin’s innate immune system; so one way of reducing acne inflammation is to reduce the bacterial load in follicles. To do so, specific topical or oral antibiotics may be used. The critical point on which to act is the sebaceous gland. Restoring the correct secretion of sebum can in fact solve the acne completely. For this purpose, drugs that modify the proliferation of the cells of the sebaceous glands, the so-called retinoids are recommended. They are very effective vitamin A derivatives, which must be administered under medical supervision,” explains Prof. Costanzo.