Hair follicles (the tiny pouches from which
hairs grow) can become inflamed, especially on the face, chest, and back.
This inflammation is called acne. Acne affects many
individuals, especially in the teen years, but can last well into adulthood.
Acne forms when the hair follicle produces excess oil, when the follicles
are irritated (often from extra dead skin cells within the follicle), and
when plugging of the pore (opening of the follicle)
leads to increased bacteria in the follicle. Many treatments are available
for acne and some may be used together. Dermatologists (doctors
with specialized training in disorders of the skin) may offer advanced treatments
to persons who have severe forms of acne or who have developed scars from
their acne. The August 11, 2004, issue of JAMA includes
an article about treatment of acne.