Its presentation ranges from open or closed non inflammatory comedones in mild or moderate cases to inflammatory lesions consisting of papules, nodules and cysts in severe cases (Webster 2002). Acne (also called as pimples, zits, blemishes) mostly tend to appear on face, neck, upper chest, shoulders and back. The reason behind this localization is the abundance of sebaceous glands in these areas of the body. The condition is not curable, but it is certainly manageable to a great extent. At times, the lesions can regress to almost none in cases managed properly. Socially, acne has been a source of low self esteem, shame, embarrassment and often depression. It becomes a hindrance in making friends and getting along with people socially as the individuals tend to seclude themselves to avoid feeling further low about themselves.
Acne vulgaris is basically an inherited condition (Liddel 1980). Even though the pattern of inheritance has not been identified yet, but 3 of 4 children are likely to have acne if both parents happen to suffer from the disease. The sebaceous glands become activated at puberty to produce sebum under the influence of sex hormones. This along with the follicular epidermal hyper proliferation, results in plugging of the pilosebaceous follicular ducts with sebum and dead skin cells. Superimposed by bacteria, this results in the formation of a microcomedone, which is the precursor of open and closed comedones (blackheads and whiteheads respectively) and eventually the non inflammatory and inflammatory lesions.
Acne vulgaris can be classified on the basis of its severity. The mild to moderate variety includes whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pustules. The pores that are completely blocked by sebum and dead skin cells form closed whiteheads. Blackheads are the are pores partially blocked by sebum, dead skin cells and sometimes bacteria draining to the surface.