Acne is a very common chronic and recurring skin problem that affects most people at some point or another in their lives. It is common amongst teenagers, and is often associated with hormonal changes during puberty. However, it is possible for you to develop acne later on as an adult, even if you did not suffer from acne at a younger age. It usually starts when your pores and follicles become clogged with oil or dead skin, which causes the development of spots (blemishes, pimples or zits) on your face, neck, shoulders, back and chest.
You may have a mild case of acne, where you only have a few red spots, surface blackheads or whiteheads, or you could suffer from severe acne, where you have numerous pimples that cover your skin. Severe cases of acne can lead to deep, swollen and pus-filled cysts or pustules, which can often be quite painful and long-lasting often leading to scarring.
You may experience an acne outbreak around the time of your menstrual period or during pregnancy. In some cases, acne in women can be a symptom of polycystic ovaries syndrome. It is important to discuss this with your doctor if you suspect this might be the case.
There is no one cause of acne. Acne is thought to be hereditary in some instances. At times acne can be caused or made worse by the clogging of pores by oil-based skin products or cosmetics.