May 19, 1978


Author Affiliations

If you wish to suggest a topic or write an answer for this feature, write to William H. Crosby, MD, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, CA 92037.

JAMA. 1978;239(20):2171-2172. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280470083034

ACNE is mankind's most common skin disease. Almost everyone has had some type of pimple or blemish on his face, back, or chest sometime in his life. Whether these blemishes are called zits, goobers, blackheads, or hickeys, they are most common during aldolescence. Their occurrence and prevalence follow a bell-shaped curve, since both the severity of the acne and the number of lesions decrease after the teen-age years. Yet, it is wrong for any physician to advise his friend or patient, "Do nothing and you will outgrow it." Not only is this not always true, but such neglect can often lead to permanent scarring and even more severe emotional trauma.

THE PATHOGENESIS OF ACNE  Acne is a disease of the pilosebaceous unit, which includes the hair follicle and its sebaceous gland. Thus, acne is uniquely human, since sebaceous follicles do not occur in lower animals. Sebaceous follicles are most numerous