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Is Acne a Disease?

by | Last updated Aug 10, 2020 | Published on Aug 10, 2020 | FAQ | 0 comments

Having a visible skin condition takes a toll on our mental health.

This is something only those who have suffered from it for long enough can understand. Sadly that’s me.

Just because our condition is out for the world to see doesn’t mean we’re always accepting comments and “advices”. I’m very touchy on this.

If you have acne it’s okay to feel alone and singled out at times. But you should know acne is one of the most common skin condition in the world [1].

Acne affects up to 50 million people belonging to all age groups and genders every year.

So, you are definitely not alone. It is something that keeps our dermatologists very busy. 

In summary

What is a disease defined as?

Any abnormal condition which affects the normal structure and function of our body is a disease. It has detrimental effects on our physical and mental health. The effects of the disease can be visible or concealed.

Is acne a disease?

By the definition of disease, an abnormal condition which affects the normal structure of our body, yes, acne is considered a disease. In fact, it is one of the most common skin diseases in the world.

Is acne genetic?

Truth is that the acne gene is yet to be found. So there has been no link to a whether an “acne gene” can be passed on.  Various different genetic mutations have a combined effect on the appearance of acne.  There are familial patterns of acne. You may have a hereditary tendency to produce more oil or increased sloughing over of dead cells. These will cause your pores to clog more easily and you will be prone to breakouts.

With every condition or disease, our own education is very important.

An in-depth understanding of acne will always help you make well informed decisions regarding treatment.

It is necessary to know what is happening to your body and why.

So let’s learn the basics of Acne.

    Is acne a disease?

    What is acne?

    Acne is a chronic skin condition.

    Chronic is a medical terminology used when a disease has lasted more than three months[2].

    Usual pathogenesis or mechanism of acne is linked to the blockage and inflammation of pores on our skin[3].

    What is a pore?

    A skin pore is a small depression which contains important structures like hair follicles and sebaceous glands.

    Every time your pore is clogged by buildup oil or dead skin cells it will cause inflammation and swelling. It can be further attacked by bacteria which will worsen the condition.

    Acne will most commonly appear on your face. Your T-zone is especially prone because of higher oil production.

    Is Acne a Disease? 1

    Symptoms of Acne:

    The general image you have of acne is probably that of a face full of large bumps. Although that is a type many of us have, acne can vary in form.

    Our guide to different types of acne details these types of acne can rear its head:

    1. Blackheads
    2. Whiteheads
    3. Papules
    4. Pustules
    5. Cysts
    6. Nodules

    They can appear on your face, back, neck, shoulders or chest in varying severity.

     

    Is Acne a Disease? 2

    Is acne a disease?

    Now that you know a bit about acne, let’s answer the question “Is acne a disease?”

    The World Health Organization’s defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”[4]

    What is a disease and how do you differentiate between a healthy state from a diseased state?

    These concepts are sometimes tricky and it is difficult to assign them a textbook definition.

    When we think of a disease we get visuals of grave conditions like cancers and tuberculosis.

    But it is not always like that.

    Many times a person battling a disease can look perfectly normal as well.

    So we can try to define a disease as an abnormal condition which affects the normal structure and function of the human body[5]. The effects of the disease can be visible or concealed.

    Acne affects the structure and physical appearance of our skin. So by this definition, acne is considered a disease.

    In addition, wikipedia and other dermatology sources, have classified acne vulgaris as a long term skin disease[6].

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    What causes acne?

    You must wonder, since everybody’s skin has pores and produces oil then why doesn’t everyone get acne?

    This is because your hormones and genetics play a very important role. The size and number of pores is usually a gift from your elders. By that I mean it can be inherited.

    It can also depend on your ethnicity[6]. The more pores you have the oilier your skin will be and more chances you’ll have acne.

    On the other hand, hormonal imbalance is also important to consider. Puberty and your normal monthly cycles have pronounced effects on the appearance of these breakouts.

    Is acne genetic?

    So if acne is a disease, can you get acne from my parents?

    Some individuals are more prone to getting acne then others even after trying everything from diet to medications. So is acne in your genes? The answer: it’s complicated.

    A lot of research have been done to figure out the genetic basis of acne. But the “acne gene” is still a mystery, some may even believe it’s a myth. No single gene have been linked to the appearance of breakouts on our skin.

    However,

    In 2018 a study of 26,722 participants found there were 15 genomes affected by those with acne.[7] 

    So with further research, we might be able to narrow down that infamous “acne gene”.

    The reality is, we do often see a pattern of acne within our families.

    My mother had acne in her teenage years and both my sister and I have it too. Even without the discovery of the acne gene, studies still suggest that having a first degree relative with acne increases your chances by 4 times.

    It is the additive effect of many different genes which influence oil production and breakouts. In this way 80% of the cases can be explained by genetics variances. The rest are due to other environmental factors.[8]

    In summary,

    Acne is a widely known skin condition caused by blockage of pores. Heavy oil production and bacterial infections are the usual culprits causing bumps and pimples to appear on the skin.

    Like many other diseases, both genetics and environmental factors play a role in its development. This makes the management even more complicated. But it is possible to get rid of acne with proper diagnosis and focused treatment.

    Acne, even in its most severe form is not a life threatening condition. But it is distressing enough to make it one of the most common concerns bought to a dermatologist.

    Bentonite Clay is my go-to natural clay mask for acne.  Try one of these bentonite clay mask recipes.

    Disclaimer: Our content does not constitute a dermatologist or medical advice.

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    Is Acne a Disease? 3
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