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Acne is a skin problem which appears as pimples (spots) and blackheads. Almost all young people have had this problem at some point, but not all of them will have to go to the doctor. That depends on how serious it is.

Acne on the forehead of a 14 year old boy.

Some serious forms of Acne need to be seen by a doctor, like Acne conglobata. This condition leaves scars, it's very painful and disturbs the sufferer a great deal.

For Acne to appear, three things come into play; The amount of Sebum (an oily substance) produced at the roots of the hair, bacteria and whether the hair follicle is blocked - if it is, the Sebum can't get out.

Hair Follicle:
1) Hair
2) Skin
3) Sebum
4) Hair Root
5) Sebaceous Gland

If a lot of this fatty "Sebum" is produced, it can't get out of the hair follicle and then, bacteria can get in easily. This produces a small abcess in the follicle. This abcess is normally called a "Spot". When a lot of these spots form, they are called "Acne". If these spots join together under the skin, this is called "Acne conglobata".

The things that determine how serious acne is and how it is best treated (Therapy), are researched by medicine. Very often, treatment starts by killing the bacteria. Different medicines and treatments, such as steroid creams and tablets, can be used to make the spots disappear, or become smaller and less annoying.