What is acne? Acne is a very common skin condition in the United States. Most of us, at one point or another, have probably had acne. It affects 40 to 50 million people in the United States each year. It is most common during adolescence, affecting three out of four teenagers. However it can also affect people in their 30s and 40s; pregnant women are also prone to breakouts (Source: AAD). Many myths are associated with the cause and treatment of acne. For example, the belief that chocolate or greasy foods cause acne is a misconception. Acne occurs when our pores, or openings in the skin, become clogged with dead skin cells. An overproduction of oil traps these skin cells inside the pore. The backed-up ducts become filled with dirt and bacteria, forming a plug known as a comedone. The top of the plug has a white tip, which if punctured, releases oil and bacteria into the skin. The inflammation can go deep into the skin, causing a cyst or nodule. People with acne often feel stigmatized and embarrassed about their condition. It can cause anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. There are a variety of treatments for acne, including self-care, topical medications, prescription medications, and surgery. You should not attempt to pop or disrupt the pimples, as this can lead to a worsening of the condition. Acne often resolves on its own, especially as people grow out of adolescence. Seek prompt medical care if you develop signs of a spreading or deeper infection that is associated with acne, such as swelling, warmth and redness of the involved area, or fever and chills.