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Skin Anatomy and Physiology Acne Ingredients Cosmetics
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Acne | Atopic Dermatitis | Acne Scars | Blisters | Dry Skin | Fungal Infections | Ingrown Toenails | Cysts | Lesions of the Skin | Pimples | Lice and Scabies | Birthmarks | Rashes | Skin Cancer

Disorders of the Sebaceous (Oil) Glands

Following are common disorders of the sebaceous (oil) glands:

Comedones (KOM-e-donz), or blackheads, are a worm-like mass of keratinized cells and hardened sebum appearing most frequently on the face, chest, shoulders, and back. Blackheads accompanied by pimples often occur in youths between the ages of 13 and 20. During the adolescent period, the activity of the sebaceous glands is stimulated, thereby contributing to the formation of blackheads and pimples. When the hair follicle is filled with an excess of oil from the sebaceous glands and an accumulation of dead cells occurs, a blackhead forms and creates a blockage at the mouth of the follicle. Should this condition become severe, medical attention is necessary. To treat blackheads, the skin’s oiliness must be reduced by local applications of cleansers and the blackheads removed under sterile conditions. Thorough skin cleansing each night is a very important factor. Cleansing lotions often achieve better results than do common soap and water.

Milia (MILree-uh), or whiteheads, is a disorder of the sebaceous glands caused by the accumulation of dead, keratinized cells and sebaceous matter trapped beneath the skin. This may occur on any part of the face, and occasionally on the chest, shoulders, and back. Whiteheads look like small grains of sand under the skin.

Acne (AK-nee) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the skin, usually related to hormonal changes and overactive sebaceous glands during adolescence. Common acne is also known as acne simplex or acne vulgaris. Acne appears in a variety of different types, ranging from noncontagious pimples to deep-seated skin conditions. Though acne generally starts at the onset of puberty, it also afflicts adult men and women. Modern studies show that acne is often due to heredity, but the condition can be aggravated by emotional stress and environmental factors. Adhering to a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and developing healthful personal hygiene habits are all recommended. Acne is not caused by any particular food, drink, or personal habit. Acne may also be present on the back, chest, and shoulders. Acne is accompanied by blackheads, pustules, and pimples that are red, swollen, and contain pus. The pus is seen as a yellowish or white-tinged center in some blemishes. In more advanced cases of acne, cysts appear, which are red, swollen lumps beneath the surface of the skin.

Seborrhea (seb-o-REE-ah) is a skin condition caused by overactivity and excessive secretion of the sebaceous glands. An oily, or shiny, condition of the nose, forehead, or scalp indicates the presence of seborrhea. It is readily detected on the scalp by the unusual amount of oil on the hair. Seborrhea is often the basis of an acne condition.

Rosacea (ro-ZA-se-a), formerly called acne rosacea, is a chronic inflammatory congestion of the cheeks and nose. It is characterized by redness, dilation of the blood vessels, and the formation of papules and pustules. The cause of rosacea is unknown. Certain things are known to aggravate rosacea in some individuals. These include consumption of hot liquids, spicy foods or alcohol, being exposed to extremes of heat and cold, exposure to sunlight, and stress.

A steatoma (stee-ah-TOH-mah), or sebaceous cyst, is a subcutaneous tumor of the sebaceous glands, ranging in size from a pea to an orange, the contents consisting of sebum. It usually occurs on the scalp, neck, and back. A steatoma is sometimes called a wen

Asteatosis (as-tee-ah-TOH-sis) is a condition of dry, scaly skin, characterized by absolute or partial deficiency of sebum, usually due to aging or bodily disorders. In local conditions, it may be caused by alkalies, such as those found in soaps and washing powders.

A furuncle (fu-RUN-kel), also called a boil, is caused by bacteria that enter the skin through the hair follicles. It is a subcutaneous abscess that fills with pus. A boil can be painful and should be treated by a physician .


Acne | Atopic Dermatitis | Acne Scars | Blisters | Dry Skin | Fungal Infections | Ingrown Toenails | Cysts | Lesions of the Skin | Pimples | Lice and Scabies | Birthmarks | Rashes | Skin Cancer

Skin Anatomy and Physiology Acne Ingredients Cosmetics
Dictionary of Skin Care Terms Skin Care Advice Skin Problems
The Sun & Your Skin Skin Care News