The skin is the largest and one of the most complex organs of the body. Adults may suffer from a variety of skin disorders with tremendous variation in symptoms and severity. The causes of adult skin disorders may be genetic (hereditary), infectious, degenerative, or allergic. A great deal of adult skin disorders are benign (not life threatening), but some may be life threatening. Others may warrant referral to a dermatologist (a specialist in the treatment of skin disorders) for treatment that may entail medications, minor office procedures, or invasive surgery.
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Acne is not solely restricted to adolescents and is a common condition among adults, especially females. Most individuals develop acne as an adolescent that persists into adulthood. A small portion of individuals may develop acne for the first time as an adult. Acne is characterized by pores clogged with oil and dead skin cells and may or may not be accompanied by inflammation. It may consist of whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts, or deep nodules.
Acne is strongly linked to hereditary factors, but may be made worse by fluctuating hormone levels, stress, hair and skin care products, medication side effects, or undiagnosed medical conditions. Most acne treatments are topical. Oral, or systemic, treatment is reserved for severe cases of acne and may be used in combination with topical treatments. Lastly, acne cases severely resistant to the combination of topical and oral treatments may be treated with minor office procedures.