History of Acne
The origin of the word acne dates back more than two thousand years. In ancient Greece the word acme, meaning “point or peak,” was applied to puberty, then considered to be the peak of life. The word acne evolved as a distortion of acme, and the facial blemishes that appeared at the time of acme were called “acnes.”
Acne is by far the most common skin disease and therefore one of the most common diseases affecting us. Eighty percent of any human population will experience some manifestation of acne. Twenty-five percent of them will have acne serious enough to merit some form of treatment, professional or otherwise.
The social, economic, and psychological effects of acne can be painful. Americans spend millions of dollars a year on acne treatments. For many sufferers, acne causes depression and gets in the way of social and sexual relationships. Society in general is prejudiced against people with acne; they are less likely to be offered jobs, for example. Misconceptions about the cause and treatment of acne are widespread, and they persist even in the face of scientific information to the contrary. Common misconceptions include: Acne is caused by dirt and poor hygiene; Frequent and vigorous washing is good treatment; Acne flare-ups are caused by emotional stress; If one can live a stress-free life, the condition of the skin will certainly improve; Sexual activity is good/bad for the skin and excessive/infrequent sex causes blemishes to develop; Certain foods cause acne breakouts. All of these mistaken notions show quite clearly that today’s youth and many older people as well still cling to outmoded ideas about the causes and treatment of acne.