Acne vulgaris is a painful skin condition often caused by the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. The sebaceous glands secrete excess skin oil — sebum — which mixes with dead skin and provides the ideal environment for P. acnes to flourish. The result is painful blackheads and whiteheads that, if squeezed, could further spread the infection. Treatments range from over-the-counter cleansers to prescriptions for benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics that minimize the risk of scarring.
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