Abstract:  For a long time, the mantra of acne pathogenesis debates has been that acne vulgaris lesions develop when (supposedly largely androgen-mediated) increased sebum production, ductal hypercornification, and propionibacteria come together with local inflammatory process in the unlucky affected individual. And yet, the exact sequence, precise interdependence, and choreography of pathogenic events in acne, especially the ‘match that lights the fire’ have remained surprisingly unclear, despite the venerable tradition of acne research over the past century.

However, exciting recent progress in this – conceptually long somewhat stagnant, yet clinically, psychologically, and socioeconomically highly relevant – everyday battlefield of skin pathology encourages one to critically revisit conventional concepts of acne pathogenesis. Also, this provides a good opportunity for defining more sharply key open questions and intriguing acne characteritics whose underlying biological basis has far too long remained uninvestigated, and to emphasize promising new acne research avenues off-the-beaten-track – in the hope of promoting the corresponding development of innovative strategies for acne management.