What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil. While it is most common among teens, it can affect people of all ages. Acne can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders, as these areas have the most oil glands.
The signs and symptoms of acne vary depending on the severity of the condition, and include:
- Blackheads (open clogged pores)
- Whiteheads (closed clogged pores)
- Small tender, red bumps (papules)
- Large, painful lumps beneath the skin (nodules)
- Pimples (pustules)
- Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the skin (cystic lesions)
Certain conditions may cause or worsen acne, including hormonal changes, certain medications, diet, and stress. An assessment by a dermatologist is needed to properly diagnose acne.
Who is a Good Candidate for Acne Treatment?
Individuals with acne that causes discomfort, scarring, redness, dark spots or self-consciousness can benefit from acne treatment. In order to best diagnose and treat your acne, a consultation appointment with one of our dermatologists is needed. Please contact our office today to schedule your appointment!
What to Expect During Acne Treatment?
There are many different acne treatments that can be used, depending on the type and severity of your acne. These include:
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics kill excess bacteria on the skin, as well as reduce inflammation and redness. These antibiotics are often combined with benzoyl peroxide to reduce the chance of developing antibiotic resistance.
- Azelaic acid and salicylic acid: Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid created by yeast, and has antibacterial properties. Salicylic acid can help prevent clogged hair follicles and is available as leave-on and wash-off products.
- Dapsone (Aczone) 5% – 7.5%: This gel is recommended for inflammatory acne, especially in women.
- Minocycline Foam (Amzeeq): This tetracycline-type of antibiotic is used to treat inflammatory acne and is the newest of the topical antibiotic therapies.
- Sulfur/Sulfacetamide: An older antimicrobial compound available as a leave-on lotion/cream or used as a cleanser.
- Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs: Medications that contain retinoic acids or tretinoin are used for moderate acne, and are available as creams, lotions, and gels. These can increase our skin’s sun sensitivity, so be sure to protect your skin when outdoors.
- Antibiotics: Oral antibiotics can be prescribed for moderate to severe acne to reduce bacteria.
- Anti-androgen agents: Spironolactone may be used for women and teen girls if oral antibiotics are not effective. This medication works by blocking the effect of androgen hormones on the oil-producing glands.
- Combined oral contraceptives: Some combined oral contraceptives are approved by the FDA for acne treatment in girls and women.
- Isotretinoin: This medication is a derivative of vitamin A, and is prescribed for patients whose moderate to severe acne has not responded to other treatment options.
- Chemical peels: This treatment involves an application of a chemical solution, which causes the outer layer of skin to peel away over time. It is often done for mild acne.
- Drainage and extraction: Your dermatologist can use special tools to remove blackheads, whiteheads, or cysts that do not clear up with topical medication.
- Steroid injections: Cystic and nodular lesions can be treated with steroid injections for rapid improvement.
Following Acne Treatment
Following proper use of acne treatment, patients should see an improvement in their skin appearance. They will experience less discomfort caused by their acne. Your dermatologist will provide you with instructions on how to properly treat your acne, as well as how to prevent future acne.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in learning more about acne treatments for a clearer complexion, contact HMGS Dermatology today to schedule a consultation! We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
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