What is it?

The pores of our skin contain oil glands that supply moisture to our skin and hair. Sometimes pores become clogged by excess oil, skin cells or bacteria. This results in a skin condition known as acne. Acne shows up as various types of bumps on the skin. The pores might take the form of a whitehead which is closed pore that is bulging outward, a blackhead which is an open pore with a dark surface, or a pimple which is an inflammation due to dead skin and bacteria forming in the opening. It has been indicated that 70- 80% of individuals experience acne at some time in their lives. Modern medicine has now given us the means to control it.

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There are four types of acne and each type can be mild, moderate or severe. We will classify your acne by type and severity before a treatment plan is initiated as our treatments differ for each type of acne.

  • Blackheads/Whiteheads (Comedone Acne) – This type of acne generally seen in adolescence. They are often seen on the forehead, although the nose, cheeks, chin, back, chest and shoulders may also be affected.
  • Papular Acne – These are the inflamed red pimples that do not contain pus. They usually precede pustular acne.
  • Pustular Acne – This form of acne is known for its presence of pustules or comedones and pimples. They look very similar to the papular acne only with a white head.
  • Nodulocystic Acne – This is the most severe case of acne. The nodular cyst of acne is not a true cyst; they are nodules of inflammation below the skin’s surface. They can appear on the face, neck, chest, back or shoulders.

What are the causes?

Several different conditions can cause acne. Hormonal imbalances, obstructed glands and pores as well as bacteria are the three most common causes. Another contributing factor is family history. If parents were prone to acne, their children are more likely to experience similar hormonal changes and thus are more likely to develop acne, especially in their teen years. Certain medications, moisturizers and cosmetics may lead to , or worsen, acne. Adult female acne is a very common problem in women from their late 20’s on and may persist until menopause. The causes of this type of acne are a bit different than with teen acne and  may need a more complete medical evaluation and treatment plan devised for them in our office.

How can it be prevented?

  • Hygiene – Although acne cannot be completely prevented, good hygiene can help control breakouts. We recommend that you wash your face at least twice a day and soon after any exercise to remove excess oil formation. If you have oily hair, shampoo regularly since hair oils can also cause acne. In addition, avoid touching your face with your hands and keep your hair away from your face when sleeping.
  • Diet – Though diet rarely is a cause for acne, there are certain foods that can worsen your acne. Such foods include those that have high calcium content, such as milk, or high iodine content such as seafood and processed high carbohydrate foods.
  • Sunscreen – Avoiding prolonged sun exposure is key in controlling acne and other skin conditions. Be sure to wear a protective sunscreen at all times when exposed to the sun.
  • Relieving Stress – It is important to exercise regularly and manage your stress level to help maintain hormonal balance. Rest is also an important factor in reducing your stress level.

What are acne treatments?

Acne is traditionally treated using medications and /or procedures that target the excessively active oil glands involved, excessive reproductive hormone stimulation of these oil glands, the bacterium that lives on this extra oil on our face, chest or back during teen years and the tendency for the oil glands to get clogged. Pills, creams, gels, washes and masks are often used.  Microdermabrasion, red/blue light treatments and light chemical peels also are very effective  to control acne. Acne can be effectively treated using advanced light technology, oral prescriptions and topical medications, as well as medical-grade chemical peels and slushes.

  • Light Technology
    Using lasers and light technology in combination with Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) can effectively target acne-causing bacteria without thermally affecting the surrounding tissues. Our FDA approved treatments are painless, easy and safe and can clear most moderate inflammatory acne in as little as eight sessions. Light treatment offers many benefits over other alternatives including a short treatment regimen that is non-invasive and has no side effects.
  • Oral Isotretinoids
    Oral Isotretinoids are powerful oral prescription drugs for the treatment of severe acne. These drugs can take between four to five months before acne is completely cleared. These drugs are derivatives of Vitamin A, a natural substance found in our bloodstream that is easily absorbed. Side effects of this medication are mild and easily managed in most patients but patients taking this medication must be monitored monthly. It is not an option for pregnant women.
  • Topical and Oral Medications
    A variety of topical medications may be prescribed to directly control and kill the Propionibacterium acnes (P-acnes) bacteria which most often cause acne. These medications help reduce the infection in the pores and keep them from becoming clogged with bacteria. Oral antibiotics such as; Clindamycin, Minocycline and Doxycycline are available by prescription only. Some are in topical forms including cream, lotion or gel. Please contact our Center for more information on these medications.
  • Acne Scarring
    Many people are left with mild to severe acne scars after their acne resolves and the negative feelings their acne caused them when they were younger can continue the rest of their life as they see the remnants of their acne in these scars daily. It is for this reason that  Dermatologists have been researching for over 60 years better ways to remove these scars permanently. See acne scar treatments.