According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting 40-50 million Americans annually. Acne is a chronic skin condition, characterized by pimples, comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), and cysts or nodules which occur on the face, chest, back, and upper arms. While acne begins in puberty, it can occur at any stage in life, especially in teens and adult women. Approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12-24 suffer from at least minor acne. Acne may result in physical or psychological problems, such as pain, poor self-esteem, permanent scarring, depression, and anxiety.
Acne is caused by a variety of factors. In general, overactive oil glands can produce too much oil and combine with skin cells to become ‘sticky’ and plug pores. When the pores become plugged, the bacterium P. acnes (present on everyone’s skin) increases and leads to skin lesions. Genetics, hormones, menstruation, and stress may trigger or exacerbate acne.
Gently wash areas once or twice a day with a mild cleanser. Avoid scrubbing or picking at pimples. Use products such as sunscreens, cosmetics, and toiletries that are ‘non-comedogenic’ or ‘oil-free’. Avoid astringents, which may dry out skin. Do not pop pimples or pick at pimples as that may result in scarring. Seek treatment by a dermatologist early for acne that does not respond to reduce the risk of scarring.
Topical therapy, such as cleansers, gels, and creams, may be used for mild acne. Oral antibiotics combined with topical therapy may be prescribed for moderate or severe acne. Oral contraceptives and other medications, such as spironolactone, which alters the skin’s response to male hormones, may be helpful for acne in females. Oral isotretinoin is approved for severe cystic acne and is also effective for acne that is not responsive to other medications. Procedures such as CO2 slushes, acne surgery, acne facials, and chemical peels may help to treat acne and minimize discoloration resulting from acne. These procedures are explained elsewhere on this website. Acne scarring may be treated with micro needling, chemical peels, cosmetic fillers and laser resurfacing.
Acne Surgery refers to a procedure used to treat comedonal acne (blackheads and whiteheads). These comedones are often deep in the skin and require manual extraction in order to eradicate the plugged pore. These can be removed mechanically with comedone extractors and a fine needle or a pointed blade to open closed comedones. This procedure is typically done by our esthetician. After the procedure, these pinpoint areas heal up over a few days and will be smooth.