Acne affects teenagers and many adults and is a common skin disease. It is a condition that produces blocked pores (whiteheads and blackheads), “pimples”, cysts and/or boils. It is most common on the face, but also occurs on the back, neck, shoulders and chest.
Acne is a disorder of the sebaceous glands (“oil glands”). It typically starts when rising hormone levels (especially in teenagers) stimulate these glands and cause them to produce excessive oil and skin cells that line hair follicles. This excess material causes a blockage, leading to overgrowth of bacteria and inflammation. This is the basis for the red, inflamed lesions common in severe cases of acne.
Almost everyone with acne has experienced or knows someone who has experienced, the negative psychological effects of acne. Moreover, because acne can cause lifelong scarring, these consequences can last a lifetime. Acne is a highly treatable condition.
Essentially, there is a “pyramid” of treatment choices for acne. As we move up the steps of the pyramid, the side effect/benefit ratio changes: more benefit may be associated with more possible side effects. In other words, at the highest step of the pyramid, the most dramatic results will be seen, but may be associated with more potential side effects.
How Can Acne Be Treated?
Here are some tips for “mild” acne:
- Wash your face twice a day with a mild non-soap, nondrying cleanser. Although surface dirt and grease can contribute to breakouts, acne is not caused by dirt. It is important to wash, but not too vigorously, because the skin can become irritated.
- Don’t squeeze or pick pimples or use sharp object to open them. This can cause infection, further inflammation and scarring.
- Make sure all cosmetics are non-comedogenic.
- Over the counter medications can be very effective when used consistently. The most commonly used medications contain benzyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These products can produce irritation and allergic reactions. It is important to read the label and use as instructed.
- Wear sunscreen daily. Resist the urge to sunbathe or tan. Although acne can improve in the short term with sun exposure or indoor tanning, in the long run causes the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil leading to more acne.
- Consider having clinical facials or physician strength salicylic acid peels. These Therapeutic treatments can help to keep the skin exfoliated, pores extracted and reduce bacteria levels of the skin.
If acne does not respond to these actions, we can develop a treatment plan according to its severity. Treatments range from mild topical medications to very potent oral medications. A brief list of treatment options includes:
Oral contraceptives: These inhibit endogenous hormone production.
Antibiotics: These fight the infection in the follicle. There are many topical antibiotics and oral antibiotics that are very effective.
Inhibitors of excess oil production: These medications include oral and topical retinoids. The retinoids are a potent class of medications that include Retin-A and Accutane.
There is no “cure” for acne in the teenage years. Even adult acne can be difficult to fully eradicate. However, there are certainly ways to improve the situation. There are always options.
Additional Treatment Options
HydraFacial MD® is a revolutionary non-invasive treatment option that gives an instantly smoother-looking appearance. The innovative procedure can be done in-office in as little as 30-minutes. With HydraFacial®, you’ll get four rejuvenation techniques in one session; cleanse, exfoliation, extraction of impurities, and nourishing hydration. Learn More…
Vivace is an FDA-approved device that combines the power of radiofrequency energy with the benefits of microneedling to produce gorgeous and glowing skin. Vivace is an excellent solution for patients who want to see a more even and radiant complexion, as well as a reduction in wrinkles, fine lines, and even hyperpigmentation. The best candidates for Vivace RF Microneedling may have mild-to-moderate signs of aging, and want to see younger, more even-looking skin. Learn More…
Sciton Brandband Light (BBL™) technology is the world’s most powerful intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment. It’s an excellent procedure for patients who suffer from sun damage, wrinkles, acne, and common aging symptoms. With Sciton BBL™ treatments, your complexion will be transformed and refreshed. Learn More…
This blue-light treatment is an excellent option for patients who suffer from acne. Blue light is delivered to the dermis to get rid of acne-causing bacteria, while yellow light reduces inflammation and redness associated with acne. The treatment is followed up with infra-red light to promote the body’s healing processes. Learn More…
A superficial chemical peel treatment helps exfoliate and accelerate the removal of dead skin cells. They have been shown to prevent breakdown of collagen and stimulate the process of natural skin renewal. Unlike the deeper phenol of a TCA peel, the depth of penetration is kept to the epidermal or superficial dermis, eliminating the crusting or peeling that may happen with deeper peels. Learn More…
Achieve healthier, younger-looking skin with our clinically-tested, radiance-enhancing peels from SkinMedica. These comfortable, non-invasive peels address the damaged outer layer of the skin and help to reduce visible signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles. The peels enhance skin’s color and clarity; tighten and improve texture for smoother, soften skin; and help to minimize the appearance of skin imperfections, including dark spots, acne-prone skin, and premature aging caused by sun exposure. Optimal results are typically achieved within 3 to 6 treatments. Learn More…
To learn more about Acne treatments or to schedule your consultation at Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, P.C., serving the Philadelphia metro area, including The Main Line, Chestnut Hill, Blue Bell, Gwynedd, and Flourtown, please fill out the form on this page or call (610) 828-0400.