Acne vulgaris, or acne, is a common skin condition that affects teens and adults of all ages. Contrary to popular acne myths, it isn’t caused by poor hygiene or eating chocolate and greasy foods, and it isn’t a skin problem that people must suffer through and allow to simply “run its course.” Acne is treatable, and a variety of treatment options exist.
Regular medical cleanse treatments are the first line of defense against regular breakouts. Each client will receive a custom program designed to address his or her specific type of acne. It doesn’t matter if you have the occasional pimple or cystic acne, we can develop a program that will result in clear, beautiful skin.
Types of Acne
Acne is divided into the following types based on its characteristics:
Cysts or nodules
Comedones may be open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads). Blackheads occur when hair follicles are partially blocked by oil, bacteria and dead skin cells and typically take much longer to clear. They appear black in color not because of dirt, but because skin cell pigment reacts when exposed to oxygen and takes on a black color. Whiteheads occur when pores are completely blocked. They also resolve more quickly than blackheads and have a white surface.
Pustules, commonly referred to as pimples or zits, are inflamed lesions that occur as the result of clogged pores. Papules, like pustules, are also inflamed, red and tender but do not have a head.
Cystic acne, or acne nodules, characterize a more severe form of acne and appear as large, painful bumps under the skin’s surface. Nodules frequently cause acne scarring.
Acne vulgaris may sometimes be confused with acne rosacea, however this is a different skin condition that usually requires different treatment.
All types of acne occur when pores, or hair follicles, in the face, neck, chest or back become clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells or built up bacteria.
The most common bacteria causing acne is Propionibacterium acnes
Some people may have naturally oilier skin and be genetically predisposed to acne.
Hormones certainly affect the skin and may also lead to the development of acne. The onset of puberty, pregnancy, menstruation and high dose hormonal birth control methods may trigger acne breakouts.
Skin care regimen
Some skin care product ingredients can cause or exacerbate acne. Examples include scrubs and exfoliating agents.
Some possible dietary factors include processed foods, packaged foods, preservatives, dairy products and high-starch foods. Some studies have identified these potential triggers.
Many studies have shown that culminate stress can cause or worsen acne. Stress reducing measures include:
No electronics, TV or video games for 30-60 minutes before sleep
Prayer, yoga, massage, or other relaxation techniques for 5-15 minutes before sleep
Adequate sleep (8 or more hours per night)
No caffeine after 2 pm
Exercising 3-5 times per week
Sleeping at the same time every night (preferably at 10 pm or so)
Establishing a bedtime regimen
No eating before sleep
Acne Treatment & Prevention
The right acne treatment or combination of treatments is chosen based on a variety of factors, including the type and severity of the acne, as well as the face or body area and characteristics of the skin affected by acne.
Some of the most popular and effective acne treatment options include:
Oral antibiotics (minocycline, doxycycline)
Hormone therapy (birth control pills or spironolactone/Aldactone)
TCA chemical peels
Red Light Therapy/Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) with or without Levulan/Ameluz
Steroid Injections (for large cysts)
Retinoids (Differin/Epiduo, Tazarac and Retin-A)
Topical antibiotics (clindamycin, Duac, Benzaclin, Onexton, and erythromycin)
Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide and sulfur washes
Options for adult acne include Soolantra, Finacea, metronidazole, Mirvaso and Rhofade
These acne treatments are quick, painless and noninvasive, and there is little downtime or side effects. Most moderate inflammatory acne can be cleared in as few 2-3 months. Results are further improved when you add our acne clearing cleansers and lotions for use at home.
Once your active acne breakouts are successfully treated, additional acne scar and hyperpigmentation treatments may be performed to further improve the appearance of your skin.
Would you like to learn more about Acne Treatment? Call us to schedule a consultation at Clovis Dermatology.