Acne is the most frequent skin condition in the United States. It is characterized by pimples that appear on the face, back and chest. Every year, about 80% of adolescents have some form of acne and about 5% of adults experience acne. Acne is made up of two types of blemishes:
Acne is a skin condition with blackheads, whiteheads, red pimples, and cysts. It usually affects the face, but can also involve the upper body. Acne affects people of all ages and in some, can leave dark marks or pitted scars. The most common acne trigger is hormonal changes that teenagers experience during puberty and adults usually experience during stressful periods. Hormonal acne appears in the form of deep, cystic blemishes around the chin, neck, and back.
Acne in teenagers is caused by the hormone testosterone, which increases during puberty and stimulates sebaceous glands of the skin to grow, make oil and plug pores. In adults, acne may be related to hormones, stress, childbirth, menopause, or medications. Diet, specifically certain dairy products and high-glycemic-index foods may exacerbate acne in some patients.
In normal skin, oil glands under the skin, known as sebaceous glands, produce an oily substance called sebum. The sebum moves from the bottom to the top of each hair follicle and then spills out onto the surface of the skin, taking with it sloughed-off skin cells.
With acne, the structure through which the sebum flows gets plugged up. This blockage traps sebum and sloughed-off cells below the skin, preventing them from being released onto the skin’s surface. If the pore’s opening is fully blocked, this produces a whitehead. If the pore’s opening is open, this produces blackheads. When either a whitehead or blackhead becomes inflamed, they can become red pustules or papules. It is important for patients not to pick or scratch at individual lesions because it can make them inflamed and can lead to long-term scarring.
In general, if you are prone to acne, you should wash your face with a mild cleanser and warm water daily. Washing too much or too vigorously can make acne worse. Any products used on the skin should say “non-comedogenic” on the bottle. This means they do not contain pore-clogging ingredients.
Treatment for mild acne starts with topical antibiotics, retinoids (vitamin A based topicals), anti-inflammatory agents and benzoyl peroxide. Cortisone injections may be utilized to rapidly shrink cystic lesions (same day appointments available when needed).
Acne surgery may be performed to extract black and whiteheads. In more severe cases, antibiotic pills are often prescribed. In some women, hormonal treatments may also be recommended. If your acne doesn’t respond or is extremely severe and scarring, oral isotretinoin may be utilized. Treating acne is a relatively slow process; there is no overnight remedy. Some treatments include:
For those who wish to avoid taking medications, Affiliated Dermatology offers alternatives for acne treatment such as microneedling and chemical peels.
Chemical peels are an excellent way to bring back the smooth texture of your skin. We offer many different treatments such as light, medium, or heavy depth chemical peels for various skin types. The people who come in for our chemical peels are usually suffering from acne, extensive sun damage, or just want a rejuvenated appearance. Our chemical peel treatments have also been known to cut down on precancerous lesions that may lead to the development of skin cancer.
The SkinPen utilizes fine needles is used to create “micro-tunnels” of the skin. These microscopic wounds stimulate the skin’s natural healing process which increases collagen and elastin production. Microneedling breaks up scar tissue, plumps acne scarring, reduces pore size and improves skin texture. Acne targeting medications are applied at the start of the procedure and driven into target areas by the instrument to increase effectiveness. The depth of penetrated medication enhances results to give you the results you’ve been hoping for.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our acne specialists in Phoenix, Arizona, please contact us by calling (480) 556-0446 or leaving us a message with the contact form below.
Whether you wish to receive treatment for a skin condition or an aesthetic procedure, you can be assured you will be treated with professional and personal care by one of our skin care experts. Please feel free to call us at (480) 556-0446 or leave us a message online using our Contact Us form.