Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States. It is estimated that 40 to 50 million Americans have acne. Dr. Christine understands that if acne is not dealt with properly, it can be both physically and emotionally scarring. From severe acne to occasional breakouts, it is possible to have clear skin. Once you have a complete understanding of your skin type and how/why you break out, following a comprehensive plan under Dr. Christine’s guidance can give you the clear and glowing skin you’ve always desired.
WHAT IS ACNE VULGARIS?
Acne vulgaris, or acne, is a skin problem that starts when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores. Some people call it blackheads, blemishes, whiteheads, pimples, or zits. When you have just a few red spots, or pimples, you have a mild form of acne. Severe acne can mean hundreds of pimples that can cover the face, neck, chest, and back. Or, it can be bigger, solid, red lumps that are painful (cysts).
Before and after treatment of severe acne.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ACNE?
There are different types of acne. For most people, acne starts during the teen years. This is due to hormonal changes that make the skin more oily with the onset of puberty. When oil mixes with dead cells, it clogs the skin’s pores. Bacteria can now grow in this mixture resulting in swelling, redness and pus OR what is better known as a pimple.
- Birth related: Some newborns develop acne because their mothers pass hormones to them just before delivery. Acne can also appear when the stress of birth causes the baby’s body to release hormones on its own.
- Hormonal (female): Typical monthly fluctuations of a woman’s menstrual cycle can cause monthly break outs.
- Endocrine conditions: Some conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Cushing’s Syndrome can lead to acne.
- Medications: Some medications can cause acne to develop. This type of acne resolves when you stop taking the medication.
WHEN SHOULD I SEE A DOCTOR ABOUT MY ACNE?
Dr. Christine feels the best time to begin acne treatment is as soon as it becomes evident since acne usually progressively worsens if untreated. If acne runs in your family, you are more likely to have it and prevention is KEY!
HOW SHOULD I DEAL WITH MY ACNE?
Dr. Christine recommends that you keep your skin clean. Avoid skin products that clog your pores. Look for products that say “noncomedogenic” on the label. There are many ways to comprehensively approach and eradicate acne. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, Dr. Christine may recommend a basic skin care regimen utilizing products that aim at drying and controlling breakouts, followed by treatment of acne blemishes and scarring.
Mild to Moderate Acne:
In addition to skin care, Dr. Christine may recommend topical medication and/or start you on antibiotic pill. There is not one approach to treatment of acne and a combination of treatments of all of the above may work best for you. It can take over 6 to 8 weeks to get your acne under control, so it is very important that you continue regular use of treatments recommended by Dr. Christine.
Before and after treatment of severe acne.
For patients suffering from cystic acne, Dr. Christine may prescribe stronger medication such as Isotretinoin. Accutane works very well, but can be associated with birth defects and symptoms of depression. Before starting medication, Dr. Christine will ensure all females are using 2 forms of birth control to protect against pregnancy. If you have symptoms of depression, it is crucial that you share that information with Dr. Christine during your consultation visit.
HOW CAN I PREVENT GETTING ACNE? TIPS FROM DR. CHRISTINE:
It may be difficult to prevent acne, however, Dr. Christine recommends the following:
- Avoid squeezing or picking since it usually causes more swelling, redness, scarring and, can push the infection deeper into your skin.
- Gently wash and care for your skin every day. Avoid scrubbing too hard or washing too often.
- Wash your hair often; if your hair is oily. Try to keep your hair off of your face.
- Avoid heavy sweating if you think it causes your acne to get worse. Wash soon after activities that cause you to sweat.
- Change your pillowcase frequently.
- Avoid hair care products such as gels, mousses, cream rinses, and pomades that contain excessive amounts of oil.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wear soft, cotton clothing or moleskin under sports equipment. Parts of equipment, such as chin straps, can rub your skin and make your acne worse.
ACNE QUESTIONS: TRUE OR FALSE?
I can get acne from eating chocolate or greasy foods.
I can make it worse by using oily skin products that clog my pores.
Acne is caused by stress.
- FALSE: But stress can definitely worsen acne.
Acne will go away on it’s own if I just leave it alone.
- FALSE: Acne can be cleared. Delaying or ignoring treatment options can cause permanent skin damage and prolonged psychological suffering.
Acne is caused by poor hygiene.
- FALSE: Keeping your skin clean is of course important, but overly vigorous washing will only cause more oil production and aggravate your condition
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT ACNE SCARS?
There are several ways to help acne scars look better and feel smoother. Dr. Christine chooses the best treatment for you based on how severe the scarring is.
For acne scars, you may have:
Vibradermabrasion- A procedure that removes the top layers of skin. This promotes new skin growth and collagen production. The results are better-looking skin with less noticeable scarring.
Chemical Peel- Using a peel to peel off the superficial layer of the skin to remove scarring. A physician-strength peel or High Concentration Salicylic Acid Peel is used. These chemical solutions are applied to the skin causing a reaction similar to sunburn. After the skin completely peels over several days, new, smoother skin will replace the damaged skin.
Filler Injections- Fillers can be injected to smooth a pitted scar by plumping up the skin underneath.
Skin Rejuvenation- A light therapy treatment that penetrates the skin improving skin texture, acne scars as well as reduce pore size.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)- a non-invasive light based treatment. It increases collagen synthesis, softens appearance of acne scars, decrease pore size, ultimately reducing/eliminating acne.