Let’s Talk About Acne.
Acne is described as a condition that can include red pimples (acne vulgaris), comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), and large nodules (nodular cystic acne). This condition is usually located on the face, but can also affect the chest, shoulders, arms, back, and buttocks.
Though acne is commonly known for affecting teenagers, it can also appear in adulthood. Acne is often, but not always, hereditary and runs in families. Many acne treatments that work for teens are also used to treat adults. Misinformation about acne remedies on TV and the Internet can make treating acne a frustrating and confusing process for patients. This is why Dr. Caglia gives you the information you need to really combat and cure your acne and to prevent future scarring whether or not it is on the face or other parts of your body. With today’s knowledge and the various treatments that range from topical or oral medication to lasers, no one should suffer from acne anymore. Patients must reach out for help, it is not something that goes away, but can leave you scarred physically and emotionally.
Where does acne come from?
It all starts with the sebaceous glands, which are connected to hair follicles in the skin. These glands secrete an oily substance called sebum, used for softening and lubricating the skin. During puberty, the sebaceous glands are most active and cause oily skin. Another cause of acne is clogged hair follicles, due to dead skin cells. When no inflammation is present, open comedones (blackheads) or closed comedones (whiteheads) can appear. The black color of blackheads is not actually due to the skin, but rather from a chemical change in the cell itself. Finally, bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes begins to thrive off the sebum. The bacteria continue to grow and attract the attention of your body’s immune cells. This leads to the inflammation, red bumps or nodules that we all know as acne.
Will it ever go away?
For most patients, signs of acne tend to subside by the late teens or early twenties. However, some patients still continue to suffer from acne into adulthood. A patient suffering from acne may go through phases when the condition will improve and then erupt again, making it impossible to predict. Together, you and your doctor can help to control acne. With the knowledge we have today, no one should have to suffer acne and acne scars. It is important to start controlling your acne as soon as possible. For those that may already have scaring from acne, CO2 fractional resurfacing can help to eliminate even the deepest scars.
Do certain triggers make my acne worse?
Stress can be one of the biggest factors that cause acne. This is why an acne outbreak will happen before big exams, weddings, training at new jobs, etc. In women, acne can be linked to menstruation due to an influence of hormones. Foods, such as soda and chocolate, have never been proven to actually cause acne. However, some patients who avoid these foods do see an improvement in their acne. It is best to avoid any foods that aggravate your condition. These foods can include chocolate, fatty foods, or excessive amounts of sweets. A well-balanced diet is the best diet for those with acne
What about cosmetics?
Avoid cosmetics that contain oil, as these can plug the pores in your skin. It is also best to avoid gels or heavy greases for the hair, especially if you notice acne appearing around your hairline. Many brands today make “oil-free” cosmetics.
Anything else I should avoid?
Rubbing and scrubbing motions will aggravate your acne. Cleansing your skin 2-3 times a day is good practice, but vigorous washing may actually cause more inflammation. Any other sources of friction can also have similar effects, such as rubbing or leaning on acne. Pressure from tight collars, helmets.
Avoid squeezing acne lesions, as this may lead to more problems – inflammation, irritation, redness, and prolongation.
So how can I control my acne?
From mild to severe forms of acne, many medications can help to treat your condition.
- Glycolic Acids (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and Salicylic Acids (Beta Hydroxy Acids):
- Contained in toners, washes, peels, and lotions
- Unplug pores and regulate the skin cycling process
- Can help to fade the red spots left from acne breakouts
- Come in topical and pill forms
- Variety of antibiotics to choose from such as minocycline, doxycycline, Clindamycin, and Oracea
- Little risk in creating “antibiotic resistance”
- Can safely take antibiotic pills for several months, even years to control your acne under the guidance of your doctor=
- Benzoyl Peroxides:
- Creams and washes help to fight the bacteria which causes acne
- The bacteria cannot become immune to it
- Be careful, benzoyl peroxide can bleach your clothing
- Retinoids (Retin-A, Differin, Tazorac):
- Open up plugged pores
- Make the skin cells less sticky, so patients may notice mild flaking of the skin when first used.
- Will take several months to unplug pores, as the skin takes 28 days to cycle.
- Other Medications:
- Birth control pills (YAZ, Ortho Tri-cyclen, and BEYAZ (drospirenone) are the only ones currently FDA approved for treating acne.
- Spironolactone pills, a type of anti-androgens, block androgen receptors in the body, preventing cells from absorbing androgen hormones. Spironolactone limits hormonal fluctuations in females that may contribute to acne breakouts.
- Topical Azelex (azelaic acid cream 20%) can also be used
- Lasers, IPL, Levulan and PDT(photodynamic therapy):
- To learn more about our practice’s laser acne treatment options visit our CoolTouch Laser Acne Treatment page
Find out if you could benefit from acne treatment procedures. Schedule your consultation with our practice today at 972-347-1100.