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Acne is a condition of the skin that results in pimples, whiteheads and blackheads. It results from hair follicles becoming clogged with dead skin cells and oil. Acne is most common on the face, back, chest and neck, but can occur wherever there are hair follicles present beneath the skin.While most common in teenagers, it can be experienced by people of any age. The problem of acne can be compounded by the emotional stress this condition can create. In fact, stress is one of the triggers of this skin condition.
Acne is most prominent in teenagers, but can begin, worsen or persist to varying degrees at all ages. While acne is a benign condition, it is important to treat due to the possibility of scarring in some cases.
Acne can occur in a number of areas on the body. The most common sites where acne can occur include the face, forehead, chest, shoulders and upper back. Acne appears in these areas more often because the skin in these regions has more sebaceous glands. Acne can, however, appear almost anywhere on the body, especially where hair grows. Hair can clog pores along with sebum, compounding the condition.
Acne can occur in a number of different ways and can show up anywhere on the body, though it is most commonly found on the face and upper torso. Signs of acne include pustules, closed or open plugged pores and, in some cases, cystic lesions.
There are four main causes of acne:
There are also certain conditions that can trigger an increase in acne, including:
There are several different types of acne. Some of the most common are blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads are open bumps filled with sebum and dead skin, while whiteheads are closed. Pimples that look like whiteheads with red rings are known as pustules and can cause scarring when aggravated or scratched. Additional types of acne that appear in more severe cases include nodules, which are very deep, and cysts, which are filled with pus.
What foods cause acne? They might not be the ones you think. While people often think that chocolate and greasy foods cause acne, they are not the culprits. The foods that cause acne include skim milk, sugary foods and whey protein.Another commonly asked question is “Does spicy food cause acne?” Spicy food does not cause acne, but it can inflame it, as spicy food tends to raise the body’s temperature.
Preventing acne involves a number of habits and best practices that you can easily incorporate into your life.
Anyone experiencing acne should consider seeing a dermatologist. Seeing a dermatologist is particularly important when acne is chronic, cystic or inflamed, and is resistant to most over-the-counter treatments. By working in partnership with your dermatologist, you can develop a system of interventions that can treat acne and return your skin to a healthier and more balanced state.
There are many different treatments available for acne. Factors that determine treatment include severity and type of the acne, age and gender of the patient, and tolerance, efficacy and duration of past treatments.
The first-line treatment for acne will most likely be a topical regimen. This can be a combination of medicated washes, creams, gels and lotions. Different medications have different properties including antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and/or exfoliating. They target different components of acne and therefore often have to be used in combination with each other. A combination of prescription topicals may be recommended as well as over-the-counter products. To view the treatment options we carry, visit our store.
For patients with moderate to severe cystic acne, you may be prescribed one of the different oral treatments which often come with an increased risk of side effects and require more regular closer monitoring. There are different types of oral treatments for acne. Oral antibiotics decrease inflammation, a major component of acne and oral contraceptives. Spironolactone may benefit female patients who experience hormonally-activated acne.
For severe acne that persists and is resistant to multiple treatments or cystic acne that has a high risk of scarring, isotretinoin may be recommended as a treatment option. Isotretinoin is a powerful medication that is regulated by the government and its use and side effects are closely monitored by your prescribing physician. Despite the possible side effects, when taken properly and under the care of a physician, isotretinoin can provide significant improvement.
Intralesional Injections: For infrequent, inflamed, painful, cystic lesions, your provider may recommend an intralesional Kenalog injection. These injections are done in-office on an “as needed” basis. During the procedure, your provider will inject a small amount of steroid directly into the affected lesion. Improvement can be seen within 24-48 hours. This makes it a great option before a big event but is not recommended for frequent cystic flares.