Acne is a very common skin condition that effects individuals in all walks of life. Although the appearance of pimples on the skin causes no medical concern, an abundance of acne can create disfigurement in the affected area as well as emotional distress in social situations. Treatment for acne varies and can be specified based on a patient’s unique characteristics. The most effective way to determine a proper treatment regimen is to receive a skin evaluation with one of our physicians at Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery. If you are suffering from acne on your body, there are options available that can alleviate your concerns and leave you with healthy, smooth skin.
What Causes Acne?
Although it seems like acne has a tendency to appear during adolescence due to the influx of hormones in the body during puberty, it actually affects individuals of all ages, ethnicities and genders. The pimples that are so commonly associated with acne are caused by oils, bacteria or dead skin cells that become lodged in hair follicles. When pores in the skin are clogged, the hair follicle responds by filling with a soft plug, expanding and protruding from the skin. The plug can either become submerged within the hair follicle, creating a white head, or be exposed on the surface of the skin, causing a black head. Either way, hair follicles that become infected or inflamed result in acne, and although popular myth tells us that excess dirt, chocolate, soda and greasy foods worsen the condition, most people develop acne due to hormonal changes, heredity or bacteria.
Where Is Acne Located?
Acne typically arises in areas of the body with the highest oil production. Regions like the face, neck, shoulders, chest, arms and back are likely to develop acne at some point in life. Experts are unsure of the reasons why oil production is higher in these areas, but have found relationships between oil production and genetics, hormones and bacteria. Acne may remain constant in these regions or flare up over time depending on bodily or environmental changes. Certain factors like cosmetic products, stress and medications have been shown to increase the amount of acne in certain areas of the body.
What Treatment Options are Available?
The treatment that is prescribed to you will depend on the severity of your condition. For instance, acne that is caused by bacteria on the skin and results in scarring may require treatment in addition to the medications used to alleviate the appearance of acne. At Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery, we offer a variety of treatments that target the factors known to cause acne. There isn’t yet a case of acne that cannot be improved or resolved.
Topical creams or ointments are usually one of the first treatments prescribed to patients, particularly if they are suffering from mild acne. These creams will contain certain chemicals, like benzoyl peroxide, lactic acid or salicylic acid, that are proven to lessen the amount of oil on the skin and increase the rate of dead skin cell turnover. Topical creams are generally for sale at any drug store, but prescription products are also available with higher concentrations of certain chemicals.
For patients who have more moderate cases of acne, our physicians may provide you with a prescription for an oral medication. The medications are antibiotics that specifically target acne caused by excess amount of bacteria on the skin along with the inflammation that occurs as a result. Oral medicines can also be combined with topical medications to produce optimal results. Medications that we prescribe may include Accutane and other tetracyclines, which are used primarily to fight bacterias and reduce the amount of oils on the skin. Isotretinoin may also be prescribed, but only for patients who exhibit very severe acne.
Patients who experience more severe cases of acne may accumulate scarring as a result, in which case skin rejuvenation procedures can be an effective treatment option. Procedures like dermabrasion, laser therapy, dermal fillers or other methods that actively work to restore the skin with smooth qualities may be recommended. Rejuvenation treatments work by removing older layers of skin that promote the appearance of acne and allowing newer, smoother layers to form.
During a diagnosis, our physicians aim to understand your specific lifestyle choices in order to pinpoint personal or environmental causes of your acne. If we’re able to determine that certain cosmetics, weather conditions or personal habits are increasing the amount of acne on your skin, we will often recommend avoiding those factors in addition to the treatment we prescribe. It’s important to practice preventive care for the skin condition you are suffering from in order to advance the treatment options provided for you. In addition to making lifestyle changes, patients should refrain from popping or picking at their pimples as this may worsen the amount of scarring present on the skin. If you would like more information about your acne as well as the treatment options available to you, please contact Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery and schedule a consultation.