ASSOCIATES IN MEDICAL AND COSMETIC DERMATOLOGY
Crozer Medical Plaza at Brinton Lake
500 Evergreen Dr, Glen Mills, PA 19342
Suite 20: Medical & Surgical Dermatology:
484.785.3376 (DERM)
Suite 27: Cosmetic Dermatology:
484.785.7546 (SKIN)

Acne

Acneshutterstock_177851702

Also called acne vulgaris, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Approximately 40-50 million Americans have acne. While acne can occur at any age, most people who have acne are teenagers and young adults.

Causes

While the exact cause remains a mystery, research has revealed four key players — excess oil, clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation. The excess oil is sebum, an oil that our bodies makes to prevent the skin from drying out. Sebum increases dramatically during adolescence when hormones known as androgens spur sebum production into overdrive. Not all of the excess sebum can flow freely to the skin’s surface, and clogged pores result. Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), bacteria found on everyone’s skin, flourishes in the excess oil and causes inflammation.

Inflammation determines what type of acne appears. A little inflammation means that sebum flow is blocked close to the skin’s surface. The result is a blackhead or whitehead. Your dermatologist may call this a “comedo.” If the blockage develops deeper within the skin, a papule (pimple) forms. A bit deeper and a pustule (pus-filled pimple) develops. A very deep blockage causes intense inflammation, resulting in a painful nodule or cyst. Nodules and cysts are the most severe types of acne lesions.

Acne is not caused by specific foods, but certain foods may make some people’s acne worse. If certain foods seem to worsen your acne, try to avoid these foods. It also is important to know that very greasy foods do not necessarily make the skin oilier, but that eating these foods can leave oil on the face, especially around the mouth. When some vegetable oils get on the skin, they can make acne worse. Other causes that can trigger or make acne worse include:

  •  Heredity/genetics
  •  Hormones
  •  Menstruation
  •  Emotional stress
  •  Oil-containing skin care products

Treatment

Waiting for acne to clear on its own can be frustrating. It can also lead to permanent scarring, poor self-image, depression and anxiety. To avoid these physical and emotional scars, dermatologists recommend that acne be properly treated. Treatment results may take time because the treatments do not target existing breakouts (which clear unaided), but work to prevent new eruptions.

While waiting for treatment to work, it can be tempting to squeeze acne lesions to get rid of them. Dermatologists do not recommend this. Picking, scratching, popping and squeezing tend to make acne worse and can cause scars.

Dermatologists offer many effective treatments. Before recommending a treatment plan, your dermatologist considers many factors including your gender, age and acne severity. For women, other considerations are whether you are pregnant, nursing or trying to become pregnant. The medication in the treatment plan may be topical (applied to the skin) or systemic (works inside the body). Some patients receive a plan that combines topical and systemic treatment.  Another type of treatment is laser and light-based technologies. Examples of acne treatments include:

  • Topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, retinoids and salicylic acid
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Combination therapy utilizing topical and oral medications
  • Estrogen-containing birth control pills or medication that decreases the effects of male hormones (antiandrogens) may help certain women
  • Corticosteroids may be injected into large, painful, nodular and cystic acne lesions
  • Oral isotretinoin to treat severe, resistant nodular cystic acne, the most severe form of acne
  • Deep pore cleansing treatments or chemical peels (by our aestheticians)
  • Intense pulsed light treatments (by our aestheticians)
  • Acne scarring can be treated by use of chemical peels, skin fillers and laser resurfacing

Acne is not curable, but it is controllable. Proper treatment can prevent acne scars and help you to feel and look your best. Seeing your dermatologist or dermatology physician assistant helps to ensure that you are getting exceptional acne care.

To learn more, visit the American Academy of Dermatology’s website.

The doctors and medically trained aestheticians at Brinton Lake Dermatology provide expert acne care.

With a location convenient to Southern Chester and Delaware Counties in Pennsylvania, as well as Northern Delaware, our practice is ideally located to serve patients from Glen Mills, Garnet Valley, West Chester, Chadds Ford, Kennett Square, Media, Aston, Springfield, and Newtown Square areas in Pennsylvania and patients from Wilmington, Greenville and Newark in Delaware.

Please call 484-785-DERM (3376) for an appointment.

 

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