Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Though common, accurate information about acne can be scarce.
We are acne experts and have treated hundreds of patients with mild, moderate and severe acne. Acne is a term used to describe blocked pores, which can be blackheads and whiteheads. In addition to pimples, cysts and/or nodules can be present as well. Acne typically tends to appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms.
Acne is not a life-threatening condition, but it can cause physical scarring, emotional trauma, damage to surrounding areas of the skin, and other skin complications. This is exactly why we devote a great deal of time to evaluating and treating his acne patients. There are numerous treatments available for acne and include topical medications, oral antibiotics, extractions, specialized skin care products, oral isotretinoin treatment (also often referred to as Accutane), and other cosmetic options.
Today, virtually every case of acne can be successfully treated. Our skin experts can help treat existing acne, prevent new breakouts and reduce your chance of developing scars. We will be happy to create a regimen suited for your skin type and acne severity.
Why treat acne?
Dermatologists know that letting acne runs its course is not always the best advice. Here’s why:
- Without treatment, dark spots and permanent scars can appear on the skin as acne clears.
- Treating acne often boosts a person’s self-esteem.
- Many effective treatments are available.
Signs of acne
Many people think that acne is just pimples. But a person who has acne can have any of these blemishes:
- Pustules (what many people call pimples)
Who gets acne?
If you have a bad case of acne, you may feel that you are the only one. But many people have acne. It is the most common skin problem in the United States. About 40 to 50 million Americans have acne at any one time. Most people who have acne are teenagers or young adults, but acne can occur at any age. Newborn babies can get acne. Men and women get acne. Some women get acne well into 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s.
What causes acne?
Acne is caused by several factors:
- Abnormal maturation of the skin
- Hormonal influences
- Oil overproduction
Acne appears when a pore in our skin clogs with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells rise to the surface of the pore, and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make lots of sebum (oil), that normally keeps our skin from drying out, the dead skin cells can stick together inside the pore.
Hormonal fluctuations that happen during puberty, menstrual cycle or pregnancy man influence the sebum production.
Diet plays a role as well since a diet high in carbohydrates and dairy raises glycemic levels which in turn raises insulin levels. This contributes to higher male hormone and oil production. Higher male hormone production contributes to increased levels of sebum or oil production. Sebum makes the cells sticky, so the cells become trapped inside the pore.
Sometimes bacteria that live on our skin, p. acnes, also get inside the clogged pore. Inside the pore, the bacteria have a perfect sticky environment for multiplying very quickly. With loads of bacteria inside, the pore becomes inflamed (red and swollen). If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, an acne cyst or nodule appears.