Acne Treatments

Acne vulgaris is a chronic, inflammatory disorder of the sebaceous (oil) glands of the face, anterior chest and back. Approximately 90% of the individuals in the United States at one time or another are affected by acne. It may have its onset during childhood, teen-age years, or later in life. The severity of acne varies from a few papules, blackheads and pustules to the severest form, which is cystic, and results in scars and disfigurement. Acne is a disease that occurs in all races. Many acne treatments are available. One of our board certified dermatologists can determine which acne treatment is best for your skin.

Acne should never be dismissed as of no consequence. Oftentimes, it is casually treated and patients are told that they will “grow out of it”. However, acne treatments in this fashion oftentimes can result in permanent disfigurement and scarring of the face. Not only can patients suffer physical damage from their acne, but they can also suffer emotional trauma from having to deal with the papules, pustules, and cysts on their face while trying to participate in their normal daily activities. Of importance in acne treatment is a thorough understanding of the disease itself, and the basic concept that acne is caused by plugging of pores. In order to correct this problem, we must keep the pores open; this is of primary importance. One of the main targets of the treatment of acne is to normalize the growth of skin around the follicular pores so they remain open; if this can be maintained patients will experience an 85% to 100% improvement of their acne. Acne itself is not curable, but there are acne treatments to make it controllable, and eventually most patients outgrow the tendency to have oily, greasy skin and acne. In general, for any acne treatment, it takes approximately six to twelve weeks to achieve maximal improvement.

Acne Treatment in this office consists of the use of abrasive agents in order to free the skin from oil and grease, to unplug clogged pores, and to promote drying. The face should have a slightly wind-burned appearance throughout the day. Ideal dryness is obtained by gently scrubbing once or twice a day. Specific drying agents that are used in acne treatments, in addition to scrubbing agents, include benzoyl peroxide derivatives, sulfur and salicylic acid compounds, and retinoic acid (or other related Vitamin A derived drugs). To eliminate the bacteria, a topical or oral antibiotic will usually be chosen. Your doctor will explain to you, after evaluating your skin, the ideal acne solution for you so that you can receive maximal improvement. Depending on the severity of your acne, oral medication, such as antibiotics or Accutane®, may also be used.

Things that have a tendency to aggravate and make acne worse are resting the chin, cheeks or forehead on the hands; picking or “popping zits” is particularly harmful, because it only aggravates the condition and may cause scarring or unevenness of pigmentation. Other factors which have a tendency to aggravate acne include the application of oily, greasy makeups, heavy use of water-based or cake makeups, stressful situations, fatigue and tiredness.

Although there is no cure for acne, our goal is to provide the highest level of acne treatment in order to help prevent scars and to educate you so that your results can be maintained. We also aim to decrease your risk of scarring and to control your problem until you outgrow it. When you come to the office, acne surgery will be performed in order to remove pre-existing whiteheads, and blackheads, and also to open up pustules so that they will resolve more quickly.