Acne is the term for pimples and complexion problems that occur in many young people and some adults. Approximately 90% of all people will have acne at some point in their lives. Pimples usually occur on the face, but they may extend to the neck, chest, upper arms, back and legs. Acne is only a skin problem and does not affect your general health.
What Causes It?
Acne usually begins at puberty and may continue for many years. Teenagers get acne as the body matures and produces hormones that stimulate the sebaceous (oil producing) skin glands to make more sebum, or oil. Sebum lubricates the skin. Sebaceous glands within the hair follicles, or pores, become plugged when oil secretion occurs faster than the oil and skin cells can exit the pores. Sometimes, the plug causes the wall of the pore to rupture, causing redness, swelling, and pus - in other words, a pimple. Plugged oil glands may form blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads are not caused by dirt; rather, they are caused by bacteria that normally live on the skin and thrive on the sebum produced by oil glands. Sometimes, these bacteria multiply and cause inflammation and acne.
Some Facts About Acne:
Acne is built into your genes; it runs in families.
Teens get acne as their hormone levels change.
In females, acne frequently worsens at the time of menstruation.
Cosmetics should be labeled oil-free, or noncomedogenic.
Adult women often have trouble with acne through middle age. The reason is unknown, although hormones play some role.
What Can Be Done?
Acne cannot be completely prevented. However, a careful skin-care regimen can help to lessen its severity and the formation of new pimples.
Wash your face twice daily with a gentle skin cleanser to prevent oil build-up.
Do not scrub your face with a harsh washcloth or sponge. Scrubbing may actually make acne worse by irritating the skin. Try gentle cleansing with your hands.
Topical astringents can be used to remove excess oil after cleansing.
Don't squeeze, scratch, or pick the acne lesions. This can leave tiny, permanent scars on your face.
There are several over-the-counter treatments that can help improve acne, such as salicylic acid, sulfur, and benzoyl peroxide. They are available in washes, creams and gels. Prescription treatment is recommended if you do not see improvement after one to two months with over-the-counter products. Topical treatments include prescription strength antibiotics, benzoyl peroxides, and vitamin A derivatives. Topical medications are sometimes used in combination with antibiotics for optimal results. Prescription-strength medications are very helpful in treating acne. A combination of acid peels, microdermabrasion and medical-grade skin care products are often required to control the acne breakout.
Blue Light treatments are usually done in a series of 6 treatments; the patient wears protective goggles and sits under a Blue Light for about 16 minutes twice a week for 3 weeks. Patients have noticed significant improvement in their acne symptoms with this state of the art treatment protocol
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a newer technology that is available at Miramar Dermatology. It utilizes a series of laser light treatments and a topical medication. Microdermabrasion is first performed, and then aminolevulinic acid is applied to the affected areas. It is allowed to penetrate the skin for 30 to 60 minutes. At this point, a laser intense pulsed light is applied. The face is somewhat red for three to five days. It looks like a mild-to-moderate sunburn. Three to five treatments are required. Most patients realize significant improvement after two to three treatments. All of these treatments are closely supervised by a board certified dermatologist.
oral vitamin A derivative, is a strong, effective acne treatment
that effectively clears signs of acne in many people. There are
numerous side effects to Accutane therapy, and proper counseling
and monitoring is essential. Women of child-bearing potential must
exercise proper birth control precautions, as birth defects can
occur if women get pregnant while on Accutane treatment. A thorough
history is taken and extensive information is given to the patient
at the time that the decision is made to utilize Accutane as a treatment
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