What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when a hair follicle is clogged with oil and dead skin cells. This can cause whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples. While this condition is most common among teens, it can affect people of all ages. Acne most commonly appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders, because these areas have the most oil glands.
Common signs of acne include:
- Blackheads (open clogged pores).
- Whiteheads (closed clogged pores).
- Small, red bumps (papules).
- Pimples (pustules,) which are papules with pus at the top.
- Large, painful bumps under the skin (nodules).
- Pus-filled, painful lumps under the skin (cystic lesions).
Acne Treatment Options
There are several treatment options for acne, depending on its severity and your preference. These treatments are broken down into categories, including topical medications, oral medications, and therapies.
Antibiotics: These medications work by killing off excess bacteria on the skin and reducing inflammation. During the first few months of treatment, you may be instructed to use both an antibiotic and a retinoid. Antibiotics are also commonly combined with benzoyl peroxide to lessen the chances of developing a resistance to antibiotics.
Retinoids: Medications that contain retinoic acids or tretinoin can be used to treat moderate acne. These drugs come as gels, creams, and lotions. They will increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so it is important to use the correct sun protection when using these medications.
Azelaic and salicylic acids: Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid that is produced by yeasts, and has antibacterial properties. It can be useful in managing some types of acne. Salicylic acid is also a treatment option that may help prevent plugged hair follicles.
Dapsone: This medicated gel is commonly used to treat inflammatory acne.
Antibiotics: Oral antibiotics can be used to treat moderate to severe acne by reducing bacteria levels. They should be used for the shortest amount of time possible to prevent antibiotic resistance.
Oral Contraceptive Combinations: Four oral contraceptives have been approved by the FDA to treat acne in women who also wish to use them for contraception. Because it may take a few months for benefits to become noticeable, you may need to use other acne medications with it for the first few weeks.
Anti-androgen Drugs: The medication spironolactone may be used for women and teen girls if oral antibiotics do not prove effective. This medication works by blocking the effect of androgen hormones on the oil-producing glands.
Isotretinoin: This is a derivative of vitamin A, and may be prescribed to people with moderate to severe acne.
Chemical Peels: This treatment uses an application of a chemical solution such as glycolic, retinoic, or salicylic acid. It is often used to treat mild acne, though repeated treatments may be needed.
Extraction/Drainage: Your doctor may use special tools to carefully remove blackheads, whiteheads, or cysts that do not clear up with other medications.
Steroid Injection: Cystic and nodular lesions can be treated using steroid injections. This treatment option results in a rapid improvement in the lesion, and decreased discomfort caused by acne.
Ideal Candidates for Acne Treatment
Anyone who is experiencing acne that has not gone away from over-the-counter treatments can benefit from acne treatment at our office. The best way to determine which treatment option is best for you is through a consultation with Dr. Erwin, where she can best assess your skin.
Contact Us Today
If you would like to learn more about acne and how to treat it, contact our office today by calling (979) 612-2761 or completing the online form! We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.