Most people will have an occasional acne breakout at some point in their life, but the condition can become severe for others. Professional acne treatment is beneficial for your skin’s health and your personal confidence. At Silver Falls Dermatology, our providers can help you find a long-term solution for your acne.
What is Acne?
Acne refers to a blocked or clogged pore which can cause issues like inflammation, redness and bumps including pimples or papules. This is a very common condition which is most typically seen in adolescents. However, patients may experience acne at any age. There are several different types of acne, which include:
- Comedones, which are small bumps that may appear white or black in color (commonly called whiteheads or blackheads)
- Papules, which are small, red raised bumps caused by infection or inflammation within hair follicles
- Pustules, which are red pimples containing pus
- Nodules, which are solid lumps just below the surface of the skin. Nodules are typically painful.
- Cysts, which are similar to nodules but contain pus
During an appointment, your dermatology provider can help to diagnose the type of acne you are experiencing, which can help you determine the best possible treatment to achieve clear skin.
What Causes Acne?
Generally speaking, acne is caused by a blockage in a pore or hair follicle. The pores may become blocked due to excess oil (sebum), dead skin cells or other debris. Within the blocked pore, bacteria can grow in excess, resulting in the inflammation or bumps seen in acne.
Acne may be caused or exacerbated by a number of factors. Most commonly, changes in hormones during puberty results in excess sebum production, which causes the clogged pores. Hormone fluctuation due to pregnancy or side effects from medication such as birth control can have similar effects.
Outside of hormonal fluctuation, some patients may genetically produce excess sebum at any stage of life. For this reason, if you have family members who suffer from acne, you may be more likely to see the same symptoms. Similarly, those with very dry skin may see acne as a result of dead skin cells blocking pores. This can be caused by genetics or environmental factors.
Finally, stress, lifestyle or environmental effects can all cause acne or worsen the condition. Improper skincare, touching the face excessively, tight clothing or poor diet can all trigger or worsen acne symptoms.
When to Seek Acne Treatment
You may choose professional care for acne at any stage. While all patients will see occasional acne, it can be beneficial to seek treatment if you have persistent breakouts that do not respond to your at-home skincare routine. Finding a solution with the help of a professional is important, as persistent acne increases the risk of permanent acne scarring. In addition, you should seek acne treatment whenever the condition causes pain or begins to affect your life or self-esteem in a significant way.
Acne Treatment Options
There are many treatment options available for acne. The best option for you will vary depending on the type of acne you face and the underlying cause.
Several medications, both topical and oral, are available to treat acne. Oral or topical antibiotics can be used to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. Your provider may also recommend medications such as birth control pills to regulate hormones and minimize oil production. For those with severe acne, a vitamin-A-based medication known as isotretinoin (Accutane) can also be used. Some common topical medications include prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, which kills bacteria and reduces oil production. Corticosteroids may also be used to help reduce inflammation. Depending on the severity of your acne, this may include topical, oral, or injectable corticosteroids.
Aside from these medications, several professional in-office treatments can be beneficial for acne. HydraFacial is a popular treatment option which helps to thoroughly cleanse and hydrate the skin. The treatment is adaptable to several skin concerns and skin types, making it a good option for those who suffer from clogged pores and acne.
Phototherapy may also be beneficial. This treatment involves directing specialized lights or lasers to the skin to reduce oil production and bacteria.
Chemical peels may also be recommended. A chemical peel resurfaces the skin, removing impurities including dead skin cells. Chemical peels can also be beneficial for those with acne scars.
Finally, your provider will likely recommend pairing any treatment option with professional grade skincare. The proper at-home daily skincare can help to prevent future acne breakouts and keep your skin in the best possible overall health. Your provider will recommend products and steps including gentle cleansers to remove bacteria, excess oil and debris, exfoliation to remove dead skin cells before they clog pores and moisturizer to keep the skin balanced and hydrated, preventing excess oil production.