The Basics of Acne Care
What is Acne?
Affecting up to 50 million Americans annually, acne is the most prevalent skin condition in the United States. Nearly 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience at least minor acne. It is also normal to experience it at some severity well into your 30’s and 40’s, as it is a common condition at any life stage.
Acne is caused by excess oil and skin debris blocking pores, allowing bacteria to build up. This blockage is known as a comedone.
Over time, these comedones (blackheads) can cause inflammation around the affected pore. Sebum, an oily substance secreted from glands in your skin, and bacteria build up behind these comedones, creating what most recognize as a pimple.
In more severe cases, cysts or nodules can form deep within the layers of the skin. Often, severe acne is characterized by very red, inflamed, and sometimes painful lumps.
What Causes Acne?
We often think of acne as a condition of adolescence due to hormonal changes that occur during puberty. In reality, acne can affect people of all ages. The appearance of acne, while often a sporadic occurrence, can be worsened by a few different conditions.
For many women, changing hormone levels will affect the severity of acne, particularly during menstruation or during pregnancy.
Other things, such as genetics (if your parents had acne, you are more prone to getting it), environmental factors (like humidity), wearing tight fitting clothing, and not utilizing proper skin care techniques all can contribute to the appearance and severity of acne.
Goodskin's Approach to Treatment
Because of the many factors involved in treating acne, we understand that every patient is different. A treatment that works for one patient may not work as well for another. However, there is a way to successfully treat almost every person’s acne by considering the severity and causes of a patient’s condition and finding appropriate means of treatment and prevention.
During an appointment, our providers first evaluate and classify the severity of the patient’s acne. Using this information, and taking into account patient history and past treatments, an effective treatment course can be established and implemented. Often, this is a combination of education on proper skin care and utilizing medications (antibiotics, topical steroids, birth control/hormone regulators, oil suppressors, etc.) to help address the specific causes of the acne and the patient’s tolerance to medications.
The provider will also advise you on any necessary follow-up appointments to track progress and/or adjust the treatment.
Acne Care at Home
There are many things you can do in your daily life to help lessen or eliminate acne. The tips below are easy to follow and a great foundation for achieving clear skin at home. However, if you feel like you need a little extra help, we’re here for you! Goodskin Dermatology is always available to assist you with all of your acne needs. Click here to schedule an appointment.
- Practice Proper Skin Care – Wash your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser to remove excess dirt, make-up and oil. Ignore all the TV ads and select a soap that is dermatologist-approved and does not irritate your skin. Harsh cleaners may be too abrasive and can make acne worse. Cleansers with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide are made to fight acne and are good choices for treatment and prevention. Just make sure they do not irritate your skin.
- Do Not Pick! – Resist the urge to pick at your skin or pop any pimples. Often times, you are doing more damage than good, possibly making your acne worse by spreading bacteria and oils from your hands. You also increase your risk of scarring when you pick.
- Consider Your Makeup – Look for oil-free or non-comedogenic cosmetic products to keep from clogging your pores. Be sure to remove any makeup at night and moisturize your skin regularly.
- Be Patient – Often times, it takes a many weeks to months for an acne treatment to be effective. In some cases, your acne may even get worse before it gets better, as some medications work to push comedones and bacteria to the surface of your skin. Be sure to give a treatment the proper amount of time to work before giving up or trying something different.