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What is Acne?

Acne, or Acne Vulgaris, is a chronic skin condition in which pores and/or hair follicles get clogged and inflamed, causing the formation of swollen, red, tender bumps. The main factors contributing to acne are generally known to be excessive oil gland production, bacteria, and hormonal activity. Acne is most commonly observed on the face, shoulders, back, or arms, but may appear in any place throughout the body. It’s also most common in young teens and young adults, although it can also be found in a wide variety of age groups and across different skin types. It’s an extremely common condition and can cause discomfort and pain as well as significant emotional distress. The distress can extend beyond the incidence of acne, since it may often cause scarring that can damage the skin’s surface long-term. Luckily, there are now many effective solutions for acne treatments and acne scarring.

How is Acne Diagnosed?

Acne is usually very effectively diagnosable by your dermatologist or physician with a visual examination.

What causes Acne and Acne Scarring?

Acne is essentially the summation of a ‘perfect storm’. Generally, as excessive oil gland production and dead skin cells build up in the pores and hair follicles, they can get inflamed leading to acne lesions. Sometimes, bacteria that naturally live on our skin (most commonly found to be P. acnes bacteria) might find their way into these follicles and pores for a suitable environment to grow and reproduce. This can then lead to infection and inflammation, acne formation, and finally scarring.

There are many other factors can trigger acne and its severity. Diet, lifestyle, skincare routine, genetic predispositions, hormonal imbalances or changes, medications, stress, and more can all contribute to acne.

Even after acute cases of acne, scarring can form and cause troublesome changes to the skin’s surface and appearance. As the hair follicles and pores swell with inflammation and infection, they may stretch and their structural integrity may be changed. As they heal, scar tissue can form and the previously-clogged pockets in the skin may not fully regain their structure, causing them to sag and sulk leading to scarring.

What treatments are available for Acne?

Acne treatment has been a large focal point in dermatology for decades. As a common condition, many people currently suffer from or have suffered from acne and its scarring effects. This has warranted a lot of research and development into effective treatments. Treatments generally come down to topical therapy, photodynamic therapy, Blue light, and anti-acne medications.

Topicals

Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, etc are common ingredients in face washes and topical products that help fight acne-causing bacteria. These acids kill P. acnes bacteria that may otherwise be causing acne and inflammation as they end up in skin pores/hair follicles.

Retinol Gels/creams can also help reduce acne and inflammation by increasing cell turnover to keep pores unblocked and constantly renewed. It can take several months to kick in and may cause acne to worsen initially as it also increases cell turnover in follicles that are already affected by acne, but as it takes effect it can significantly reduce acne.

Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) directly targets excessive oil gland production by inducing inflammation to destroy them and reduce acne breakouts. This chemical skin treatment can also have beneficial effects on acne scars through its peeling effects and cellular turnover.

Blue light therapy

Blue light therapy can be an effective therapy for acne when P. acnes bacteria is the culprit. This bacteria is very sensitive to blue light and will be killed with exposure thereby reducing bacteria related acne breakouts.

Medications

Antibiotics can be a good way to reduce more severe acne that may be due to persistent bacterial skin infections (most often by P. acnes bacteria). As it kills off bacteria in the skin, the incidence of bacterial acne formation is reduced and the complexion begins to clear up. It can be administered topically (like clindamycin) or orally (like minocycline, doxycycline, tetracycline, etc.).

Birth Control can be very helpful for women experiencing problematic acne that may be due to hormonal changes or imbalances that can contribute to oil overproduction and more. As hormones balance out from birth control, the acne condition may subside.

Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a strong medication derived from vitamin A that can have powerful effects on more severe acne, like cystic or nodular. It works by suppressing the activity of oil glands, which helps prevent overproduction.

Scarring

There are also many approaches to treating scars after acne has subsided. Here at Brandish Clinic, we employ some of the most cutting-edge acne scar treatments for our patients, like:

– Photodynamic Therapy(PDT)
– Vibradermabrasion
– Chemical Peels
– Dermal fillers for scar revision
– Medical Therapy

What should I expect with the treatment?

To start, you and Dr. Brandish will develop an individualized treatment plan to determine what topical or other treatment may be most effective for your case. Treatment expectations will depend heavily on the type of treatment used. Despite this, many acne treatments, from topicals to medications, to Photodynamic or Blue light therapy require consistent use for a long period.

Acne Summary

Acne is a condition characterized by the formation of irritated and inflamed skin pores/hair follicles, clogged by oil, dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria, and more. It’s an extremely common condition with many causes and contributing factors, so there are many treatments available. Topicals can help keep pores clean and reduce skin bacterial infections, and other medications may help accomplish these same goals as well as reduce oil production. Photodynamic therapy can reduce the number of excessive oil glands while Blue Light therapy can help destroy the bacteria responsible for acne production. Our other cutting-edge laser, light, and peel treatment options can help create rejuvenation in the skin to do away with scarred, discolored skin where acne once was. Between these many treatment options, we’re confident we can help you restore the beauty and vitality of your skin, no matter how much you’ve struggled with acne.

How do I get started with Melasma Treatment?

If you’re interested in hearing more or in scheduling an appointment, contact our office at

and we’ll take care of you. We offer free consultation appointments as well if you’d like to simply go over any problem areas and discuss treatment options for Acne and/or Acne Scarring with Dr. Brandish.