Acne is a skin condition that causes clogged pores called
blackheads and whiteheads, inflamed pustules called pimples, and deeper lumps
Acne occurs on many parts of
the body, including the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms.
People of all ages can have acne and 25 percent of adults will experience acne throughout
their 20s to 40s. About 90% of teenagers develop the condition, as do nearly
50% of adult women.
Acne tends to resolve overtime without treatment but, if left
untreated, it can leave permanent scars. Therefore, acne should be treated and
Acne is not caused by being dirty or unclean. Acne is caused
by clogged pores and follicles as a result of one or more of the following:
- Over production of an oily secretion called sebum
- Overactive sebaceous gland
- Presence of a bacteria called Propionibacterium acne
- Your body’s inflammatory process.
Acne begins to develop about two to three weeks before it
appears on the skin's surface. It starts in the sebaceous follicles and pores.
Deep within the skin the sebaceous glands are producing sebum, the oil that
keeps the skin moist. As the skin renews itself, the old cells die and mix with
the skin's natural oils and slough off.
In acne patients, those dead skin cells and oil clump
together and clog the pores and follicles trapping bacteria within the follicle,
resulting in acne.
Acne treatment is a lifestyle change and should include:
- Washing your face once or twice a day with a medical
grade mild cleanser or a medicated cleanser.
- Consulting a dermatologist or skin care specialist about
what skin care products and make-ups are right for your skin.
- Prescription topical creams, gels, or lotions with
vitamin A acid-like drugs, benzoyl peroxide, or antibiotics can help unblock
the pores and reduce bacteria.
- Microdermabrasion or chemical peels, which may help
remove the upper layers of the skin to unblock the pores and follicles and
stimulate new skin growth.
- Oral antibiotics, which are often prescribed in
conjunction with topical treatments to decrease bacteria and improve outcomes.
- Changing birth control pills, if the acne is hormonal
- Laser skin resurfacing by a dermatologist, which can
treat acne scaring.
Although referred to as ‘adult acne,’ rosacea often starts as
an exaggerated flushing response to hot drinks, spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine,
and sunlight. This flushing can cause an appearance of permanent vessels on the
face (telangectasias). Some people also develop ‘pimples’ on a background of
flushing, and a small number (primarily men) develop overgrowth of the tissues
of the nose (rhinophyma).
Rosacea is an extremely common condition in the United
States, affecting primarily Caucasians of Northern European ancestry. Its onset is usually in early to middle adulthood.
- There are many effective treatments for rosacea, depending on
the stage and severity of your condition.
- For those with primarily flushing, avoiding things
that trigger episodes is the first line of defense. There are also topical
treatments commonly used in this stage of the disease.
- For those with severe ‘pimple’ outbreaks, a course of
an oral antibiotic, typically a tetracycline, is used. The antibiotic is often
continued for several months.
- In the treatment of rhinophyma, prevention is key,
which helps avoid complications. If rhinophyma has already developed, there are
procedures for paring down the skin on the nose, typically performed by a
- Laser removal of dilated vessels on the nose and face
(telangectasias) due to rosacea is also an effective treatment. The procedure
is fast, results are seen immediately in many cases, and patients are typically
very pleased with the results. If laser treatment is not for you, covering
these vessels can be accomplished using a makeup with a green base.