Acne Treatment Options
Acne is the most frequent skin condition in the United States. It is characterized by pimples that appear on the face, back and chest. Every year, about 80% of adolescents have some form of acne and about 5% of adults experience acne.
Acne is made up of two types of blemishes:
- Whiteheads/Blackheads, also known as comedones, are non-inflammatory and appear more on the face and shoulders. As long as they remain uninfected, they are unlikely to lead to scarring.
- Red Pustules or Papules are inflamed pores that fill with pus. These can lead to scarring.
Causes of Acne
In normal skin, oil glands under the skin, known as sebaceous glands, produce an oily substance called sebum. The sebum moves from the bottom to the top of each hair follicle and then spills out onto the surface of the skin, taking with it sloughed-off skin cells. With acne, the structure through which the sebum flows gets plugged up. This blockage traps sebum and sloughed-off cells below the skin, preventing them from being released onto the skin’s surface. If the pore’s opening is fully blocked, this produces a whitehead. If the pore’s opening is open, this produces blackheads. When either a whitehead or blackhead becomes inflammed, they can become red pustules or papules.
It is important for patients not to pick or scratch at individual lesions because it can make them inflamed and can lead to long-term scarring.
Treating acne is a relatively slow process; there is no overnight remedy. Some treatments include:
- Benzoyl Peroxide — Used in mild cases of acne, benzoyl peroxide reduces the blockages in the hair follicles.
- Oral and Topical Antibiotics — Used to treat any infection in the pores.
- Hormonal Treatments — Can be used for adult women with hormonally induced acne.
- Tretinoin — A derivative of Vitamin A, tretinoin helps unplug the blocked-up material in whiteheads/blackheads. It has become a mainstay in the treatment of acne.
- Extraction — Removal of whiteheads and blackheads using a small metal instrument that is centered on the comedone and pushed down, extruding the blocked pore.
ou finally got rid of your acne, but your scars are an unpleasant reminder of the experience. Fortunately, you don't have to live with acne scars. Your Charleston, SC dermatologists offer several popular dermatology treatments can help forget you ever had acne.
- Dermal fillers: Dermal fillers are a good choice if you have an indented acne scar. Fillers work by plumping up the skin, making the scar less noticeable. You may require a few treatments, particularly if your scar is very deep. Fillers must usually be reinjected every few years.
- Chemical peels: Chemical peels are also effective in removing scars in the top layers of the skin. You'll be given an anesthetic before treatment and will use pain relievers for a few days post treatment.
- Punch excision: Punch excision is used to treat deep ice pick scars. Your dermatologist makes an incision in your skin, removes the scar and places a skin graft over the area. The procedure leaves behind its own scar, but that scar will be much less noticeable than the original scar.
- Laser treatment: Laser treatment improves the appearance of acne scars by stimulating collagen production and breaking up and softening scar tissue. Pain during and after the treatment is usually minimal, although the area may be red for a few days after treatment.
For more information on our Acne Treatments,
call Magnolia Dermatology in Charleston, SC at (843) 769-2100!