Acne & Acne Scarring Newport Beach
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Although it’s common, it is often misunderstood and dismissed as a condition of no consequence that teens with “grow out of.” Myths about acne are as common as the condition itself and often lead to a delay in successful treatment.
Many people think that acne is just pimples. But a person who has acne can have blackheads, whiteheads, pink papules, pustules, cysts, or nodules. Furthermore, without treatment, dark spots and permanent scars can appear on the skin as acne clears. Not only can patients suffer physical damage from their acne, but they can also suffer emotional trauma from having to deal with the acne on their face while trying to participate in their normal daily activities.
Most people who have acne are teenagers or young adults, but acne can occur at any age. Newborn babies can get acne. Men and women get acne. A growing number of women have acne in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Dermatologists are not sure why this is happening. But they understand that adult acne can be particularly frustrating.
Acne is a multi-factorial disease, meaning there are many contributing factors, including genetics, hormones, medications, diet stress. However, although all these things may contribute to acne, the four main factors cause acne are:
- Oil production
- Dead skin cells
- Clogged pores
Acne typically appears on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. These areas of skin have the most oil glands. Acne occurs when hair follicles (pores) become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. This creates an environment where bacteria can thrive. With loads of bacteria inside, the pore becomes inflamed (red and swollen). If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, an acne cyst or nodule appears.
Today, there are many effective acne treatments. This does not mean that every acne treatment works for everyone who has acne. But it does mean that virtually every case of acne can be controlled. Because acne has many causes, often more than one prescription is necessary to control the disease. Some help kill the bacteria, others work on reducing the oil, clogged pores, and inflammation. Some oral medications for women help regulate hormone levels and their effects on the skin. No acne treatment works overnight. Most take 2-3 months to reach their maximum potential so patience and persistence are important. Furthermore, most treatments are aimed at preventing new acne. Therefore, once acne clears, you must continue using the treatment to prevent further breakouts.
Those with mild acne may be able to control their acne with over-the-counter or prescription topicals (creams and gels). Those with more extensive acne or deep, painful inflammatory lesions may require oral medications to control their acne. Your dermatologist may also reat your acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These include laser or light therapies, chemical peels, and acne surgery (or extractions).
Waiting for acne to clear on its own can be frustrating. Without treatment, acne can cause permanent scars, low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. To avoid these possible outcomes, dermatologists recommend that people treat acne. However, if your acne has already progressed to form scars, there are still options available to make the scars more cosmetically pleasing once your acne is controlled. These treatments include lasers, fillers, subscision, excision, chemical peels, microneedling, and injections. Your dermatologist will evaluate the type of scarring your have and recommend the treatment that is best for you and your skin type.