Acne – more than just a teenager’s condition
Do you have a child with acne or maybe even have it yourself? Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States with nearly 85% of people having experienced acne at some point in their lives, regardless of race or ethnicity. While acne is known as a condition teenagers have, it is not restricted to any age group, with adults of nearly every age affected. The good news is that acne treatments are highly effective, and today virtually every case of acne can be resolved.
Acne is caused by four different activities in the skin with each person having a different combination of the four actions:
- Excessive amounts of oil produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin
- Rapid production of bacteria
- Skin cells shedding too quickly
- Increased inflammation within the skin
Acne affects young men and young women about equally, but there are some differences. Young men are more likely to have more severe, longer lasting forms of acne and young women are more likely to have intermittent acne due to hormonal changes associated with their menstrual cycle and acne caused by cosmetics. For a treatment to work, it must interfere with what is causing the acne. This is where your dermatologist can help. While there are many over-the-counter remedies for acne, if your acne is still running its course despite your efforts, it is probably time to see a dermatologist who has many more options for treating acne.
What to expect from your dermatologist
While virtually every case of acne can be resolved, resolution takes time because existing blemishes must heal on their own and sometimes it takes a month or more before a medication begins working. An additional factor to accept is that control of acne is an ongoing process. Once acne begins, it usually affects a person for five to 10 years, so clearing acne is just one step in the process. Ongoing treatment is necessary to stay clear.
Your treatment options
All acne treatments work by preventing new acne breakouts. Some work from the inside out and others work from the outside in. Many times, your dermatologist will want to attack the acne in a combination of ways, depending on the type of acne you have. Treatments include:
- Topical creams, gels, or lotions
- Pills – antibiotics and other medications taken by mouth
- Microdermabrasion (removes upper layers of the skin)
- Photodynamic therapy – blue wavelength light
- Light chemical peels
- Injections of corticosteroids for large red bumps
- Laser treatments