What is Acne?
If you suffer from acne, you are not alone. According to dermatologists, acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States and is no stranger to the state of Colorado or Parker, affecting nearly 85% of all people at some point in their lives. It is a very common skin condition around puberty, but adults can develop acne as well. Acne appears in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and lumps under the skin called nodules and can occur on dry, combination and oily skin alike. It occurs when pores in the skin become clogged or through bacterial inflammation. Approximately 20% of acne cases are considered severe, leading to scarring.
See how we can treat acne scars.
What Causes Acne?
Acne is related to changes of the pilosebaceous unit — the hair follicle and oil gland – but there is no one single cause. The cause of acne is multifactorial and can include:
- Clogged skin pores from dirt, oil and dead skin cells
- Hormonal changes
- Genetic factors
- Excess oil production by the skin’s oil glands
- Environmental factors such as humidity or pollution
- Inflammation caused by the acne-causing bacteria Proprionibacterium acnes
Acne breakouts appear most commonly on the face but can also appear on the chest, shoulders, upper arms, and back.
Adult Female Acne & Acne in Pregnancy
While adult acne can happen to anyone, adult female acne often has a hormonal component. It may worsen just prior to or during the start of the menstrual cycle. Often, the adult female hormonal acne localizes to the lower half of the face, jawline, and neck. The acne is often painful, red, cystic, and persists for weeks to months at a time. Both spironolactone and oral (birth control) contraceptive therapy can be used in conjunction with traditional acne treatment in cases of adult female hormonal acne. Acne in pregnancy can be safely treated with a combination of topical antibiotic called erythromycin, azelaic acid (Finacea), glycolic acid, and blue light treatment.
Types of Acne
There are three distinct types of acne, ranging from mild to severe:
- Comedonal acne is the mildest form of acne and is predominated by white heads (closed comedones) and blackheads (open comedones).
- Inflammatory acne is a moderately severe form of acne that consists of pink bumps (papules), and pustules (pink bumps with white pus).
- Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne and results in large, painful, swollen, deep red bumps that may heal with scarring. Our cosmetic dermatology experts offer acne scar treatment and skin rejuvenation services, including laser treatment and scar revision, for any existing scars or red or brown spots.
Treatments for Acne in Parker, CO
Treating severe acne on your own can be challenging since facial cleansers and spot treatments are most often not enough. Elevated Dermatology has a multitude of acne treatment options that cater to your unique skin type. Our board-certified dermatologists treat acne with an appropriately aggressive treatment that is needed to control stubborn acne. To get rid of acne, a combination treatment is usually necessary. This may consist of topical medication such as antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids (vitamin A derivatives). Oral antibiotics may be required for a short period of time to control inflammatory acne. Severe cases may require oral medications such as the retinoid called isotretinoin (formerly the brand name Accutane), which requires monthly monitoring and blood tests.
Other options for treating acne include non-invasive medical treatments such as laser and light therapy and chemical peels. Photodynamic therapy shrinks oil glands, decreases inflammation, kills Propionibacterium acnes (acne-causing bacteria), and improves discoloration from old acne lesions. In addition to treating acne and acne scars, we can also perform lesion removal.
Additional treatments for acne, such as BBL treatments and salicylic acid peels, can lessen the appearance of pigmentation. Acne scarring can be addressed once active acne is under control. After the best treatment option is determined, proper maintenance with the right skincare products is crucial.
Some forms of skin cancer may look like acne, so it’s also vital to receive skin cancer screening for any unusual new growths on your skin. Learn about our skin cancer treatment options. Get started on your treatment with one of our acne specialist today!