Acne treatment in Westover, AR

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About acne

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Acne is a skin condition that occurs when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores causing pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads. It can occur in people of all ages but is most common during puberty, when sebaceous glands activate, producing oil.

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans each year. Though it is not dangerous, it can be uncomfortable and may leave scars.

Treatment Options
Aside from prescription medication, there are a number of treatment options used for acne. During your appointment, talk to your provider about the treatment plan that's best for you.
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Acne treatment

What is acne?

Acne is the common skin condition in the United States, experienced by about 85% of people between the ages of 12-24, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Acne is a skin condition that occurs when the pores on the surface of the skin become clogged by hair follicles, oily skin (also known as sebum), bacteria, and dead skin cells. Blockage of the skin’s pores results in blackheads, whiteheads, cysts and pimples. Acne may be a persistent condition that can scar the skin on the face, chest, forehead, and shoulders.

If you are experiencing persistent acne, or severe acne, you may want to seek medical attention.

What causes acne?

Acne is a skin condition that is occurs when the pores on the surface of the skin become clogged by hair follicles, oily skin, bacteria, and dead skin cells.

Hair follicles in the skin are connected to oil glands (sebaceous glands) that produce oil on the skin called sebum. When androgen hormones become active during puberty, these follicles can become sensitive to excess sebum and bacteria on the skin. As oil builds up in the pores of the skin, they become infected and inflamed. This inflammation eventually becomes a pimple, a whitehead (a closed pore), a blackhead (an open pore), or a pimple (pustule with pus at the tip).

Some common acne triggers/ irritants include:

  • Hormonal changes: Fluctuating levels of the androgen hormone during puberty or around a woman’s period can cause excess sebum production, leading to clogged pores.
  • Medications: Certain medications such as corticosteroids, birth control pills, or testosterone can cause hormonal change and can lead to clogged pores.
  • Makeup or personal care products: Some cosmetic products and oily skin care products (like oily lotion, pomade, and face cream) can cause pores to clog. Most products are now tested to avoid clogging pores, and carry the label non-comedogenic.
  • Air pollution or weather: Heavy polluted air, or humid air can cause excess sweat and oil build up on the skin, which can lead to clogged pores.
  • Clothing: Clothing pressed tight against the skin of the torso, legs, or face can cause irritation, which leads to clogged pores.

What are the different types of acne?

Acne is a broad term to describe the skin condition that is caused by clogged pores on the surface of the skin. However, acne can vary in form and severity. There are a number of different types of acne conditions, including:

  • Blackheads: Blackheads are open, but clogged pores. Dead skin and sebum collect in the pore, causing a small red bump, and air exposure causes the open pore to discolor.
  • Whiteheads: Whiteheads are similar to blackheads, except the pore is closed to the air, causing a white tip.
  • Papules: Papules are small, red bumps caused by oil and dead skin cells clogging pores on the surface of the skin.
  • Pustules (or pimples): Pimples are small red bumps like papules, but are filled with pus. The pus in a pimple causes a small white tip to form on the bump.
  • Nodules: Nodules are firm, skin colored bumps that live deep under the skin. These bumps can be painful and difficult to treat with over-the-counter medication.
  • Cysts: Cystic acne describes large, inflamed, and painful lesions that are found deep beneath the skin. Cystic acne is softer than nodules, due to the infections being filled with pus. These bumps can burst, causing further infection to the skin surrounding the cyst. Cysts are caused by clogged material deep within the pore of the skin. This type of acne can be very difficult to treat, and can result in scarring of the skin, if improperly treated.

Most acne can be treated with self-care remedies and over-the-counter acne medications. However, more severe forms of acne such as nodules and cysts may require additional treatment from a dermatologist or pediatric dermatologist.

What are common ways to treat acne?

Most mild acne can be treated at home with simple hygiene plans, along with non-prescription over-the-counter medication. Some examples of these self-care steps include:

  • Cleaning skin: Cleaning your skin once or twice a day with a mild, soap (such as facial cleanser with salicylic acid) can help unclog pores and remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.
  • Leave skin alone: Picking at, and popping, pimples can cause the infection to spread around the surface of the skin. Dermatologists recommend fighting the urge to pop pimples, while using medication to clean the skin.
  • Using non-comedogenic makeup: Heavy makeup can clog pores and lead to infection in the pores of the skin. Be sure, when purchasing makeup products, to check if the product is non-comedogenic. This means that the product has been specially formulated to not clog pores.
  • Shampoo hair: Shampooing regularly can help keep hair follicles clean, while keeping sebum produced by the scalp away from your face and hairline. -Use over-the-counter acne medications: Products containing salicylic acid can remove dirt and oil from the skin, while clearing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Additionally, topical acne medications that contain benzoyl peroxide can help kill harmful bacteria on the skin while drying out the oil from existing pimples.
  • Moisturize: Overly dry skin can cause the body to produce excess sebum, making the skin more oily than usual. Using moisturizer daily can help the condition of the skin, while keeping sebum production low. While using moisturizer may seem counterintuitive with oily skin, regular use can lead to lower levels of sebum production and clogged pores.

Most mild acne can be treated with self-care remedies and over-the-counter medications. Regular cleansing, moisturizing, and topical creams can help unclog pores while clearing the skin of bacteria and dead skin cells. Additionally, dermatologists recommend keeping your hands away from your face, and not popping or picking at pimples. This can cause bacteria and to spread.

If you are experiencing persistent, painful, or severe acne, you may want to seek medical advice. Your primary care physician can refer you to prescription medication, or to a dermatologist, for further treatment.

How can dermatologists help severe acne?

In most mild cases, acne can be treated with self-care steps and over-the-counter acne medications. Washing your face regularly, moisturizing, and keeping your hands away from your face can help reduce acne and keep pores from clogging. However, if acne is persistent, painful, or severe, you may want to speak with a skin care professional, such as a dermatologist, for help with treating acne. Dermatologists can prescribe medication that may help reduce symptoms and prevent damage to the skin. Some examples of acne treatment that a dermatologist can provide include:

  • Topical retinoids: Retinoids are compounds derived from vitamin A, which come in creams, gels and lotions. Retinoid medications helps rapidly exfoliate the skin and prevents the clogging of hair follicles. Retinoids are often mild and available as an over-the-counter medication. Tretinoin is a synthetic vitamin A compound, usually a topical cream or gel, that unclogs skin in the same way retinoid medication will. However, tretinoin is stronger and might be irritating to sensitive skin. Isotretinoin, is an oral medication made of the synthetic vitamin A compound, that can be used to treat severe acne. Tretinoin and isotretinoin are only available through prescription, and cannot be purchased as an over-the-counter medication.

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed by your skin care provider to help treat inflammatory acne such as cysts, pustules, and nodules. These medications fight acne causing bacteria in the skin and in the body. Antibiotic acne medications are either topical (gels/ creams such as clindamycin or erythromycin) or oral (pills/ liquids such as minocycline or doxycycline). Antibiotics are intended for short-term use and may result in antibiotic resistance if used over too long a period of time.

  • Steroid injection: Your skin care provider may recommend a cortisone steroid injection for severe cystic acne. Cortisone steroids can help reduce inflammation and shrink the size of a painful cyst. The doctor performing this procedure will inject the steroid directly into the cyst, and you may experience skin thinning and discoloration where the shot was administered. However, cortisone steroid injections can help rapidly improve the skin’s condition and lessen pain associated with severe cystic acne.

Sometimes over-the-counter medication and self-care just won’t do the trick with severe acne. If you are experiencing persistent breakouts, you may want to speak with a skin care provider or dermatologist to determine if prescription medication might be right for you.

Can acne scar my face?

Severe acne breakouts can lead to acne scars on the face and body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne scars can become more pronounced with age as the body loses collagen. This can make scarring from acne breakouts stubborn and hard to get rid of. The AAD recommends clearing skin of acne breakouts prior to undergoing treatment for acne scars.

Some remedies for acne scars include:

  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays, while also helping to limit the contrast between scarred skin and unscarred skin. Exposure to the sun can cause scarring to darken, highlighting acne scars and making them more noticeable. Applying sunscreen before going outside, even when it’s cloudy, can help skin stay even and reduce the discoloration of scarring.

  • Medication: Over-the-counter acne medications such as salicylic acid or azelaic acid can help keep pores clear and reduce swelling. These products can help keep the skin around the acne scars clean and healthy, while helping to minimize discoloration or inflammation from scarring.

  • Soft tissue filler: Injections of collagen or fat can help plump up and fill the skin under scars to make it appear smoother. Filler results are only temporary, so multiple injections are needed to maintain the effect of smoother skin.

  • Laser resurfacing: Laser resurfacing removes the top layer of the skin, clearing blemishes and imperfections on the surface of the skin such as acne scars. Laser resurfacing requires the patient to wear bandages over the treated area, and is not as effective for patients with darker skin.

  • Chemical Peels: Skin care providers can use a strong chemical solution to peel away the top layer of the skin to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Mild and medium chemicals peels can be purchased over-the-counter and used at home, but severe scarring may require an in-office peel to properly even the skin.

Acne scars can be stubborn and difficult to get rid of. Connect with a skin care provider on Sesame today for an in-person or video consultation to determine what acne scar treatment might be right for you. 15 minute skin consultations start at just $35.

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