David Levine, MD
Judith Silverstein, MD
Michael Fisher, MD, PhD
Martin Weil, MD
Kenneth Ellner, MD
Kevin Berman, MD, PhD
Tamu T. Brown, MD

 

Barbra Rosing PA-C
Norma Gordon PA-C
Alexandria Schuetz PA-C
Rebecca Myles, PA-C
Laura Browning, PA-C
Jenny Dickson, PA-C

 

Dealing With Acne

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

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.

Treatment

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 is a topical that  helps unplug the blocked-up material in whiteheads/blackheads. It has become a mainstay in the treatment of acne.
  • Isotretinoin - an oral medication indicated for treatment of the most severe forms of acne when other treatments fail.  This powerful medication requires careful evaluation and monitoring of patients.

 

Want more informatin about acne treatments from Atlanta Center For Dermatological Dieseases? Call our Sandy Springs, GA office at (404) 252-4333 to learn more. We also have offices in Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming. 

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