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Acne

 

shutterstock_124532071Acne is the most common skin disease in the U.S.

That’s because the majority of adolescents have acne, and almost half of patients who seek medical help for acne are over the age of 20.  Some people don’t experience their first bouts with acne until their 30s or 40s.

Acne begins with blocked follicles in your skin. Many different types of blemishes are part of the disease:  whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts and red bumps on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms.

Causes of Acne

Acne develops on the skin when the pores become clogged, which may occur as a result of an overproduction of oil, a buildup of bacteria or shedding of dead skin cells that irritate the pores and hair follicles. When these substances build up in the hair follicle, they form a soft plug that forces the follicle wall to bulge and protrude from the skin, causing a lesion to develop.

The cause of excess oil production is unknown but is believed to be caused by a combination of several factors, including hormones, bacteria, heredity and certain medications. Acne can cause permanent scarring and damaging emotional effects for patients of any age. Patients should seek dermatologic treatment for acne if symptoms do not respond to over-the-counter treatment methods or scarring develops as the acne clears.

Treatment of Acne

There are several effective treatment methods available to help improve the appearance of the skin and prevent future breakouts from occurring.

Often treatments reduce oil production and increase the speed of skin cell turnover to prevent new blemishes from developing and to also reduce inflammation. Dr. Golomb will use her years of experience to recommend the best treatment regimen for you.  A protocol may include the combination of a topical treatment, antibiotics, isotretinoin or oral contraceptives in women or girls.

A chemical peel or blue light therapy can jump-start improvement or improve discoloration. A dilute cortisone injection can be injected directly into cystic or inflammatory lesions to reduce redness and swelling, resulting in flattening often in less than 24 hours.  Isotretinoin may be prescribed for severe cases of acne that do not respond to other treatment methods. Isotretinoin can take up to eight weeks before results are visible, and acne may get worse before getting better.  The total course of treatment with Isotretinoin is generally four to five months.

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