What is acne?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Your skin has little holes called pores, which can become blocked by oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, and dirt. When this occurs, you may develop a pimple. Acne usually appears on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. Acne is most common among teenagers, affecting over 70% of individuals. Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. Although acne isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can be painful, particularly when it’s severe.
What causes acne?
Acne appears when a pore in our skin clogs. This clog begins with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells rise to surface of the pore, and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make lots of sebum (oil that keeps our skin from drying out), the dead skin cells can stick together inside the pore. Instead of rising to the surface, the cells become trapped inside the pore. Sometimes bacteria that live on our skin, p. acnes, also get inside the clogged pore. Inside the pore, the bacteria have a perfect environment for multiplying very quickly. When lots of bacteria get inside the pore, it becomes inflamed, red, and swollen. If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, an acne cyst or nodule appears. Experts know that there are many factors that can contribute to acne, but there are certain factors might cause it to become worse at certain times, including:
- The hormone increase in teenage years
- Hormone changes during pregnancy
- Starting or stopping birth control pills
- Heredity (if your parents had acne, you might get it, too)
- Some types of medicine
- Greasy makeups
Who gets acne?
Anyone can get acne. If you have a bad case of acne, you may feel like you are the only one, but the truth is that many people have acne, with roughly 40 to 50 million Americans having acne at any one time.
Most people who have acne are teens or young adults, occurring in both women and men. However, acne can occur at any age. Some women get acne when they reach middle age. In addition, newborn babies and children can also get acne.
Are there different types of acne?
Yes, there are many types of acne. The most common types are:
- Comedonal: blackheads and whiteheads.
- Inflammatory: often become red, swollen and painful and there may be larger pus-filled acne bumps.
- Cystic: deep, painful acne bumps that may be widespread. This type of acne is especially prone to permanent scarring.
- Hormonal: acne that becomes worse around a woman’s menstrual cycle and may be located along the jawline and chin.
How can you treat your acne?
Almost every case of acne can be successfully treated, no matter how mild or severe. The providers at Clear Dermatology & Aesthetics Center are experts in treating acne and can help treat your existing acne, prevent new breakouts from forming, and reduce your chance of developing scars. While each case of acne is different, and while each person responds differently to medications, each acne treatment plan is individualized to best fit your lifestyle and desired outcome. Your routine may include over the counter medications, prescription topical medications, prescription oral medications, chemical peels, laser treatments, or a combination of various treatments. No matter what, early treatment is the best approach, so that you can prevent scarring and discoloration.