Acne Specialist Questions and Answers
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Acne is a common condition affecting nearly everyone at some point in time. Acne runs rampant during puberty, when hormone levels are significantly changing the body. However, acne can appear at any point in an adult’s life. Practicing good hygiene is a good start, but not always a cure all. If you are struggling with acne, don’t hesitate to call us today!
What causes acne?
The causes of acne, even if you’re eating a poor diet and are stressed out to the max, still comes down to three main things: excess oil, acne-causing bacteria, and inflammation. It’s these factors combined together that create the perfect storm that is a pimple. Here’s an in-depth look at how each of these acne causes contribute to your breakouts:
Excess Oil — We’re talking about sebum, the oily substance pumped out by your sebaceous glands. Some people just make more of it than others. If you have oily skin, you can probably thank your parents since it can be genetic. Some people experience an increase in sebum production when they experience a change or fluctuation in hormone levels—that’s one of the reasons teens get acne, why you may get a blemish along with your monthly cycle even as an adult, or see zits even when you’re post-menopausal. All that sebum can get trapped inside a pore, contributing to the formation of a pimple. Plus, sebum makes for a nice environment for pimple-causing bacteria to grow. Many times, people try to combat oily skin with alcohol-based products, but those only dry out the skin, which as we mentioned earlier, can cause more sebum production (and acne) in the long run.
Acne-Causing Bacteria — The bad bacteria that causes acne is called P.acnes (short for Propionibacterium acnes). It tends to grow on the inside of your pores and feeds off of the overproduction of sebum that’s also pooling in those same pores. You need sebum in order to have P.acnes. An overgrowth of P.acnes clogs the pores and triggers an inflammatory response, which brings us to the third component of acne.
Inflammation — When your pores are clogged with oil and bacteria, as well as dead skin cells and other debris, an inflammatory response is set off within the pore in the form of swelling. This may bring white heads, blackheads, or red, angry cyst-like bumps to the surface.
How long does acne last?
It is not clear exactly how long acne lasts for each person. Most teens find that their acne improves as they get older, and almost disappears by the time they reach their twenties. Others have acne well into their adult years.
The good news is that acne is treatable, and breakouts are often preventable. Prevention involves taking good care of the skin. To prevent acne, one should wash their face twice a day (and after building up a sweat) with a mild soap and lukewarm water. Make sure you wash gently and not too often; some people scrub too hard in an attempt to get rid of acne. This can actually irritate the skin and make acne worse.
You should use oil-free sunscreen, moisturizers, and makeup should be noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic. Hair should be shampooed daily and hair styling products should be kept away from the face. You should try not to touch or pick at acne and should avoid wearing tight-fitting hats or clothing over the acne-affected area.
If good hygiene doesn’t help with breakouts, you can try an over-the-counter acne cream or gel. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and not use it more than recommended.
If your acne still doesn’t improve after several weeks, you may need some extra help from the family doctor or a dermatologist. A doctor can recommend the best treatment and also give lots of useful tips on dealing with acne.
How do dermatologists treat acne?
The American Academy of Dermatology says your dermatologist may recommend:
- Treatments applicable to your skin, such as prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, retinoids or antibiotics
- Oral medications like antibiotics or birth control pills
- Laser treatments (or other light therapies), chemical peels or drainage and extraction procedures
If you or someone you know is experiencing acne or a breakout, we can help! At Dr. Shima Hadidchi MD Family Practice, we have certified specialists to help you treat your acne and clear your skin! Contact our office today to get in touch with a specialist. To book an appointment, call us or visit us online! Serving patients from Victorville, CA. Apple Valley, CA. Adelanto, CA. Hesperia, CA. Crestline, CA. Highland, CA. Barstow, CA. High Desert Area.