Acne

What causes acne?

There are three components to acne; each has its basic treatments.

The first component is a build up of skin that is treated with a class of medication called comedolytics.  These treat the white heads and black heads.  Medications in this class include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and retinoids such as differin, retin A and Tazorac.  This component is difficult to treat and requires at least a four month commitment to make improvements.

The second component is bacteria or inflammation, these are the red bumps called papules, pustules (the one with the pus bump on top), or cysts (large painful ones under the skin).  These lesions are what dermatologists call inflammatory lesions.  These are treated with the retinoids mentioned above, but usually need an additional medication such as topical benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotic, or an antibiotic pill.  Both pills and the topical medications are the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.  If there are large cysts, injections of these cysts with an anti-inflammatory medication in the office may be offered to try to avoid scarring and help the lesion resolve faster.

The third component is oil production.  This is from the oil glands located in the skin.  Oil production is determined mostly by hormones, which is why acne is usually worse in adolescence.  This is also why medications such as birth control pills may help acne in some people.  Another medications that is used to treat severe acne is isotretinoin (also referred to as Accutane).  This medication alters the oil production in skin, but there are risks and strict guidelines that must be followed if you are a candidate for this medication.

It is important to remember that acne is not a disease caused by dirt, diet, gender, or behavior.  It may worsen with stress, infection, heat, friction, sweating, poor hygiene and certain medications.  In females it may flare around the menstrual cycle.

Important Points:

Food probably plays a very little role in acne.  However, if you believe that a certain food worsens your skin then it would be best to avoid that food.

Use only “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic” products on the face.  Avoid oil containing products including coconut, cherry pit etc.

Squeezing pimples may worsen them by releasing the contents into the undersurface of the skin.

SunCoastSkin