Treatments that help keep your skin looking and feeling healthy
Acommon stumbling block to healthy looking skin, and something that affects almost everyone at some point in their life: acne. Contrary to popular belief, acne isn’t just the plight of pubescent teenagers; “Infantile acne” can occur in babies as a result of exposure to mom’s hormones in utero. This usually resolves, but can sometimes be severe enough to cause scarring, and may warrant treatment.
Teenage acne, or “acne vulgaris,” can range in severity from mild to very severe. And finally, acne is a common problem for adults, especially women aged 20-50. Read on for a detailed look into what causes acne, and what you can do to keep your skin healthy.
What is Acne?
Acne begins when a pore (hair follicle opening) becomes plugged. This is referred to as a “comedone.” There two types of comedones: blackheads and whiteheads. A “plug” at the surface of the skin turns black from exposure to oxygen and is referred to as a blackhead. If the plug is deeper down, a whitehead forms due to build-up of dead skin and oil. Sometimes, a clogged pore fills with too much oil or becomes home to a bacteria called p. acnes. When this happens, the pore is likely to burst and release oil and bacteria into the surrounding skin, creating a pimple. When pimples are severe and lead to scarring, we refer to it as “cystic” acne. The treatment for acne is thus multifaceted, targeting both the clogged pore and bacteria.
The treatment for clogged pores includes medications to dissolve the “plug” (such as salicylic acid) and medications that prevent pores from becoming clogged in the first place. These medications belong to a class called “retinoids,” including tretinoin (Retin-A), adapalene (Differin), and tazarotene (Tazorac). These are available by prescription only. Salicylic acid products are available over-the-counter as cleansers, astringents and lotions. All acne treatments work best when used regularly and should be applied to the entire acne-prone area.
Pimples and cystic acne tend to require antibacterial treatment in addition to topical retinoids. Benzoyl peroxide-containing products are available in stores for mild cases. Oral antibiotics may be needed for moderate to severe acne, or when scarring is present. In very severe cases, an oral retinoid called isotretinoin (formerly known as Accutane) can be prescribed by a dermatologist.
Adult acne affects females more frequently than males and is often related to hormone fluctuations. This type of acne most frequently affects the jawline, chin and back. There are several hormone-directed treatments available in addition to the medications already discussed.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to live with acne. There are numerous over-the-counter and prescription treatments available to help keep your skin healthy. Ask your doctor or dermatologist which regimen is best for you.
To learn more, call 844-KMC-DERM or visit our website at KMCDERMATOLOGY.com.
Jim Fackrell, PA-C
Legends, Leawood, Shawnee
Jim is a member of the Society of Dermatology and Physician Assistants with over 15 years of experience in Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery. He served as senior medic for the US Army Special Forces where he trained to become a Physician Assistant. Jim has earned many accolades and recognition throughout his career. He has an excellent bedside manner with a genuine passion for his patients. A knowledgeable clinician, Jim has extensive experience and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of complex dermatologic conditions, including skin cancer and psoriasis. With an excellent eye for aesthetic skin rejuvenation, Jim has a gentle and natural approach to injectibles and laser procedures. His surgical technique benefits from his aesthetic skills.
Shawnee: 6333 Long Ave. Ste. 360
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with locations in Topeka, Lawrence, and Manhattan