Acne is a common skin condition that can occur at any age of life but is most common during the teen years. By some estimates, 25% of adults have acne.
What Causes Acne? The causes of acne are not completely known. Some factors may include heredity, hormonal fluctuations (such as normal teenage hormone fluctuations and pregnancy changes,) certain types of medications, and facial contact with oil-based makeup. Propionibacterium is also thought to play an important role in the development of acne. Most studies do not link diet to acne, but some studies show a higher rate of acne can occur with a high dairy based diet.
What Are Acne Treatment Options?
Treatment of acne has to be individualized based on the type of acne lesions, severity of the acne, sensitivity of skin, and a patient’s lifestyle.
- Topical cleanser
- Topical medications
- Oral medications
- A combination of medications
Topical retinoids work by unplugging or preventing the formation of acne comedones. Topical antibiotics work by reducing bacteria on the skin where as other work by removing oil and exfoliating skin. Oral antibiotics work by reducing the production of harmful bacteria, and reducing inflammation, which in turn allows less acne to develop. Isotretinoin is considered to be the most potent oral acne medication available. This medication requires close monitoring due to potentially serious side effects and should be taken only by patients who can derive the most benefit with the fewest side effects. Some patients also choose chemical peels.
Cosmetic acne treatments include:
These cosmetic treatments can be effective in reducing current acne, removing dead skin, and discouraging new acne from forming. The dermatologist treating the acne will develop a treatment plan based upon the suspected cause, the degree of the breakout, and any conditions that contributed to the acne. Acne scars may be treated with laser procedures.