ACNE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. May people think that acne is just pimples. But a person who has acne can have any of these: blemishes, blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules (what many people call pimples), cysts and/or nodules.
WHO GETS IT AND CAUSES
If you have a bad case of acne, you may feel that you are the only one. About 40 to 50 million Americans have had acne at one time. Most people who have it are teenagers or young adults, but acne can occur at any age. Newborn babies, men and women can get acne. Some women get it when they reach middle age. Acne appears when a pore in the skin clogs. This clog begins with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells rise to the surface of the pore, and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make a lot of sebum (see-bum), 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 in our skin can also get inside the clogged pore. Inside the pore, the bacteria have a perfect environment for multiplying very quickly. With loads of bacteria inside, the pore becomes inflamed (red and swollen). If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, an acne cyst or nodule appears
DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT AND OUTCOME
To diagnose acne, Dr. Feinstein will first examine your skin to make sure you have acne. Other skin conditions can look like it. If you have acne, the dermatologist will grade the severity. Grade 1 is mild where as Grade 4 is severe. Dr. Feinstein will also note what type or types of acne appear on your skin.
Today, there are many effective acne treatments. This does not mean that every acne treatment works for everyone who has acne. But it does not mean that virtually every case of acne can be controlled. Most acne treatments are applied to the skin. Dr. Feinstein may call this topical treatment. There are many topical acne treatments. Some topical treatments help kill the bacteria. Others work on reducing the oil. The topical medication may contain a retinoid, a prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics or even salicylic acid. Dr. Feinstein will work with you to determine exactly what you need. Medicine that works throughout the body may be necessary to treat acne cysts and nodules. Dr. Feinstein may prescribe one or more of these:
- Antibiotics (helps to kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation)
- Birth control pills and other medicine that works on hormones (can be helpful for women)
- Isotretinoin (the only treatment that works on all causes of acne)
Dr. Feinstein may treat your acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These treatments include:
- Laser and other light therapies: These devices reduce the acne bacteria. Dr. Feinstein can determine whether this type of treatment can be helpful
- Chemical peels: You cannot buy the chemical peels that are used in dermatologists’ offices. Dermatologists use chemical peels to treat two types of acne: blackheads and papules.
- Kenalog: This is a type of corticosteroid that helps to reduce redness, swelling and inflammation.
- Acne removal: Dr. Feinstein may perform a procedure called “drainage and extraction” to remove a large acne cyst. This procedure helps when the cyst does not respond to medicine. It also helps ease the pain and the chance that the cyst will leave a scar. If you absolutely have to get rid of a cyst quickly, Dr. Feinstein may inject the cyst with medicine.
Waiting for acne to clear on its own can be frustrating. Without treatment, acne can cause permanent scars, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. To avoid these possible outcomes, Dr. Feinstein recommends treating your acne. When the skin clears, treatment should continue. Treatment prevents new breakouts. Dr. Feinstein can tell you when you no longer need to treat acne to prevent future breakouts.
TIPS FOR MANAGING
Wash your face twice a day and after sweating. Use your fingertips to apply a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser, be gentle with your skin. Scrubbing your skin can make acne worse. Rinse with lukewarm water, shampoo regularly, let your skin heal naturally, keep your hands off of your face and stay out of the sun and tanning beds.
Acne is the most frequent skin condition in the United States. It is characterized by pimples that appear on the face, back and chest. Every year, about 80% of adolescents have some form of acne and about 5% of adults experience acne.
Acne is made up of two types of blemishes:
- Whiteheads/Blackheads, also known as comedones, are non-inflammatory and appear more on the face and shoulders. As long as they remain uninfected, they are unlikely to lead to scarring.
- Red Pustules or Papules are inflamed pores that fill with pus. These can lead to scarring.
In normal skin, oil glands under the skin, known as sebaceous glands, produce an oily substance called sebum. The sebum moves from the bottom to the top of each hair follicle and then spills out onto the surface of the skin, taking with it sloughed-off skin cells. With acne, the structure through which the sebum flows gets plugged up. This blockage traps sebum and sloughed-off cells below the skin, preventing them from being released onto the skinâs surface. If the poreâs opening is fully blocked, this produces a whitehead. If the poreâ€™s opening is open, this produces blackheads. When either a whitehead or blackhead becomes inflammed, they can become red pustules or papules.
It is important for patients not to pick or scratch at individual lesions because it can make them inflamed and can lead to long-term scarring.