What is acne?
Acne is an extremely common inflammatory skin condition that causes pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and deeper cysts. It typically erupts on the face, chest, neck, back, and shoulders. Acne, which most often starts in puberty, affects about 85% of individuals between the ages of 12 and 24, although adults in their 30s and 40s often suffer from acne as well. Untreated, acne can result in permanent scarring.
What causes acne?
Acne is caused by a variety of factors, most notably: hormones, heredity, and stress. It occurs when overactive oil glands produce an excess of oil that combines with skin cells to plug pores. Plugged pores, in turn, cause bacteria to multiply, leading to skin breakouts. Sun exposure can exacerbate the condition. It dries the skin, which may initially clear up acne, but also stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. This causes acne to reoccur, and more severely than before.
What acne treatments does MDCS offer?
We offer the full gamut of acne remedies. Our physicians customize plans to each patient. Approaches used include:
- Topicals. These are typically the first-line treatment and include antibiotics, retinoids, or salicylic acid.
- Oral antibiotics. Oral antibiotics are frequently used to manage moderate to severe acne, acne that is resistant to topical treatments or covers a large surface area. Common oral antibiotics include tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, erythromycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, and azithromycin.
- Combination therapies. Oral antibiotics and topical retinoids together effectively eradicate acne for many patients.
- Isotretinoin (best known by the brand name, Accutane). This is another oral medication and is the only treatment approved severe cystic acne. Isotretinoin has been used for over 25 years and improves acne for about 85% of patients, after a four to six-month treatment course. Isotretinion can’t be prescribed to pregnant patients, and women who can become pregnant must follow strict birth control rules. The risk of a baby developing severe birth defects is high in patients taking this medication.
- Microdermabrasion. This procedure deep cleans pores, can diminish acne scars and promotes healthy-looking and feeling skin.
- Laser treatments. Laser treatments can refine skin texture and reduce the appearance of acne scars.