When you were a teenager, did you look in the mirror and see nothing but pimples and zits? Did you long for adulthood so that your acne would finally clear up and you'd have beautiful skin at long last?
Next thing you know, you are 25, 30, maybe even 35 and your acne is still there, causing trouble. Although people often think of pimples and acne as a teen problem, the reality is that this common skin issue can affect adults as well.
Treating acne can also be difficult, as there are many different types and they don't always respond to the same treatment.
Although you might feel like giving up and resigning yourself to hiding away in your bedroom until your pimples clear up, there are other ways to cope. In-office treatments performed by a plastic surgeon might help you get clearer skin more quickly.
Consider this your crash course in Acne 101. You'll learn what causes this all-too-common skin problem, what types of acne are out there, and most importantly, what you can do to get your acne under control.
If you're dealing with acne, there are usually four things to blame. Acne forms when bacteria mixes with excess oil produced by the skin. The excess oil combines with dead skin cells and clogs the hair follicles in the skin, leading to the tell-tale red bumps and pimples.
Acne can be made worse by a few different factors. For example, some acne is hormonal, meaning that increased levels of androgen hormones end up triggering excess oil production. Hormones are one of the reasons why so many teenagers end up with pimples. Hormones can also explain why women can see more breakouts when they are on certain types of birth control or are pregnant.
Other factors that can contribute to acne or make it worse include certain types of medications, some foods, and high levels of stress. Although you aren't likely to break out after eating greasy foods, there might be a link between a diet that's high in simple carbohydrates or dairy products and acne breakouts.
Not all acne is created equally. Each type of acne looks slightly different from the others and often needs a slightly different type of treatment.
For example, whiteheads form when your follicles are clogged by dirt, skin cells and oil. The clogged follicle is closed and looks like a small white bump.
Blackheads are similar to whiteheads. The key difference between the two is that blackheads are open, so that the oil/skin cells/dirt inside of them oxides, turning the pimple black.
If a pimple becomes irritated or inflamed, it usually turns red and becomes known as a papule. If the pimple is filled with pus, it's called a pustule.
Acne that reaches deep into the skin is called nodular acne. It's often much bigger than your run-of-the-mill whitehead or papule and can be more challenging to treat. Nodules can also be pretty painful.
Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne. It's made up of large, deep lesions that are filled with pus.
Often, treatment for acne starts at home. You might begin by using an over-the-counter facial cleanser that contains an ingredient such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If you're not seeing results from over-the-counter products, you might want to enlist the help of a doctor.
Depending on the type of acne you are dealing with, a doctor might prescribe a topical treatment that contains an ingredient such as Retin-A. They might also prescribe an oral antibiotic to help control the bacteria in your skin.
In some cases, an exfoliating treatment might be the best course of action. One option is Blue Light Therapy. This combines an LED light with the application of aminolevulinic acid (ALA), also known as Photodynamic Therapy.
Blue Light Therapy helps to kill bacteria on the skin. When combined with ALA it stimulates the production of new healthier skin cells, so that skin looks smooth and pimples are reduced.
Another option for treating acne is to use a chemical peel to exfoliate the skin. Often, a mild peel, such as an MCA peel, is ideal for people with acne.
Dr. Haitham Masri and Dr. Fatina Masri each have more than two decades of experience performing plastic surgery and non-surgical procedures. They can assess your acne and help you choose the treatment that's best for you. To schedule your free patient consultation at Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, call (866) 487-3223 today.