What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition that happens when the hair follicles under the skin become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. This causes different types of bumps on the skin, such as whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, or cysts. Acne can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in teenagers and young adults.
What are the signs and symptoms of Acne?
What are the causes of Acne?
The causes of acne are complex and not fully understood. However, some of the main factors that contribute to acne are:
- Excess oil (sebum) production: Sebum is a natural oil that lubricates and protects the skin. However, when too much sebum is produced, it can mix with dead skin cells and bacteria and clog the pores, leading to acne.
- Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells: Hair follicles are tiny sacs that contain a hair and an oil gland. When the oil gland produces too much sebum, it can build up in the follicle and trap dead skin cells and bacteria, forming a plug that blocks the pore opening.
- Bacteria: The bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) normally live on the skin and help break down excess sebum. However, when the pores are clogged, P. acnes can multiply and cause inflammation and infection in the follicle, resulting in pus-filled pimples.
- Inflammation: Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection. However, when inflammation is excessive or chronic, it can damage the skin and cause scarring. Inflammation can also trigger more sebum production and worsen acne.
Other factors that may influence acne development include hormones, genetics, diet, stress, medications, cosmetics, and environmental factors.
What Are the Different Types of Acne?
The different types of acne are classified based on the appearance and severity of the skin lesions. some of the common types of acne are:
- Whiteheads: These are closed comedones, which are pores that are clogged by oil and dead skin cells. They have a white or flesh-colored surface and are usually small and not inflamed.
- Blackheads: These are open comedones, which are pores that are clogged by oil and dead skin cells. They have a black or dark surface due to oxidation of the oil and are usually larger and more visible than whiteheads.
- Papules: These are inflamed bumps that are red, tender, and sometimes painful. They are caused by bacteria, excess oil, and dead skin cells that infect the pore and cause inflammation.
- Pustules: These are inflamed bumps that are filled with pus. They are also known as pimples or zits. They have a white or yellow center and a red base. They may rupture and leak pus, which can spread the infection to other pores.
- Nodules: These are large, hard, and painful lumps that form deep under the skin. They are caused by severe inflammation and infection of the pore that damages the surrounding tissue. They can last for weeks or months and may leave scars.
- Cysts: These are large, soft, and painful lumps that contain pus and blood. They form deep under the skin as a result of severe inflammation and infection of the pore that ruptures the follicle wall. They can also last for weeks or months and may leave scars.
What treatments are available at the dermatologist for Acne?
Some of the treatments that are available at the dermatologist for acne are:
- Topical medications: These are creams, gels, or lotions that you apply to your skin. They can contain different ingredients, such as retinoids, antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, or salicylic acid. They work by reducing oil production, killing bacteria, preventing clogged pores, or reducing inflammation.
- Oral medications: These are pills that you take by mouth. They can include antibiotics, oral contraceptives, anti-androgens, or isotretinoin. They work by killing bacteria, regulating hormones, blocking the effect of androgens on oil glands, or reducing oil production and inflammation.
- Procedures: These are treatments that are performed by a dermatologist in a clinic or office. They can include extraction of pimples, phototherapy, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser therapy, or injections of corticosteroids or other substances. They work by removing clogged pores, reducing inflammation, improving skin texture, destroying bacteria, or shrinking large cysts.
The Benefits of Using Retinoids for Acne
Retinoids are a group of medications derived from vitamin A that can help treat acne and other skin conditions. Some of the benefits of using retinoids for acne are:
- They can reduce oil production and prevent clogged pores, which are common causes of acne breakouts.
- They can kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, which can help clear up active acne lesions such as papules and pustules.
- They can stimulate cell turnover and improve skin texture, which can help fade acne scars and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Retinoids come in different forms, such as creams, gels, or lotions, and different strengths, such as tretinoin, adapalene, or retinol. Depending on your skin type and acne severity, your dermatologist can help you choose the best retinoid product for your condition. However, retinoids can also cause some side effects, such as dryness, peeling, redness, itching, or sun sensitivity. Therefore, it is important to use them as directed and follow proper skin care routines when using retinoids for acne.
FAQ About Acne
What is acne and how is it treated by a dermatologist?
Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It is usually treated by a dermatologist with a combination of over-the-counter and prescription treatments, such as topical creams and gels containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, oral medications, retinoids, and chemical peels.
What causes acne and can it be prevented by a dermatologist?
Acne is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and a buildup of oil and bacteria on the skin. Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and lithium, can also cause acne. A dermatologist can recommend skincare routines and products to help prevent acne, such as cleansing the face twice daily with a gentle cleanser and using non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products.
Can diet affect acne and how can a dermatologist help?
There is some evidence to suggest that certain foods, such as dairy products and high-glycemic-index foods, may contribute to the development of acne. However, more research is needed to confirm this. A dermatologist can provide personalized dietary recommendations and may refer a patient to a nutritionist for further evaluation and guidance.
Is it true that chocolate and greasy foods cause acne and what can a dermatologist recommend?
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that chocolate and greasy foods cause acne. However, if a patient notices that a particular food seems to trigger breakouts, a dermatologist may recommend avoiding that food to see if it makes a difference.
Can stress cause acne and how can a dermatologist help?
Stress can contribute to the development of acne by causing an increase in the hormone cortisol, which can lead to an increase in oil production. A dermatologist may recommend stress-reducing techniques, such as relaxation exercises or therapy, to help manage acne.
Can acne be cured with home remedies and what does a dermatologist recommend?
There are many home remedies that are claimed to help treat acne, such as using honey, tea tree oil, and apple cider vinegar. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these remedies. A dermatologist can recommend proven treatments and advise on the safety and effectiveness of any home remedies a patient may be considering.
Is it okay to pop pimples and what does a dermatologist advise?
It is generally not recommended to pop pimples, as this can cause the bacteria and oil inside the pimple to spread to other areas of the skin, leading to more breakouts and potentially causing scarring. A dermatologist may advise a patient to leave pimples alone and let them heal on their own, or may perform extractions as part of a treatment plan.
Can a dermatologist help with acne scarring?
A dermatologist in Virginia Beach can recommend a variety of treatments for acne scarring, including topical creams, chemical peels, microneedling, and laser therapy. The best treatment option will depend on the type and severity of the scarring.
Can a dermatologist help with hormonal acne?
Hormonal acne is caused by an imbalance of hormones, which can be triggered by factors such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. A dermatologist in Virginia Beach can recommend treatments, such as oral medications or topical creams, to help regulate hormones and manage hormonal acne.
Can a dermatologist help with adult acne?
Yes, a dermatologist can help with adult acne. Adult acne is often caused by a combination of factors, including hormonal changes, stress, and genetics. A dermatologist can evaluate the specific causes of a patient’s adult acne and recommend a treatment plan that may include topical or oral medications, chemical peels, or other treatments. It is important for adults with acne to seek treatment from a dermatologist, as untreated acne can lead to scarring and other long-term skin problems.
Is there a dermatologist near me in Virginia Beach that offers treatment for acne?
Yes. At our Virginia Beach dermatology office we offers treatment for acne to patients from Virginia Beach and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.