Acne Treatment

West Dermatology

Learn more about Acne Treatment and how West Dermatology can help.
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About Acne

What is It?

If you have acne, you’re not alone; affecting approximately 50 million Americans, it is the most prevalent skin problem in the country. As a matter of fact, about 85% of people between ages 12 and 24 experience at least minor acne and it can occur at any time in life, sometimes continuing into a person's 30s and 40s. Acne can negatively impact your self-esteem, regardless of age.

At West Dermatology Hillcrest, our team of board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Reed, Dr. Zaleski-Larsen and Dr. Hemperly are acne experts, and we understand the impact acne has on you, which is why we strongly urge you not to disregard even a single pimple, much less a breakout, as doing so will only worsen your blemishes. Below is our guide on all the important details about acne as well as our recommended methods for treating it.

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What Is Acne?

Acne is a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed due to the clogging of hair follicles, which leads to the formation of blemishes like pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, pustules, papules, and nodules.
It’s still a common belief that acne only affects teens, yet according to the International Dermal Institute, clinical studies have found that as much as 40 percent of adults have acne problems. The Journal of American Academy of Dermatology says that over 50 percent of women over the age of 25 have some form of facial acne.
They can develop on your face, neck, shoulders, chest, upper arms, back, and buttocks.

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Learn About Acne

What Causes It?

First of all, it’s important to realize what doesn’t cause acne: poor hygiene, stress, and diet. While they all may worsen the condition, none of these conditions cause it.
Every day, healthy skin sheds roughly a million skin cells, and if the skin does not do this for any reason, the pores and hair follicles in your skin become clogged with the body’s natural oils and dead skin cells. If this builds up, bacteria known as P. Acnes begin to multiply. Eventually, if there’s no intervention, a blemish forms. When a multitude of blemishes form, especially in a short period of time and in a specific area, it’s often referred to as a breakout.
Fortunately, you have many effective acne treatments to choose from at West Dermatology. Regardless of the severity of the breakout, nearly all cases can be managed or treated; however, what works for you may not be as effective for someone else. The most effective treatments for acne is one based on your individual skin’s needs.
The best method for improving acne long-term is with a customized treatment plan. Continue reading for some of the effective options our acne experts would use for a patient's unique case.

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West Dermatology Hillcrest

Acne Treatments

Our experienced acne experts work with you to diminish the effects of acne with solutions that meet your needs and aesthetic goals. You don’t have to deal with it alone, and you should not let it just run its course, as it may leave you with dark spots and/or acne scars.
We offer a variety of treatments because some treatments or techniques are effective for milder cases while other medications or methods are better for severe conditions or breakouts. However, no treatment works overnight, even for a mild case. It’s possible you won’t see desired results for a few days and even sometimes for at least two weeks.

Treatment for Mild Acne

Mild to moderate cases are usually described as those consisting of several blemishes, whiteheads, and/or blackheads. These can be reduced or erased with simple over-the-counter topical medications with retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid.

Treatment for Moderate-Severe Acne

More severe cases – described typically as red, swollen, painful blemishes that include cysts or nodules – will most likely need treatment or medications stronger that what OTC medications provide.
At West Dermatology, we offer prescription-strength oral or topical medications, including antibiotics, that destroy the bacteria causing the acne and reduce inflammation.
However, it is possible that severe cases will require even deeper treatment to rid the skin of painful, red, swollen cysts nodules. Such therapies include:
  • Lasers and light therapy: Treatments like Photodynamic laser therapy (PDT) not only reduces the bacteria causing the acne, but the can decrease facial redness as well as offering a fast pimple fix that improves active acne while reducing future breakouts.
  • Chemical peels: Administered by our board-certified dermatologists, chemically exfoliate the top layer of the skin, reducing the appearance of pimples or scarring. This is great option alone or in combination with other acne-fighting treatments because the concentration of the peel can be customized to the patient’s skin type and needs.
  • Drainage and extraction: When performed by a dermatologist, drainage and extraction is an effective way to remove any fluid or pus from stubborn acne that has not responded to other methods. While patient’s may be tempted to “pop” a pimple on their own, our Dermatologists are trained in different techniques, which uses sterile instruments, to get rid of acne while also minimizing the risk of scarring.

In addition to these treatments, a proper daily cleansing routine (removing make-up and dirt) before bedtime will help keep the skin clean and free of acne breakouts.

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Q: Is it o.k. to wear sunscreen if I have acne?
A: Yes, it is still recommended to wear sunscreen, even if you suffer from acne. Look for an acne friendly SPF by finding formulas that offer broad spectrum coverage, which protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure you look for water resistant or sweat proof formulations, because these add an extra layer of protection, especially when you’re in the water or active. If you’re spending the day in the outdoors, use an SPF 50 — or higher.

Q: I eat a lot of greasy foods and sweets – is that responsible for my acne?
A: In general, it is not. Numerous studies have found no evidence to support this. However, it’s still a good idea to stick to a good diet to keep your skin in good, healthy shape, as some studies have found that high-carb foods such as white bread could worsen acne.

Q: What types of acne are there?
A: Generally speaking, there are six types of acne blemishes:
Whiteheads – pimples that are under the skin surface
Blackheads – a clogged pore that becomes dark in color
Papules – small pinkish-red bumps that are tender and sensitive to touch
Pustules – red blemishes filled with white-yellowish pus
Nodules – large, solid blemishes that are painful and go deep under the skin
Cysts – deep, pus-filled pimples that are painful to touch and will like cause scarring, especially when left untreated

Q: Should I wash my face more to reduce the chances of an acne breakout?
A: Although it is a great idea to keep your skin clean and free of debris, you should avoid scrubbing your skin too vigorously. This can aggravate your skin, making it more susceptible to harmful bacteria.

Q: Is my cleanser causing my acne?
A: Not necessarily, no. However, if you’re using an alcohol-based cleanser, it could be drying out the skin, which could affect the buildup of dead skin cells.

Q: Can I wear makeup if I have acne?
A: Most likely you can. However, it might be a good idea to switch brands or use a different type of makeup, as certain kinds can worsen acne or increase oil buildup. You should use any lotions, creams, or makeup that is “non-comedogenic”, or that does not clog pores.

Q: Which acne treatment(s) would work for me?
A: It’s hard to tell without a one-on-one consultation with one of our acne experts at West Dermatology. In addition to the severity of your acne, there are other factors to consider: your age, gender, the duration of the acne to be cleared up, and more. In general, for a mild case, you may start with topical medication with a retinoid or benzoyl peroxide and/or a topical antibiotic. More inflammatory types of acne may require an oral antibiotic, while more severe cases could mean laser or light therapy, a chemical peel, or an extraction and drainage procedure.

Q: When will I see results from acne treatment?
A: It depends on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment you receive. In some cases, you can see results within a few days. In others, it may take two weeks. In fact, it’s not uncommon for results to appear in 4-12 weeks

Q: When should I see a West Dermatology acne expert for treatment?
A: In general, for small breakouts or mild cases, try an over-the-counter medication first. If the acne does not respond or you continue to experience regular breakouts, then you should schedule an appointment. For more severe cases, visit our office or schedule an appointment ASAP to reduce the chances of scarring.

Q: How much are acne treatments at West Dermatology?
A: Your case is unique, which means we customize treatment to suit your needs and condition. Thus, cost varies depending on the severity and extent of your case. A consultation with acne our experts will help determine your cost.

Q: Can I reduce the chances of an acne breakout?
A: There are definitely ways you limit your risks. Wash your skin twice a day, particularly on your face and after exercise. Use gentle cleansers and cloths to avoid irritating your skin. Keep your skin moisturized with lightweight, oil-free, and water-based formulas with hyaluronic gel.

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