Acne – pimples or red bumps on the skin – is often seen as an unfortunate rite of passage. Teenagers aren’t the only sufferers. Hormonal acne in adult women, for instance, is not uncommon and typically occurs along the jawline. At BV Derm, we have treated thousands of patients for acne and acne scarring. The four major factors causing acne are:
- Clogged pores. Excess keratin proteins in hair follicles can cause pores to be clogged, trapping oil inside the skin.
- Increased oil production (called “sebum”). Sebum production increases during puberty, leading to a worsening of acne.
- Presence of bacteria on the skin called Propionibacterium acnes. Also known as Cutibacteriumacnes.
- Inflammation. Caused by bacteria.
Hair follicles in your skin are connected to oil-secreting glands called sebaceous glands. With acne, the glands produce excessive oil, which clogs follicles and causes oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria to get trapped under the surface of the skin. Think of it as a plug clogging your pore. If the oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria stay below the skin surface, a “white head” is formed. If the pore opens up, the oil spills out, mixes with the air and a “black head” is formed. When the follicle finally ruptures, everything spills into the surrounding skin, causing inflammation and an immune response. This leads to the red, throbbing, tender bumps people refer to as pimples.
There are several other factors that can contribute to acne, including:
- Hormonal conditions
- Scratching, rubbing, picking
- Family history
BV Derm offers a range of solutions to treat acne and acne scarring. We customize treatments based on your age and skin type. Our tool kit includes:
2) Topical Retinoids. Topical retinoids lightly exfoliate the skin to reduce clogged pores. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and help with penetration of other active agents. Retinoids speed healing and lighten the pink and purple marks that occur as an acne lesion heals. As a bonus for adult patients, retinoids may reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving skin texture. (Note: Because retinoids offer cosmetic value, insurance may not cover them for patients older than 27.)
2) Benzoyl Peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide acts as an antibacterial to kill P. acnes bacteria on the skin. It also combats resistance to oral antibiotics and is often prescribed alongside them.
3) Topical Antibiotics. These include clindamycin, erythromycin, and dapsone, which work by killing the P. acnes bacteria in the pores.
4) Other Topical Medications. These include sodium sulfacetamide, salicylic acid wash, azelaic acid and the topical hormone blocker spironolactone.
5) Oral Treatments. Oral acne treatments include:
- Hormonal treatments
- Isotretinoin, commonly referred to as Accutane.
BV Derm offers a wide range of prescription products in our offices at competitive prices.
Acne scarring may occur from cystic acne and smaller lesions. Common scarring includes pitted scars, wide-mouthed depressions, and keloids, which are primarily seen along the jawline and chest. While these may improve on their own over one year or longer, BV Derm offers innovative procedures in our Lafayette office to mitigate acne scarring:
- Fraxel Dual Laser. Improves skin texture and smooths acne scars. Learn more.
- V-Beam Laser. Helps with discoloration, by clearing the redness caused by scarring more quickly.
- Fillers. These include Restylane and Juvéderm, which can help fill in deep scars.
If you or your child suffers from acne or acne scarring, we can help. In many cases, treatments are covered by insurance. Call 303-604-1444 to schedule an appointment.
When to Call Us
For most people, routine self care like regular facial cleansing and over-the-counter gels or creams will clear up acne. However, for some people, acne persists. Consider these guidelines for when to call us for your child’s, or your own, acne:
– The acne will not respond to over-the-counter remedies and improved cleansing routines.
– You are noticing increased self-consciousness and decreased self-esteem.
– Pimples are sore, inflamed, persistent or leaving scars.
At BV Derm, we have seen firsthand the negative toll acne can take on a patient’s well being and self esteem. Recent studies have shown that persistent acne and acne scarring can be linked to depression. We offer a host of solutions that can make a real and sustained difference in clearing up acne and eliminating or reducing acne scars. Early treatment of acne can prevent or mitigate scarring.