April, 2013

Diagnosing and Treating Acne

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Acne, the most common skin condition in the United States, is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects roughly 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30.  And just because it typically affects younger people, doesn’t mean adults are immune.  So what exactly is acne, and how do we diagnose and treat it?  Read on to find out.

Diagnosing Acne

Acne, or acne vulgaris, is a skin condition in which oil and dead skin cells clog your pores.  This can manifest in pimples, like blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.  It’s common in teens due to hormonal changes caused by puberty, as the skin becomes more oily and prone to pimples.  Depending on the severity of your acne, you may have some small pimples on the face or potentially many more throughout the body.  There are a number of other factors attributed to causing acne besides puberty, though.  Hormone changes during pregnancy, birth control pills, certain medications, greasy makeup, and heredity are all factors that can lead to an outbreak.

While it may be easy to identify mild acne on your own, a more severe case can present similarities to other skin conditions.  For this reason, you should always consult with a doctor for the most accurate diagnosis.

Treatment

There are a number of different ways to try and treat acne, ranging from topical creams and medications to antibiotics.  Here are some of the more common acne treatments available:

  • Topical OTC treatments: Over-the-counter topical treatments usually contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which work to target bacteria in the skin.  Used daily, these treatments are often effective in reducing acne symptoms.
  • Prescription drugs: For those with acne too severe to be cleared by topical treatments alone, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics like tetracycline or minocycline.  There are also prescription topical treatments available, containing adapalene and azelaic acid.  Treatments derived from retinoids have been proven to help as well, so make sure to discuss your prescription options with your doctor.
  • Proper skincare: Lifestyle choices can also be important in managing acne. Gently cleaning your skin daily and avoiding oily foods can help to prevent breakouts.  Look for products labeled “noncomedogenic”, as they won’t clog your pores like others might.

There are a number of other acne treatments available as well, including laser treatment, chemical peels, pimple extraction, and more.  Make sure to discuss your case with a doctor so they can provide the comprehensive care necessary to clear your skin up, once and for all.

Board Certified Physician in Astoria

To learn more about acne or the different treatment options, contact us today to schedule an appointment.  Our offices are located in Astoria, and we can be reached at (718) 204-7550.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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