Understanding Acne -
Symptoms and Causes
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting millions of people around the world. Let's take a look at what acne is, why it occurs, and how to treat it. We’ll also discuss some of the common symptoms associated with acne so that you can determine whether or not it is something you need to be concerned about.
What Is Acne?
Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that causes whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples to form on the face, neck, chest, shoulders, and upper back. It is caused by an overproduction of sebum (oil) that clogs pores and traps dirt and bacteria inside them. When these pores become blocked, they swell up and become inflamed. This can lead to redness, swelling, pain and even scarring if left untreated.
Common Symptoms Of Acne
The most common symptom associated with acne is inflammation which may appear as redness or swelling in the affected area(s). Other symptoms include whiteheads (clogged pores), blackheads (open pores filled with dirt), pimples (inflamed lesions), cysts (deeply rooted lumps filled with pus), nodules (hard bumps beneath the surface of the skin), scarring (permanent indentations left after severe cases) as well as oily skin due to excessive production of sebum.
When to See a Dermatologist
Seeing a dermatologist just because you have acne isn't always necessary. Of course, there are certainly moments when you should call us. These moments include,
- If you’ve never actually been diagnosed with acne
- If acne is getting worse even with at-home care
- If you have severe acne or inflammatory or cystic acne
- If acne isn’t responding with treatment
If your acne is impacting your self-esteem and quality of life
Acne Products Take Time to Work
It’s essential to remember that any acne product you use, whether
over-the-counter or prescription, takes time to work. There are no
miracle treatments or quick fixes when it comes to acne. It’s
important to give even your at-home acne products up to 12 weeks to
be fully effective. If you don’t see results after that, it’s
time to try something else.
We Need to Find Out What’s Causing Your Acne
Acne is caused by a variety of factors including hormones; stress; diet; genetics; medications; environmental pollutants; certain skincare products; makeup; shampoo buildup on the scalp; hair products like gels or waxes that can clog pores; sweat from exercise or being in hot weather for extended periods of time; unclean or dirty skin due to lack of proper cleansing habits; using harsh cleansers or exfoliating agents too frequently which can strip away natural oils from the skin leaving it dry and prone to breakouts.
Treating Your Acne
Those with minor acne breakouts can often get their symptoms under control with simple at-home cleansers and other products; however, our dermatologist can prescribe stronger cleansers and even topical medications to help target acne-causing bacteria. Common topical acne treatments include,
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Azelaic Acid
Women whose acne is due to hormones can benefit from certain oral contraceptives designed to reduce acne. Sometimes oral antibiotics can be prescribed to help kill the bacteria responsible for acne. Those with severe inflammatory or cystic acne may require stronger medication such as Accutane. This pill is used to treat severe acne and acne scarring.
While acne can be a nuisance for many people who suffer from it, understanding its causes and knowing what symptoms to look out for are key steps towards finding relief from this condition. If you think you might have acne or are having trouble managing existing outbreaks in your skin then speak with us about available treatment options. Taking control of acne doesn't have to be difficult when you're armed with reliable information!
Our main office is Tulsa Hills Cosmetic & Laser Skin Center in Tulsa, OK. If you’re dealing with acne and want to discuss your treatment options, call us today at (918) 293-1287.