Plus How to Treat Acne
Acne is often something we associate with puberty; however, adults can get it too. In fact, 20% of acne cases occur in adults. So what exactly is acne? How does it get there? And how can you treat it? Let’s dive into those answers.
What is Acne and What Causes Acne?
Acne is a skin condition that we often refer to as pimples or zits. Pimples are caused when the greasy secretions (sebum) from the skin’s sebaceous glands and dead skin cells clog our pores, the tiny openings in our skin for hair follicles. This excess oil production is sometimes caused by the skin becoming too dry which causes the overproduction of oil while trying to rehydrate the skin, causing pores to become clogged. Pimples can also develop into swollen, tender inflammations that are deeper in the skin. Oftentimes acne is worsened by picking at it; when you pick at your acne you could introduce bacteria to the pore which can lead to a painful infection in your skin.
While clogged pores is the direct cause of acne, there are also some indirect factors that can cause acne as well. These include:
- Hormones, stress, and the menstrual cycle, all of which can influence oil production
- Hair products, skin care products and makeup that can clog pores
- Bacteria, which can grow in clogged follicles
- Some medications, including corticosteroids, anabolic steroids and lithium
- Diet can also play a role from dairy to gluten, your skin tells a story of what you may be putting into your body
Acne most often occurs on the face, but it can also appear on the back, chest and shoulders. People of all races and ages get acne; however, it is most common in teens and young adults, though some continue to have skin problems into their forties and fifties.
Types of Acne
There are two types of acne, noninflammatory (sometimes called common acne) and inflammatory acne. Each type can appear in a few types of ways.
Noninflammatory acne is caused by oil and dead skin cells clogging pores, generally does not cause swelling, and appears in two forms.
- Blackheads: also known as an open comedone, occur when a clogged pore remains open, resulting in the characteristic black color seen on the surface of the skin
- Whiteheads: also referred to as a closed comedone, occur when the top of a clogged pore closes up, producing a small white bump
Inflammatory acne is a result of oil and dead skin cells; however, bacteria can also play a role. Bacteria can cause an infection deep beneath the skin’s surface and may result in painful acne spots that are hard to get rid of. There are 4 ways that inflammatory acne can appear.
- Papules: occurs when the walls surrounding the pores break down due to severe inflammation, resulting in hard, clogged pores that are tender to the touch and the skin around the pore is usually pink
- Pustules: occurs when the walls around the pores break down; however, these are filled with pus and the bumps are red in color with a yellow or white head on top.
- Nodules: occurs when clogged, swollen pores endure further irritation and grow larger and are deep within the skin
- Cysts: occur even deeper in the skin than nodules and produce large red or white bumps that are painful to the touch and are often the result from a severe infection
How to Treat Acne
Left untreated, acne can be embarrassing and painful. In the most severe cases, it can cause scarring, particularly with cystic acne. Different types of acne require different types of treatment.
- Facials: If you have multiple types of acne, a facial can be very effective in cleaning out your clogged pores because they are customized to your skincare needs.
- Chemical Peels from an Expert: When it comes to treating common, noninflammatory acne (white and blackheads), using a product that contains salicylic acid often works best. It naturally exfoliates the skin and removes dead skin cells.
- Topical Retinoids: This treatment is best for whiteheads as well as papules and pustules and is available over the counter, though stronger versions are available by prescription from your dermatologist.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: This can help reduce the swelling and get rid of bacteria that causes inflammatory acne. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic along with this treatment.
- Other Medications: For the most severe types of acne, nodules and cysts, your doctor may prescribe a medication.
- Cyst Removal: In severe cases, your dermatologist may surgically remove a cyst.
How to Prevent Acne
Preventing acne from occuring can be done through creating a good skincare routine. Here are some tips.
- Remove makeup before going to bed
- Use skincare and cosmetic products that are labeled “non-comedogenic,” “oil-free,” or “won’t clog pores”
- Avoid using facial oils or hair products that can clog pores
- Get regular facials to help clean pores before they become clogged and to keep your skin healthy and hydrated
- Wear sunscreen daily to prevent post-inflammatory pigment changes (dark spots) from previous acne lesions
Our Facial Services
Our facial services are 100% customized to your skin! We believe no two people are alike, so we customize your facials to fit your specific skin care goals. Each facial begins with relaxing aromatherapy and then our licensed estheticians get to work. We offer 30 and 60 minute facials with the ability to add on treatments such as microdermabrasion, acne zap and more! Book your facial by using our online booking tool today!