Acne forms when a hair follicle becomes plugged with oil or dead skin cells. The most common locations are on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. The main causes of acne are excess oil, dead skin cells, bacteria and inflammation. There are many triggers that can cause acne. Hormonal changes especially during puberty or menopause cause more oil production which leads to more clogged follicles. Certain medications can also lead to increased oil production. Diet and stress can also play a huge role in exacerbating acne.
Acne can range in severity:
- Whiteheads, blackheads
- Papules (Red and tender bumps)
- Pustules (Papule with pus)
- Nodules (Large painful lumps under skin)
- Cystic (Painful pus filled lump under the skin)
Untreated or improperly treated acne can increase the risk of complications. The most common complication of acne are scars. Severe acne can leave long-term scars even after the acne has healed. Another complication is changes to skin color, after the acne has healed the skin may be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
There are many different treatment plans available and if you have tried over-the-counter products for a couple of months with no success you should see a professional before your acne becomes too severe or you cause damage to your skin. The professional will make a plan to help control your current acne, reduce the risk of scars or make current scars less noticeable.
All treatments plans are based on severity and medical history. The most common treatments given from a professional will include topical (retinol or antibiotic based) and oral medications (accutane, antibiotics or oral contraceptives). Other common treatments include: light therapy, chemical peels, drainage or injections.
There are many other treatments one should consider under the supervision of a professional. Many lifestyle changes can help such as: diet changes, proper cleaning (too much can cause irritation), avoid irritants, avoid picking and taking certain supplements and herbs.
If you have scars from past acne you can get IPL or microneedling procedures, apply topicals or take certain supplements to improve the appearance of the scars.
Dr. Pace, ND does full intakes to provide you with your personalized treatment plan to control your current acne, he also provides aesthetic treatments to decrease the appearance of acne scars. Book an initial Naturopathic appointment or a complimentary aesthetic consultation with him.