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Understanding Acne (Let’s Talk A Little About Acne)

One of the most common dermatologic issues people face on a regular basis is acne. It is not only an irritation to deal with, more importantly, but it can also interfere with important events in your life that you want to look your best for. And while the most common age group to be affected by acne is adolescents (teenagers), acne can persist well into adulthood, even affecting individuals in their 40s, 50s, and beyond.

 

 

Causes

Acne is not the result of one single thing going wrong, but rather it is the end result of multiple different aberrant processes that interact together to cause the physical abnormalities we know as acne.

Overall, the main underlying problem in acne is blockage of the hair follicle such that oil (sebum) from the sebaceous glands cannot be released onto the skin.  This blockage begins an entire cascade of events that results in acne.  The buildup of oil in the sebaceous gland causes abnormal swelling of the gland and allows the oil-eating bacteria that normally live in the gland to proliferate, which in turn brings in the immune system, resulting in the inflammatory lesions we know as pimples.  Oil production is also increased by the elevated androgen hormones common in puberty, and which can sometimes remain elevated well past that.

While most people experience at least some acne, there seems to be a genetic predisposition in those whose acne is more severe.  This predisposition involves the increased tendency for pores to be blocked by both skin cells (whiteheads) and oxidized oil (blackheads), along with increased sensitivity of the sebaceous glands to testosterone leading to excessive production of sebum – thus, further feeding the cascade of events in acne.

Given the strong association in acne between the sebaceous glands and oil production, it makes sense that acne is mostly located on the areas of the body where sebaceous glands are most prevalent and active, such as the face, chest, shoulders, and back.

Treatments

The number of treatments available for acne is almost mind-boggling, from over-the-counter treatments to prescription medications, to alternative physical and chemical modalities.  However, despite all these choices, treatment is generally directed at only a few key underlying problems that cause acne.

Acne Scarring and Treatment

When inflammation in acne is serious or when individuals pick and pop their acne lesions regularly, scarring is common.  The best way to help acne scarring is to improve the acne itself through effective treatment, as well as refraining from manipulating lesions when present.  While mild scarring can improve somewhat slowly over time, moderate and more severe acne scarring generally persists.  Fortunately, there are ways to help reduce the appearance of acne scars, with each depending on the type of scarring, appearance, and severity.  Treatments range from chemical peels to dermabrasion to various lasers, among others.

Dermatology in Lake Worth, Texas

Lakeview Dermatology specializes in medical and surgical dermatology and also offers a number of cosmetic services. Dr. Matthew Mittelbronn has a wealth of experience treating issues such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, skin cancer, and more. If you have a skin-related problem and want an experienced and high qualified physician to help you, make an appointment with Dr. Mittelbronn today. To make an appointment, call (817) 752-5256. You can also request an appointment using our convenient online form.

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