Unless you are shooting a commercial and are playing the part of the “before”, no one wants acne. That said, most suffer from ance the teenage years and others continue to suffer through adulthood.

What is acne?

Acne vulgaris is the medical name for the common acne. Most will refer to acne as a pimple or zit. It is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting over 75 million Americans. Acne presents as whiteheads, blackhead, cysts, pustules, or papules. Acne is an inflammatory skin condition of the sebaceous glands, which are located at the base of hair follicle.

Acne commonly occurs during puberty when “raging” hormones activate the sebaceous gland and the amount of sebum production is increased. Other causes of acne include genetics, anxiety, stress, menstrual cycle, hot and humid climate, oil based makeup, popping or squeezing pimples. Basically, the sebaceous glands produce oil called sebum. This oil travels along a hair follicle carrying dead skin cells to the surface. As the follicles become blocked or clogged, a pimple forms as oil builds up below the skin. The pimples can become infected by Propionibacterium Acnes bacteria. The severity of infection will impact how quickly the acne condition resolves, the type of treatment required, and the potential for scarring.

What is cystic acne?

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne characterized by infection and inflammation. The cause is usually hormonal changes during puberty or adulthood. Despite popular belief, cystic acne is not caused by food, chocolate, etc. Cystic acne can be painful and result in scarring.

Treatment requires a visit to a skin specialist or a dermatologist. Patients will then be assessed and treated with products containing benzoyl peroxide, oral or topical antibiotics, and isotretinoin for those who do not improve. Dermatologist might also inject steroids into the cysts to help minimize inflammation.

What is acne scarring?

Acne scarring happens with the skin inflammation (cystic acne, papules, pustules) is very severe and healthy dermis is affected. The dermis is destroyed and your body begins the repair proceses. New collagen is laid down, which unfortunately may be laid down in a manner that leaves a scar.

Acne scarring fall into two main categories: Atrophic scars (ice pick scars and boxcar scars) and hypertrophic scars rolling scars, keloid scars). Atrophic scars is caused by the lack of tissue. Hypertrophic scars are those with too much tissue.

Some keys to preventing scars or minimizing risk of scar formation, is the treat acne as soon as possible, don’t pick or pop pimple as this will spread infection deeper into the dermis. Routine skin care that include hydrafacial or VIPEEL at Elysium Aesthetics and Vein Care in Paramus, New Jersey will help. This along with a facial routine that include cleanser and other products containing benzoyl peroxide. More of this below.

Once scarring develops, then there are several treatments available at Elysium Aesthetics and Vein Care in Paramus, New Jersey to help. Microneedling with plalelet rich plasma for mild cases or Vivace RF (Radiofrequency) microneeding with or without PRP is a great treatment for acne scarring. Picosure laser treatment is also a great treatment for acne scarring. Most will see improvement after 1-3 sessions.

What are some acne treatments?

There is a multi billion dollar industry built around acne treatment and prevention. Popping a pimple is not a good idea as this can cause bacteria to move deeper and make things worse. The treatment depends on the severity of acne. All treatments begin with gentle face washing no more than twice a day with warm water and cleanser, good hand hygiene, minimize face touching, avoidance of other risk factors (like heat) that cause an increase in oil production.

Some diets rich in vitamin A and E along with Zinc may offer some benefit but there is no study showing this to be true.

One study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology showed 5% tea-tree oil may help treat mild to moderate acne. (Chularojanamontri, L., Tuchinda P., et al. May 2014. Moisterizers for Acne. What are their constituents? Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 7(5): 36-44.)

Moisterizers can sooth skin and decrease inflammation.

For mild acne: gentle face wash, pads, creams and lotions containing resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retin-A, Azelaic acid.

Resorcinol helps break down blackheads and whiteheads. Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and also slows the amount of oil production. Salicylic acid helps with inflammation and also breakdown whiteheads and blackheads. Retin A unblocks the pores.

Moderate and severe acne will require a visit to a dermatologist or other skin specialist. They may prescribe oral antibiotics such as erythromycin or tetracycline. Topical antimicrobials that include clinamycin and sodium sufacetamide may also be prescribed. Topical retinoids help unblock pores and minimize whiteheads and blackheads from forming.

Isotretinoin is a very strong oral retinoid. There are considerable side effects with this medication and its use is only under close medical supervision. This is used for severe cystic acne.

How to prevent Acne?

At Elysium Aesthetics and Vein Care in Paramus, New Jersey, we have various acne treatment protocols depending on the severity of the acne problem. We untilize Zein Obagi Skin Health line, NeoCutis, and Environ line of facial products. Routine skin care that include microdermabrasion, Hydrafacial MD, or peels like the ViPEEL will help prevent future breakouts and improve skin appearance and health. Hydrafacial will help reduce bacteria. Facial products like ZO Skin Health, Environ, and NeoCutis containing the aforementioned ingredients are also available to help reduce acne and prevent future breakouts.

While acne is regarded as a pubescent problem, it is actually a problem that affects a significant amount of adults. Acne and acne scarring can impact confidence, self esteem, and result in loss of relationships or career advancement. Acne treatment begins with understanding what type of acne you have and what treatment options are available to you. The wrong products may in fact make things worse. I hope that this blog helped answer any questions you might have. For additional information, please feel free to contact me.

Warments Regards,

Dr. David Singh
Elysium Aesthetics and Vein Care