Almost everyone has had a pimple at some point in their lives. But if you are constantly battling outbreaks, then you suffer from acne. Upwards of 50 million Americans suffer from acne, which is caused by clogged pores. When your pores retain oil and skin cells, the result is skin inflammation commonly known as acne.
While the cause of acne is simple, the reasons that some patients in Conroe and the Woodlands are prone to acne while others have clear skin rests on four main factors:
- Genetics: The number one reason people get acne is family history.
- Hormones: Ever wonder why teenagers are more likely to have acne? The answer is the increase in hormones during puberty.
- Stress: There is a link between emotional state and acne. Patients who are anxious or exposed to a lot of stress tend to experience more acne than usual.
- Menstrual cycle: Women are much more likely to develop acne as a result of hormonal changes related to their menstrual cycle. Many women are prescribed birth control pills to help regulate hormones and control acne.
The common myths about acne, such as an unhealthy diet and cleanliness, are not linked to acne outbreaks, but many indicate one (or more) of the above causes.
Acne is easily diagnosed by its appearance, and the severity can vary significantly. Acne falls into three main types:
- Mild: Skin-colored comedones (whiteheads and blackheads).
- Moderate: Inflamed red papules.
- Severe: Deep cystic nodules. Potential to scar.
During a consultation, Dr. Perri will determine the severity of acne and match an appropriate treatment plan.
Treating Mild Acne
Patients in Conroe and the Woodlands with mild acne often try to self-treat with a number of scrubs, abrasive cleansers, peels, and masks. While these treatments claim to help, they often worsen the problem and cause patients to become frustrated. Instead of purchasing a variety of products and vigorously using them several times daily, patients should:
- Wash with a gentle facial cleanser such as Cetaphil or Neutrogena Oil-Free Wash in the morning and before bed.
- Schedule an appointment with the dermatologist who will provide you with a prescription cream, such as tretinoin or Retin-A, to apply after washing your face.
- Applying the topical cream one or two times to reduce pore size and comedones.
Patients should never apply multiple products or use products more than twice daily because it may make acne worse or cause skin damage.
Treating Moderate Acne
Acne usually responds to simple treatment such as gentle cleansers and topical ointment. However, patients with inflamed red papules will not respond to these treatments and require an antibiotic gel such as clindamycin. This treatment should be applied daily to reduce the inflammation that causes these red raised red bumps to appear and avoid further irritation caused by attempting to squeeze or frequently wash the area.
Treating Severe Acne
Patients in Conroe and the Woodlands with deeper cystic acne will be prescribed an oral anti-inflammatory such as doxycycline or minocycline to control swelling. If patients do not respond to this treatment, then Dr. Perri will prescribe a stronger anti-inflammatory called Accutane. However, this medication carries significant side effects and is reserved for only the most severe cases and require monthly clinical visits and testing to monitor these side effects.
Women and Acne
While both men and women may have acne, women may have an additional hormonal component that can be controlled with oral contraception. This treatment alone or combined with spironolactone, which blocks the skin’s hormone receptors, are particularly effective in treating cystic acne in women.
Women who have severe acne that requires Accutane will also need to abide by the IPLEDGE system to prevent pregnancy during treatment because it can cause unwanted side effects on their unborn children.