Acne can be an incredibly destructive force, wreaking havoc not only on your skin, but your self-esteem as well. If you’re at your wits’ end with your acne, here’s what you can do to get your life back from acne.
Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands in our skin overproduce sebum, or oil. These sebaceous glands are housed within our pores and hair follicles, and when too much oil is produced, they can become clogged. When pores are clogged, inflammation and discomfort begin almost immediately. Clogged pores can appear as blackheads or the more traditional pimples, whiteheads. In more serious cases, acne can develop deeper in the skin in specific conditions like cystic acne. This acne is more painful and even more destructive on the skin. Besides being unpleasant and unsightly, acne can leave behind scars, especially with moderate to severe acne.
Acne is most often associated with the awkward teenage years, and for good reason. Teens are undergoing massive rushes of hormones as their bodies change, and acne is largely triggered by these hormones. But hormones aren’t the only trigger for acne, and it can extend far into adulthood for many people. Acne is just as irritating to adults as it is to teens, and social withdrawal can be a real thing when you’re struggling with breakout after breakout. If your self esteem is low due to acne, depression and anxiety can follow close behind. Acne isn’t just damaging to your skin – it can have long-term effects on your psyche.
With acne’s implications in mind, it’s only natural to want a reliable treatment for it. Fortunately, your dermatologist can help. Acne doesn’t have to take over your life, and your best bet for giving acne everything you’ve got is powerful help. The first line of defense against acne, especially severe and sudden acne, is topical medications. These drugs are applied to the affected skin and can help to clear pores and reduce inflammation. Popular medications like retinoids, which use vitamin A, dapsone, and acids like salicylic acid, are likely to be prescribed first. For severe acne or to quickly reduce a flare up, you may be prescribed topical antibiotics. They can help to kill harmful bacteria that contribute to acne and are best employed in addition to other topical treatments like the ones listed above.
But sometimes, topical drugs aren’t enough, especially when acne is severe or deeper in the skin. For treating stubborn, severe acne, you need something a bit more powerful. Antibiotics can also be taken orally to treat acne, and they can have a great “shock” effect on severe acne. Unfortunately, antibiotics shouldn’t be taken for long and are best for helping to disrupt a bad breakout and allow for other drugs to take over. Isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane, is an oral retinoid that is derived from vitamin A. This is a tough drug that aims to drastically reduce the skin’s production of oil. With less oil, pores are much less likely to become clogged. Since isotretinoin can lead to side effects, you need to monitor issues like skin dryness and other problems that your dermatologist can review. Many people can take isotretinoin without experiencing side effects, but if you do experience problems, there are even more options. Laser therapy is a newer method that’s been used for treating acne. Laser treatments use intense and focused lasers to target clogged pores and expose them to intense heat. This kills bacteria that can contribute to acne symptoms and can help to clear pores quickly. Laser therapy can help greatly with cystic acne because of its ability to penetrate the skin. Acne treatments vary in intensity, but exploring all of your options can help determine which is best for your specific issues.
Acne does not have to be a destructive force in your life. If you’re ready to retake control from acne, give us a call at Pacific Dermatology Specialists today.