The detailed mechanism of acne production is complex, and goes beyond the scope of this page. From the point of view of the patient, the key factor that needs to be controlled is excess oil production. Excess oil in the pores provides an environment that is favourable for acne bacteria to proliferate, which eventually causes inflammation which present as pimples.
- Individuals with oily skin are especially susceptible to acne
- Testosterone plays a major factor, not only in the quantity of testosterone, but the individual's susceptibility to be affected by this hormone
- Some cosmetic ingredients can contribute to acne by plugging pores
- Teenagers are especially susceptible to acne as their levels of testosterone are higher, and oil production is increased
Acne occurs when excess skin oil and other debris clog the pores, creating an environment where acne bacteria can proliferate. A cleansing routine can help to minimize acne breakouts. Cleansers can help remove excess oil, cosmetics, sweat, and other debris that naturally accumulate on the skin surface. Here are some tips for cleansing:
- Cleansing can remove excess oil as well as other dirt and debris that accumulate on the skin's surface which contributes to the clogging of pores.
- Cleansing keeps the skin surface clean, which minimizes the chance of acne breakouts
- When choosing a cleansing product, look for products that are labelled non-comedogenic. These products are less likely to contribute to pore clogging.
- Most specialized acne cleansers are non-comedogenic.
- Avoid over-cleansing. Follow the frequency recommended by the product or doctor. Over-cleansing can irritate the skin, and make existing acne worse.
- Try to keep hair away from facial skin, as hair contains a lot of oils that promote acne.
- Clean objects that are commonly held close to the skin regularly. Phone receivers are a common item that can transfer oil directly to the skin.
There are many effective acne treatments, and most of them are topical medications. The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that acne medications aren't effective. Acne research has made significant progress in the last 20 years, and treatments are far more effective than they were in the past. However, they do require patience on the part of the patient, as most medications require some time before taking effect. Some medications also cause the acne to temporarily worsen early in the treatment, which can be frustrating.
- All acne treatments take time and patience. Many treatments take at least several weeks before significant results can be seen. Success depends on compliance with the regimen as instructed.
- For social events, use cosmetic cover-ups.
- We recommend early treatment if you notice that you are breaking out with pimples. Even minor pimples have the potential to cause scars which can be difficult to correct once formed.
- Many acne cleansers are available over the counter, which can help clear out mild cases of acne. Most contain salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide. Remember to follow instructions, and not to be discouraged early in treatment.
- If your acne is moderate to severe, you should visit a dermatologist who can recommend a prescription strength product, or recommend other treatments
- Most prescription products have similar ingredients with OTC products (Benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics) but include active ingredients in higher concentrations.
- For women, oral contraceptives can be an option, which have a hormonal effect, reducing the amount of testosterone in the system
- Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for patients with moderate to severe acne
- Accutane (Isotretinoin) is a powerful drug, which may be prescribed if you have severe cystic acne. Communicate well with your doctor, and make sure that you understand the potential risks and rewards if you are considering taking this drug.
- Several other therapies such as laser treatment and photodynamic treatments are available
- Topical treatments are the first line of treatment and often the preferred first treatment.
- Generally procedures are reserved for acne scar revision, although there are exceptions