What is acne?

Acne is the most common skin condition, affecting close to 50 million Americans each year. Typical lesions of acne including papules, pustules, white heads, black heads and cysts can occur on the face, chest, back or shoulders. Complications of acne include scarring and dark spots (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation ). Acne most often occurs in teenagers, but can happen in any age group; adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s can get acne too.

Tips to improve your acne.

Wash your face with soap and warm water twice a day. Washing too often may actually make your acne worse. If your hair is oily, regular shampooing is also recommended to reduce the amount of oil that touches your skin.

  • Don’t pick, scratch, pop, or squeeze your acne because this can cause more redness, swelling, and scarring may result.
  • Choose an oil- free sunscreen.
  • Choose oil free foundations and moisturizers. Look for products which are “non-comedogenic” (should not cause whiteheads or blackheads) or “non-acnegenic” (should not cause acne). Wash makeup off every night with soap and water.
  • Shield your face when applying hairsprays and other hair care products. If the spray comes in contact with your facial skin, it can cause a cosmetic type of acne.

When should I seek care from a dermatologist?

While some acne patients will get better with over the counter medications, many patients will require prescription medications. Dr. Harvey has extensive experience managing both mild and severe forms of acne in all skin types.

What can your dermatologist prescribe to help your acne?

There are many different types of acne medications that can either be applied to the skin or taken orally. In general, the various treatments work by preventing new acne to form. It can take as long as 4-12 weeks to notice improvement.

Topical medications – Your dermatologist may prescribe topical creams or lotions such as retinoids, topical antibiotics, or benzoyl peroxide to help unclog pores and reduce the bacterial count in your skin. Some topical acne medications can cause dryness and irritation. Your dermatologist can guide you on how to correctly apply these medications and how to handle their side effects.

Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline or minocycline are often prescribed for moderate to severe cases of acne. Antibiotics work by reducing inflammation and the bacterial count in the skin.

Other medications – In cases of severe acne, other oral medications such as oral contraceptives or spironolactone may be prescribed. Oral sotretinoin is sometimes used for severe cases of acne that have not responded to other treatments. Patients using isotretinoin must thoroughly understand the its side effects.

Proper skin care is necessary

No matter what treatments your dermatologist prescribes, remember that although there is no cure for acne, it is controllable and proper acne treatment will prevent complications.

If you are in need of Acne Treatment, please contact one of our office locations.

TPMG Hampton Roads Center for Dermatology – Virginia Beach
Phone: 757-917-5101

TPMG Hampton Roads Center for Dermatology – Newport News
Phone: 757-232-8856

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