Clearer, Healthier Skin in Marco Island and Naples, Florida
The most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting 85 percent or more of the population, is acne. Florida's Skin Wellness Physicians finds that while the problem impacts people of all ages, it most often first appears during puberty and can often persist well into adulthood.
While the exact cause of acne is not exactly certain, there are often multiple factors that contribute to it in any one person: genetics/family history, clogged pores, diet, hormones, and bacteria (Proprionibacterium acnes) and their byproducts. Any one of these factors may be more or less active in any given person, so assessing each patient as an individual is of critical importance in order to properly tailor the most appropriate therapy for each patient's type of outbreak.
Types of Acne
The most common and earliest form of acne is called comedonal, which refers to clogged pores. Patients will often experience these as tiny whiteheads or blackheads, which can either evolve into or accompany an inflammatory outbreak. The more painful bumps that are occasionally filled with pus—made up mostly of dead white blood cells—are known medically as papules if they stay closed and red or pustules if they develop a whitish cap, but are more commonly called pimples.
A more advanced and severe form of inflammatory acne is cystic, which can cause significant pain, swelling, and scarring. These cysts are often found deeper in the skin. Papules and pustules can also grow to form hard nodules that are similar to cysts and also leave scars.
Acne may be associated with rosacea, appearing on the nose or in the nasal area and contributing to the redness and flushing associated with the chronic disease.
Pimples and other pus-filled bumps should not be picked at or squeezed. Scratching or "popping" pimples at home can worsen the inflammation and create conditions more likely to leave scars.
Common first-line medications for treating acne include topical retinoids (such as tretinoin, adapalene, or tazarotene) and topical antibiotics. Occasionally, if someone's problem is more inflammatory, additional medications, such as topical dapsone or short-courses of oral antibiotics, may be prescribed.
At Skin Wellness Physicians, we understand the role oral antibiotics play in the treatment of acne, but believe in doing our best to limit the length of time we have our patients taking these medications. We prefer to attempt to control a patient's outbreaks with topicals, if possible.
Not infrequently, women will present with acne heavily influenced by hormones. Occasionally hormonally acting medications such as oral contraceptives or spironolactone are quite helpful. Lastly, medications (i.e. Accutane and photodynamic therapy) can provide clinical control and occasionally cure flare-ups in even the most severe cases.
Despite medical intervention, acne can at times cause permanent complications such as scarring. This can include rolling scars, boxcar scars, distensible scars, and icepick scars.
Icepick scars, due to their deep, narrow nature, are the most challenging to treat. There are many options for reducing the appearance of these scars, including lasers, chemical peels, microneedling, dermal fillers, and even excisional surgery.
Ultimately, patients should come to our clinic at Skin Wellness Physicians for a medical dermatology consult to determine the best care for their skin condition.