Acne is a common skin condition that develops when oil from the sebaceous glands clogs up the hair follicles or pores. Although it is most common in teenagers, about 20 percent of acne cases occur in adults. Acne most commonly develops on the face, but it can also occur on the neck, shoulder, chest, back and upper arms.
Types of Acne
Comedonal acne is the mildest form. It causes blackheads and whiteheads, which are more formally called comedones. In whiteheads, the hair follicle is completely blocked; in blackheads, the blockage is partial and melanin is visible. Comedonal acne most commonly develops on the forehead, nose and chin.
Inflammatory acne develops when the area below the whitehead or blackhead gets red and inflamed. The patient develops papules and pustules. Papules are small, rough bumps that develop when the wall of a hair follicle caves in. Pustules are more commonly known as zits or pimples, and they can be large and painful.
Cystic acne is the most severe type. It happens when the pimples get infected, and the infection penetrates deep into the skin. A susceptibility to cystic acne can run in families. In cystic acne, the patient develops large, painful and red bumps that are full of pus and can itch or hurt. If a cyst bursts, it can spread the infection and cause more breakouts. Untreated cystic acne can last for years.
When Should Someone Go to a Doctor?
In some cases, the patient can use over-the-counter treatments, and the acne will go away after four to six weeks of skin creams. If the usual treatments stop working or they never work at all, it may be time to seek professional acne treatment. Acne patients should also see a doctor if their acne is interfering with their lives. For example, if they feel too embarrassed to go out with friends, they should seek professional acne treatment.
Cystic acne should always be seen by a dermatologist. It can be painful, and the pimples and nodules can cause scars. It is also far more difficult to treat than other types of acne, and it does not respond to over-the-counter treatments.
What Kind of Acne Treatments Are Used?
The type of acne treatment used will depend on the type and severity of the acne. With locations in Okemos, Carson City and St. Johns, Doctor’s Approach offers a wide variety of acne treatment options, ranging from prescription medications and medical-grade peels to microdermabrasion and laser treatments. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about our options for acne treatment.