Acne Awareness Month: Get the Facts About Acne!

Introduction

Did you know that June is Acne Awareness Month? Over 85% of Americans report that they have experienced at least minor acne symptoms in their lifetime. And while it is true that the majority of significant bouts of acne occur in the teens and 20’s, it is not unusual to be battling acne breakouts during your 3rd, 4th or even 5th decade of life. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of acne, its symptoms, and the best ways to treat it.
While this article spells out some important information about Acne Awareness Month and we highly recommend you read the full article, here are the key points we will focus on:

Table of Contents

Acne Awareness Month

What is Acne?

Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that occurs when the hair follicles are blocked with dead skin cells and oil. The resulting build-up of sebum can lead to the growth of bacteria, which can then cause pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and nodules. Acne can occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. It is most common in teenagers and young adults, but it can also affect people of all ages. Types of acne include:
• Occluded pores (comedones), which are either open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads).
• Red, inflamed bumps called papules.
• Pus-filled bumps called pustules.
• Large, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin called cysts or nodules.
Acne can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number of comedones, papules, pustules, and nodules you have. Most individuals with acne have mild to moderate acne.

What Causes Acne?

There is no single cause for breakouts and no universal cure for acne. Everyone’s acne is little different; therefore, the treatment we offer at Bryn Mawr Dermatology is personalized and precise. We first identify the contributing factor(s) that are causing your breakouts. Some of the usual suspects are clogged pores, a bacteria called p. acnes, and hormones. The main causes of acne include:
Excess oil (sebum) production: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, can cause an increase in sebum production. This excess oil can clog the pores and lead to breakouts.
Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells: When the pores become clogged, it provides the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to grow.
Bacteria: Acne-causing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) can grow in the clogged pores and cause inflammation.
Inflammation: The body’s inflammatory response to the presence of bacteria and excess oil can cause redness, swelling, and pain.

Who Can Get Acne?

Acne is a very common skin problem, and it can affect people of all ages. While anyone can get acne, it is mostly seen in teenagers and adolescents. Acne appearances in the teenage years are most seen in men, while acne in adulthood is most common in women.

5 Ways to Help Reduce or Prevent Acne

Acne can create a problem for many individuals. The good thing about acne is that it can be treated. Here are some ways to reduce and treat your acne:

1. Visit Your Dermatologist

At Bryn Mawr Dermatology, we believe in creating treatment plans that are unique to each patient. During your consultation, we listen closely to your concerns and recommend treatments to correct the specific issues you’re experiencing. Our dermatologists offer gentle topical solutions, prescription topical and oral medications, hormone-modifying medications, and advanced skin care treatments to help you achieve beautiful, clear skin. We may also recommend a combination of approaches to get your breakouts under control, such as:
Topical Acne Facials and Aesthetician Services
Light Therapy for Acne Breakouts
Laser Skin Resurfacing

2. Invest in a Clinical Skin Care Routine

The first line of attack is usually a clinical skin care regimen including at least one prescription acne-fighting cream or wash. Sometimes oral medications or pore-clearing aesthetic treatments are required to really harness symptoms. Once we figure out which therapies work best for you, the regular use of these will help to resolve current symptoms, prevent future breakouts and the marks that those breakouts can leave behind.

We also carry many non-prescription clinical skin care products like gentle cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreens that work in tandem with your medical treatments.

  • Cln Facial Cleanser: A non-irritating face wash that kills p. acnes and doesn’t bleach towels or sheets.
  • Sheer Moisturizer – Prescription acne products can be drying, so remember to moisturize!
  • EltaMD Clear SPF – Essential for preventing hyperpigmentation, this product is light-weight and does not clog pores.
  • BMD Multi-HA Pads – A gentle chemical exfoliant in easy to use, travel-size pads!
  • Perfect Body Lotion – Keeps you hydrated from head to toe. The active ingredient glycolic acid helps exfoliate skin and prevent clogged pores.
If you’ve been struggling with acne, and over-the-counter products have not been hitting the mark, Schedule an Appointment with one of our dermatology specialists today.

3. Ask About Customized Compound Prescriptions

We know how difficult it is to wear your symptoms on your skin. It can be embarrassing, frustrating, and affect your self-esteem. That’s why our dermatology team has created customized compound prescriptions that are designed to make treating your acne more efficient, convenient and cost effective.

4. Avoid Touching or Picking at Your Face

Aggressively touching, picking or scrubbing at your face will only make things worse. In addition to causing scarring, picking can also lead to infections. If you’re experiencing an acne breakout, resist the urge to touch or pick, and your skin will thank you later. We know this is tough, because there is a knee-jerk reaction to do something to your skin, but the best thing to do is take it easy on your skin and let your skin care routine or prescription medication work it’s magic.

5. Don't Over-Exfoliate Your Face

With acne-prone skin, there is a delicate balance between aggressively treating your acne and not irritating your skin. Most acne-fighting ingredients will either exfoliate your skin, kill p. acnes bacteria, or modify the hormonal factors that influence acne. These ingredients can be very abrasive, so it’s important to be gentle with your skin before and after using these products. We encourage our patients to embrace the “less is more” mentality. Whereas some exfoliation is good, too much makes your face red and causes micro-fissures that encourage bacteria proliferation. And as far as exfoliation goes, we suggest chemical exfoliation only, meaning no scrubs, brushes, or microdermabrasion.

When Should I See a Dermatologist?

If acne is affecting your self-esteem or daily activities, or if over-the-counter treatments haven’t worked, you should see a dermatologist. A board-certified dermatologist can create a customized treatment plan that is right for you. At Bryn Mawr Dermatology, our team of board-certified dermatologists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of acne. We offer the latest technologies and treatments to help you achieve clear, healthy skin. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, contact us today. We will work with you to find the best treatment for your individual skin type. Let us help you attain the clear skin that you deserve!

Book an Appointment at Bryn Mawr Dermatology

At Bryn Mawr Dermatology, we believe in creating treatment plans that are unique to each patient. During your consultation, we listen closely to your concerns and recommend treatments to correct the specific issues you’re experiencing. Our dermatologists offer gentle topical solutions and advanced skincare to achieve beautiful and clear skin. Schedule an Appointment or call us at (610) 525-7800 today!

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