Acne is the most common skin condition in the United State affecting 40-50 million people. Not only do teenagers and young adults get acne but it can occur at any age presenting in many adults. It can appear on the face, chest, back, shoulders, upper arms, and buttocks. Even though many people think that acne is called pimples it can present in different ways: whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules. Acne should be treated because studies have shown that people with acne can have low self-esteem and in some cases depression. Some “blemishes” can cause dark spots on the skin that can take months to years to disappear. Also, acne can lead to scars especially in those who develop cysts and nodules.
What causes acne?
Factors affecting acne include genetics, hormones, a bacteria named Propioni bacterium acnes, and stress. Diet may also have an unclear role. Acne appears when a pore gets clogged by dead skin cells and sebum (oil). Sometimes bacteria in a pore causes it to become red and swollen causing a cyst or nodule.
There are many effective treatments of acne. Over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can be helpful; it can take 4-8 weeks to see an improvement. But if not and there is a lot of acne, cysts, nodules or scarring you should see a dermatologist. Some treatments require retinoids, topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics, hormonal treatments like birth control pills and spironolactone and occasionally isotretinoin. There are procedures that can also improve acne hyperpigmentation (brown spots) and scarring such as acne extractions including draining and injecting cysts, chemical peels, micro dermabrasions, and laser acne treatments. Dr Hayag will take a comprehensive history and discuss the best treatment options for each patient in New York.