What is Acne?
Acne is one of the most common, chronic disorders affecting the hair follicle and sebaceous gland, causing a blockage of the follicle and inflammation. It mostly affects teenagers but also affects adult males and females of all races and ethnicity. 85% of 16-18 year olds are affected by acne. Acne is characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and deep lumps (cysts or nodules) that look like and feel like boils. Acne most commonly occurs on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. The most common signs of acne are blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pimples, cysts or nodules. Acne causes blemishes that can lead to low self-esteem.
The cause of acne is multi-factorial. In normal skin, oil glands under the skin, known as sebaceous glands, produce an oily substance called sebum. When the sebaceous glands produce too much oil on the skin’s surface, and combines with sloughed-off skin cells, it causes the pores in the skin to become plugged. This is when bacteria begins to multiply and leads to inflammation, or acne on the skin. Genetics, hormones, menstruation and stress can also have a role in acne. Flares of acne can be provoked by polycystic ovarian disease, drugs (steroids, hormones, etc.) humidity, diets that consists of high amounts of dairy products as well as the use of occlusive cosmetics.
Treating acne can be a slow process because there is no overnight solution.
Topical treatments such as retinoid, vitamin A cream, benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics are standard for mild acne. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed in conjunction with topical treatments, to manage moderate to severe acne. They may also be used to treat acne that is resistant to topical therapies or that covers large areas of the body.
For severe acne cases, isotretinoin, also known as Accutane may be prescribed. Isotretinoin is the only medication approved for severe cystic and scarring acne, which is the most serious form of acne. Additional treatments may also include oral contraception pills or Spironolactone for hormonal control.
BLU-U Light Therapy may also be recommended. This treatment clears skin of acne by killing the bacteria that causes it. A fluorescent blue light is used to target the oil and the glands bacteria which promotes acne breakouts. The blue light is toxic to this bacteria. BLU-U is safe, fast, painless and very effective.