What is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that happens when the pores on our skin get clogged causing inflamed pimples, and deeper cysts. Acne can be on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Although acne is most common in teenagers it can also affect adults at all ages. Acne can clear up on its own without treatment, but some cases can be severe lasting for months or even years. For many with moderate to severe acne, scarring can leave permanent marks and pitting.

What Causes Acne?

Acne is caused when pores in our skin get clogged.  A clog usually begins with dead skin cells sticking together inside our pores.  Typically dead skin cells rise to the surface and the body sheds the cells without problem. Sometimes our body will produce too much sebum, oil that keeps our skin from drying out. This oil becomes the binding agent for these dead skin cells causing issues with our body’s ability to shed the dead skin cells.

A clogged pore is also a perfect place for bacteria to grow and multiply quickly. This is when the pore can become red and swollen and takes on a ‘pimple’ appearance. The inflamed pore can be deep enough to cause an acne cyst or nodule.

Treatment Options

There are many medications and treatment options available for patients suffering from acne. Some treatment recommendations may include topical medication, oral medication, laser procedures for scarring, and home prevention.

Medications your dermatologist might recommend are:

  • Topical medication
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Birth control pills
  • Accutane

Acne Extraction or Acne “Surgery”

Acne extractions, also known as acne surgery, involve the use of a sterile tool to remove trapped material within a pimple, whitehead, or blackhead. This also opens the pores to allow topical medication in more effectively. Acne extraction is not the same as popping a pimple at home and should only be performed by a dermatologist to prevent the risk of skin damage and scaring. We generally recommend patients to receive acne extractions every 2-4 weeks in combination with other acne treatments to maintain acne free skin.

Acne Scarring

Although Acne is a common skin condition that does not have systemic concerns it can leave lasting scars on the face chest and back that have long term psychological and emotional effects on many teenagers and adults. Once the active acne is controlled or no longer present there are treatments available to help diminish the appearance of the redness and indentations that acne can leave behind.

Treatment options include:

  • IPL- 1540- non ablative laser for acne scarring
  • Microneedling
  • Chemical peels
  • IPL photofacials for redness
  • CO2 fractional laser for scars

Prevention:

Acne might not always be preventable, but it can be controlled. With the help of your dermatologist and a good home care regimen, you should be able to control your acne. It is important to remember to wash your face daily and follow your dermatologist home care instructions.

If you’re prone to acne related skin problems, talk with your dermatologist about what the best course of treatment for you would be. A dermatologist at Seattle Skin & Laser can examine your skin and set you on the right track to clearing your acne.

Frequently Asked Questions About Acne

What is the difference between acne and pimples?

The terms ‘acne’ and ‘pimples’ are sometimes used interchangeably, but it’s important to know that there’s a difference. In general, ‘acne’ is a skin condition that sometimes causes pimples to manifest. Conversely, acne does not always result in pimples.

Does drinking water help acne?

Yes! Ensuring your body has the water it needs is a good way to keep your skin hydrated, meaning your skin can cut down on its oil production (which is your skin’s natural method of moisturizing). Make sure to drink water every day along with eating a healthy and varied diet.

Can my makeup cause acne?

Not all makeup will cause acne, but certain types can clog pores because of comedogenic ingredients. If makeup seems to be causing your acne, try switching brands or opting for powder products over liquid. Also, make sure to keep your brushes clean and thoroughly cleanse your makeup off every night.

Is extraction good for acne?

It depends on the type of acne. When performed by a skincare professional with sterile tools, extractions can help clear up existing acne. If not performed correctly, it can cause unwanted scarring or additional breakouts.

How long do acne extractions take to heal?

Most blemishes can take about five to seven days to heal after extraction, although this can depend on factors like the depth and severity of your breakouts. Your skincare specialist can give you instructions to follow to make sure your skin heals without scarring.

Can acne be surgically removed?

Acne extraction is sometimes called “acne surgery” and is an effective way to drain and clean out large acne cysts, but can come with a risk of scarring. There are also many other options that can be effective for severe breakouts like laser treatments, steroid injections, and medication use.

What is the best acne treatment for adults?

Depending on what’s causing your acne, the best treatment may actually be a combination of medication orally/topically, home products, chemical peels, and acne facials. You should consult your skincare specialist about the right at-home regimen for your skin, as well as medications like Accutane or birth control.

What causes acne in adults?

Although a majority of people experience acne during puberty, some people still experience acne as an adult. This can have many causes like genetics, hormones, or skin type.

How do you treat hormonal acne in adults?

Hormonal acne in adult women can be effectively treated with certain types of birth control. However, other typical acne medications can be effective, as well as making lifestyle changes like managing stress.

What are the main causes of acne?

There are a few factors that can cause acne to flare up, like certain medications, stress, and hormonal changes. Additionally, certain skin types can be more prone to causing acne.

What foods cause acne?

Food doesn’t cause acne but the way your body breaks it down can cause more sluggish response and inflammation. If you’re struggling with acne, it can make it worse.

How long until acne clears?

It can take at least four to six weeks to see improvement when trying a new acne treatment or product. Make sure to be consistent and patient during this time before deciding to switch to a new treatment method.

Is acne a sign of poor health?

No, more of an imbalance of skin. Some acne can simply be caused by certain skin types or genetic disposition.

How do I know if my acne is hormonal or bacterial?

There are some signs that can indicate your acne is hormonal, like the type of blemishes that manifest (cysts rather than whiteheads) and location (the lower face). Additionally, hormonal acne is likely to occur in tandem with certain phases of your menstrual cycle. Ultimately, a dermatologist will assess and then make recommendations.

Is extraction good for acne?

It depends on the type of acne. When performed by a skincare professional with sterile tools, extractions can help clear up existing acne. If not performed correctly, it can cause unwanted scarring or additional breakouts.

How long do acne extractions take to heal?

Most blemishes can take about five to seven days to heal after extraction, although this can depend on factors like the depth and severity of your breakouts. Your skincare specialist can give you instructions to follow to make sure your skin heals without scarring.

Can acne be surgically removed?

Acne extraction is sometimes called “acne surgery” and is an effective way to drain and clean out large acne cysts, but can come with a risk of scarring. There are also many other options that can be effective for severe breakouts like laser treatments, steroid injections, and medication use.

What is the best acne treatment for adults?

Depending on what’s causing your acne, the best treatment may actually be a combination of medication orally/topically, home products, chemical peels, and acne facials. You should consult your skincare specialist about the right at-home regimen for your skin, as well as medications like Accutane or birth control.