Acne — the Four-Letter Word for a Teen
- Posted on: Nov 15 2017
Do you have a confident teenager? That confidence can quickly vanish when they see the beginnings of a breakout on their face. The next sound you could hear is the closing of a bedroom door that could stay closed until the breakout runs its course.
Acne is the bane of pretty much every teenager. But acne treatment has come a long way, so there’s no need for your teenager to suffer as much as you may have when you were a breakout-prone high school student. Dr. Musick has various treatment approaches to address your teen’s acne issues. Each treatment is personalized to the individual situation.
What is behind the breakouts?
Everyone still thinks eating one too many chocolate bars or potato chips leads to acne. Not true, although that is a long-accepted wives’ tale. There is no solid research finding a link between food and acne breakouts.
Acne is caused by the sebaceous glands. These are the glands that produce the oil that keeps our skin and hair moist. Most sebaceous glands are attached to the hair follicles. Unfortunately, during puberty, when teenage hormones are raging, those hormones trigger the sebaceous glands to overproduce oil. This overproduction means that the oil can’t leave the follicle fast enough and the follicle clogs. That clogged follicle is a prime spot for bacteria to accumulate and thrive. It’s thought that the chemical breakdown of triglycerides in the sebum releases fatty acids that trigger an inflammatory response. This irritation shows itself in pimples and other blemishes. Fully clogged pores will lead to whiteheads; partially clogged pores will lead to blackheads. Like most things, there are degrees of acne from mild to extreme, plus some forms of acne can cause permanent scarring.
Different types of acne, different treatments
Most cases of acne fit into three categories: comedonal, inflammatory, and cystic. Comedonal acne is the earliest stage and can be addressed with over-the-counter products and prescription creams. Inflammatory and cystic acne is more serious and demands more aggressive treatment. These will usually involve prescription topical applications, retinoids, even antibiotics. Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline, tetracycline, minocycline, or erythromycin kill bacteria in the clogged sebaceous glands and reduce inflammation.
How Dr. Musick treats acne
Although there are common symptoms of acne sufferers, Dr. Musick personalizes every acne treatment to the patient, depending on factors listed above and other issues.
- Mild acne — In cases of mild, usually comedal acne, Dr. Musick can recommend products that help clear things out. These will usually contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or retinoids. They don’t work overnight, but in a month or two will show significant improvement.
- Moderate to severe acne — This requires attention to keep the acne from causing scarring and to lessen the severity of breakouts. Topical treatments go after the bacteria that have accumulated in the clogged follicles. Others seek to reduce the overproduction of oil that is causing the clogging. These products may include the same ingredients used for mild acne, only in prescription dosages.
But it may be necessary to prescribe the above-listed antibiotics or other drugs to kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation, particularly in cases of cystic acne. Isotretinoin (also sometimes known by the brand name Accutane) is a prescription treatment that is effective for all types of acne but is usually only used in severe cases. It restricts the skin’s ability to produce natural oils.
Otherwise, hormonal treatments can help when adult women have hormone-triggered breakouts. Finally, manual extraction using a small metal instrument opens clogged pores.
If your teenager is unhappily dealing with acne, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Musick. There’s no reason to suffer through it any longer. Call us at 618-628-2588.
Posted in: Acne