In the United States, acne is considered the most common skin condition. Although this is the case, at times it is difficult to find reliable information on the topic. This is due to varying opinions on what acne is and how it should best be treated. Today, a growing number of adults, specifically women, are experiencing acne well into their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. For this reason, if you find yourself suffering from acne, no matter your age, it is recommended to be seen by a dermatologist.

The Cause of Acne

Acne can affect a person of any age from newborn well into adulthood, although you most commonly hear of acne affecting teens and young adults. Acne is caused by a clogged skin pore. When your body sheds dead skin, the dead skin usually rises to the surface of the pore and is shed. However, when your body produced an overabundance of sebum, an oil, it can cause the dead skin cells to stick together and remain in the pore. This causes the pore to become clogged, resulting in acne.

At times, bacteria from your skin can also make its way into the clogged pore. Bacteria find favorable conditions inside of the pore and begin to multiply, causing the pore to become irritated (appearing red and inflamed). If the bacteria makes it way deep enough under the skin, a nodule or acne cyst can appear.

Signs You May Be Suffering From Acne

Although most often people consider acne to be on the face, it can also appear on the back, chest, shoulders, neck, upper arms, and buttoks. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you may be dealing with acne. Acne can appear in a variety of methods, such as:

  • Cysts
  • Whiteheads
  • Papules
  • Pimples (also known as pustules)
  • Blackheads
  • Nodules

Tips for Combating Acne

If you are experiencing acne, below are a few useful tips:

  • Wash your face frequently using your fingertips (twice and day and after sweating)
  • Opt for gentle products
  • Avoid water that is too hot (lukewarm water is ideal for cleansing)
  • Shampoo hair on a regular basis
  • Avoid the temptation to pop pimples or squeeze acne (keep your hands off your face!)
  • Limit sun exposure and avoid tanning beds

Why Acne Sufferers Should Seek Treatment

If you suffer from acne it is wise to seek medical advice from a dermatologist. If left untreated the following may occur:

  • Dark spots may permanently remain on skin
  • Scars can be left from acne after it clears
  • Low self-esteem and self image
  • Depression as a result of low self-esteem
  • With many effective treatments available today, treating acne can not only help to clear skin, but can also help to boost confidence and self-esteem.

How is Acne Diagnosed

The knowledgeable dermatologists at Blue Ridge Dermatology will examine your skin to determine if you are suffering from acne. If it is determined that you have acne, your dermatologist will diagnose the type and well as the severity. Severity is determined by giving the acne a grade from 1 to 4. A grade of 1 is mild and a grade of 4 is severe.

How is Acne Treated

Although there are numerous types of over the counter acne treatments on the market, at times a dermatologist is needed to help clear up hard to beat acne. Your dermatologist will determine the best treatment method  for your type of acne. Types of acne treatment include:

  • Topical treatments applied directly to the skin
  • Oral treatments such as antibiotics
  • Procedures such as lasers, chemical peels, and acne removal

Contact Blue Ridge Dermatology Today

If you are suffering from acne, contact Blue Ridge Dermatology today to schedule an appointment with one of our acne specialists. Our team will work to clear your acne and prevent acne breakouts in the future, as well as to minimize the long term affects of acne on your skin.