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Dermatology & Skin Surgery Specialists of Arizona


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What is Acne?

Acne is a chronic skin condition characterized by the formation of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and sometimes cysts or nodules. It most commonly occurs on the face, but can also affect the neck, chest, back, and shoulders. Acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, leading to inflammation and the formation of various lesions.

Causes of Acne
  • Excess Sebum Production: Sebum is an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands. When sebum production increases, it can contribute to clogged pores and acne development.
  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during puberty, menstrual cycles, or hormonal imbalances, can trigger acne breakouts.
  • Bacterial Infection: The presence of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria on the skin can contribute to acne formation.
  • Clogged Hair Follicles: When dead skin cells and excess oil accumulate in hair follicles, they can block the pores and lead to acne.
Types of Acne
  • Comedones: Comedones are non-inflammatory acne lesions that can appear as either whiteheads (closed comedones) or blackheads (open comedones).
  • Papules: Papules are small, raised, inflamed bumps on the skin.
  • Pustules: Pustules are similar to papules but contain pus at their tips, giving them a white or yellow appearance.
  • Nodules: Nodules are larger, deeper, solid, painful lesions that develop beneath the skin’s surface.
  • Cysts: Cysts are deep, pus-filled lesions that are often painful and can lead to scarring.
Treatment Options for Acne
  • Topical Medications: Topical treatments such as retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and hormone modulators can help reduce inflammation, unclog pores, and kill bacteria.
  • Oral Medications: In more severe cases, oral medications such as antibiotics, hormonal therapies (e.g., oral contraceptives, spironolactone), or isotretinoin may be prescribed.
  • Professional Procedures: Our clinic can perform procedures such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, hydrafacial, or corticosteroid injections to help treat acne and minimize scarring.
  • Lifestyle and Skincare Tips: Adopting a consistent skincare routine, avoiding harsh products, gently cleansing the skin, and using non-comedogenic products can help manage acne. Additionally, lifestyle factors like maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress, and avoiding picking or squeezing acne lesions are important for overall acne management.
Prevention and Self-Care
  • Cleanse the skin twice daily with a gentle cleanser.
  • Avoid excessive scrubbing or harsh exfoliation, as this can worsen acne.
  • Use non-comedogenic skincare and cosmetic products.
  • Protect the skin from the sun with a non-comedogenic sunscreen.
  • Avoid picking, squeezing, or popping acne lesions to prevent scarring.
  • Manage stress levels through relaxation techniques, exercise, or counseling if needed.

Acne is a common skin condition that can significantly impact one’s confidence and quality of life. With proper understanding, appropriate treatment, and a consistent skincare routine, acne can be effectively managed. If you or a loved one is struggling with acne, please call and schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled board-certified medical providers who will create and discuss a personalized treatment tailored to your specific needs.