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ACNE, the Other Four Letter Word

Published on July 12, 2018 by

Did you know that June is National Acne Awareness Month? I am so glad to share information about acne with you because I cannot tell you how many people of ALL ages and races I treat for acne. I honestly have to say it is a pretty distressing diagnosis and I, too, suffer from it. Do you know anyone that has not had a pimple at least once in their lifetime? NO! It can appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and at the worst time such as a job interview or photo session! UGH!

So, what exactly is acne besides the “other four letter word?” It all starts with with pores becoming clogged with something called sebum. This is an oil your body depends on to lubricate and moisturize the skin. If it starts building up (traffic jam) in a follicle (pore), it can make the pore swell up. When pores are clogged, they appear larger. However, keep in mind that your “original” pore size is dependent on genetics.

There are multiple causes which can include one or all of these:

Hormones: Puberty, Menstrual periods, pregnancy, menopause.
Stress: Will not cause acne but can trigger the hormones that do.
Genetics: No more needs to be said, thanks mom!
Products: Oily skin care or hair products can lead to acne flares by blocking pores.
Physical pressure: Facial scrubs, helmets, chinstraps and even collars.
Medications: Steroids. Lithium, IUDs (changing to progesterone only birth control)
Occupations: Industrial products or excessive sweating. Also, see Stress, LOL!
Food: Dairy or sugary foods.

What makes it better is finding your trigger and taking control of it. This may not be so easy as are cannot control our genetics, occupations or required medications for our health conditions but we can receive guidance for the correct treatment to control the severity of it. Usually, you need more than one treatment modality because of what each product targets (i.e. bacteria, oil, clogging, etc.)

Acne can come in various/forms such as Mild(comedones), Moderate(pustules with increased comedones), or Severe(cystic, painful). I believe I would be accurate in stating that everyone has at least one blackhead on their skin – Voila, you have comedonal acne! These are usually the result of sebum (oil) clogging the pore and once exposed to oxygen, it turns black. An accumulation of the sebum is a perfect environment for the natural bacteria that live on your skin (normal flora). This bacteria is known as Propionibacterium acnes (aka P.acnes) and can lead to papules, pustules and more inflammation (cystic acne) which can be painful and eventually lead to scarring.

A combination of treatments make up the symphony of a good regimen. You have to understand WHY a certain product is prescribed for YOU. An example is medication such as birth control pills that may actually prevent acne. There are only a handful FDA approved and they are NOT for everyone. A product that your BFF has may be the completely wrong product for you. It is best to have a medical provider evaluate and guide you.

As a Derm Detective, I love to investigate the cause of acne in each individual person I see. Nonetheless, it is best to be completely honest with your dermatologist, Derm NP or Derm PA for the best treatment. Also, it takes time for a treatment to work. BE PATIENT and COMPLIANT as it can take up to 3 MONTHS of continuous use for you to see results. Make sure you always follow up when you are scheduled and don’t become a product junkie by purchasing products your friends swear are “the best.” If you are having any problems tolerating your RX, please call your medical provider immediately.

Remember, as medical providers, we are on your side and WANT you to be happy with your results. MUAH!

MicroPeel Chicago

MicroPeel is a two-step procedure that is customized for all skin types and colors to create a more youthful and fresh appearance by reducing skin dullness, hyperpigmentation, minor breakouts and fine lines. The first step in the MicroPeel is Dermaplaning which is performed to remove dead, dry skin cells and vellus hairs (“peach fuzz”) on the skin’s surface. The second step is the Chemical Peel which corrects superficial skin damage, brightens skin tone and stimulates the body’s natural collagen production to reduce textural irregularities.

For many patients, 4-6 MicroPeel treatments will be done 4 weeks apart followed by maintenance treatments. A package of 4 treatments can be purchased at a reduced price. Often times, patients will rotate this treatment with Dermasweeps, Lasers, or Microneedling depending on the patient’s concerns and goals for optimal improvement. If you are interested in learning more about the MicroPeel process and to find out if it may be right for you, contact our office to schedule your consultation today.

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