Acne is the most common skin condition. Although it is common, accurate information about acne can be scarce. This can make it difficult to get clearer skin.
Why treat acne?
Myths about acne are as common as the skin problem itself. One common myth is that you have to let acne run its course.Dermatologists know that letting acne runs its course is not always the best advice.
• Without treatment, dark spots and permanent ‘scars’ can appear on the skin as acne clears.
• Treating acne often boosts a person’s self-esteem.
ACNE: SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Signs of acne
Many people think that acne is just pimples. But a person who has acne can have any of these blemishes:
• Pustules (most commonly known as pimples)
Acne can also appear on the back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms and buttocks.
Symptoms of acne
• Dark spots on the skin:These spots appear when the acne heals. It can take months or years for dark spots to disappear.
• Low self-esteem: Many people who have acne say that their acne makes them feel bad about themselves.
• Depression: Many people who have acne suffer from more than low self-esteem.
• Scars (permanent): People who get acne cysts and nodules often see scars when the acne clears. You can prevent these scars. Be sure to see a dermatologist for treatment if you get acne early — between 8 and 12 years old. If someone in your family had acne cysts and nodules, you also should see a dermatologist if you get acne. Treating acne before cysts and nodules appear can prevent scars.
When to see a dermatologist
If you have a lot of acne, cysts, or nodules, a medicine that you can buy without a prescription may not work. If you want to see clearer skin, you should see a dermatologist. Dermatologists offer the following types of treatment:
Acne treatment that you apply to the skin: Most acne treatments are applied to the skin. Your dermatologist may call this topical treatment. There are many topical acne treatments. Some creams help kill the bacteria. Others work on reducing oil on the skin. Your dermatologist will determine what you need.
Acne treatment that works throughout the body
Medicine that works throughout the body may be necessary when you have red, swollen types of acne. This type of treatment is usually necessary to treat acne cysts and nodules. Your dermatologist may prescribe one or more of these.
Procedures that treat acne
Your dermatologist may treat your acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These treatments include:
• Chemical peels: You cannot buy the chemical peels that dermatologists use. Dermatologists use chemical peels to treat 2 types of acne — blackheads and papules.
• Acne removal: Your dermatologist may perform a procedure called “drainage and extraction” to remove a large acne cyst. This procedure helps when the cyst does not respond to medicine. It also helps ease the pain and the chance that the cyst will leave a scar. If you absolutely have to get rid of a cyst quickly, your dermatologist may inject the cyst with medicine.
Waiting for acne to clear on its own can be frustrating. Without treatment, acne can cause permanent scars, low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.
To avoid these possible outcomes, dermatologists recommend that people treat acne. When the skin clears, treatment should continue. Treatment prevents new breakouts. Your dermatologist can tell you when you no longer need to treat acne to prevent breakouts.