January is the traditional time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions…
Though acne can be a nuisance, for most teenagers it’s a harmless skin condition that begins at the onset of puberty and fades into the distance after a few years.
But for some, acne can leave both physical and emotional scars.
“Teens may joke about acne with each other, but it can cause serious self-esteem issues and even lead to depression,” says Dr. Richard Price, of Price Skincare Clinic in Ridgeland, MS. “Parents should take their teenager’s acne seriously to avoid emotional issues and to encourage lifelong healthy skincare habits.”
In the first of this two-part series on acne, we’ll answer basic questions about the skin condition. In the second part we’ll give you some tips for managing it.
What is acne?
Acne is a term used to describe visible lesions on the skin of the face, neck, back and chest. These lesions can appear as small black dots, larger white bumps and other malformations on the skin.
What causes acne?
The skin gets acne when pores are plugged or clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria, microscopic hairs and oils.
There are a number of myths about acne – most of them untrue. For example, acne is not caused by: greasy foods, cosmetics or dirty skin.
Heredity and hormones are the primary culprits of this skin condition.
Are there different kinds of acne?
Yes, there are five different kinds of acne:
• Blackheads: characterized by small, flat spots with dark centers
• Whiteheads: small flesh-colored bumps
• Pimples: raised red spots with a white center
• Deep Cysts: painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin
• Nodules: large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin
Blackheads and whiteheads can develop into swollen, tender inflammations, pimples, cysts or nodules. They should not be picked open or squeezed as this can cause scarring and even spread the bacteria to surrounding skin, resulting in more clogged pores.
For moderate to severe cases of acne, a physician can extract the material clogging the pores using professional methods in a sterile environment.
Who gets acne?
• Acne can affect anyone regardless of age, race or gender
• Acne is the most common skin problem in the United States, affecting 40-50 million people at any given time
• Eighty percent of those with acne are between the ages of 12-17
• Some experience occasional flare-ups while others have persistent cases
• Severe forms of acne tend to occur more often in young men
• Young women are more likely to have acne with a hormonal cause that is related to their menstrual cycle
• For most, acne vanishes by the time they reach their 20s
• Others can suffer from the skin condition into in their 30s and 40s
How is acne treated?
Acne treatments vary, depending on the severity of the acne and the age of the sufferer.
Treatment options include a combination of:
• Over-the-counter skin care lotions, cleansers and creams
• Prescription medications like retinoids and antibiotics
• Laser treatments
• Chemical peels
• Drainage and extraction procedures
For more information about acne and available treatment options, call Price Skincare Clinic for an appointment at: (601) 992-3996.