Acne - Diagnosis & Treatment

Acne is a common, benign skin condition characterized by localized breakouts in the form of postures, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Although acne is most common in teens, adults may also experience episodes of acne breakouts.

The worst part about acne is its appearance. Since acne most frequently occurs on the face, breakouts can cause extreme embarrassment and lead to a lack of self-confidence.

Acne is highly treatable by your dermatologist.

What are the Symptoms of Acne?

Since there are many types of acne, symptoms can vary depending on the type and severity.

Generally, the most common symptoms of acne include:

  • Whiteheads. These are pores that are both closed and plugged.
  • Blackheads. These happen in pores that are plugged, yet still open.
  • Papules. These are small bumps that are red and tender to the touch.
  • Pimples. Commonly known as pustules. These are papules, but they have pus at their tips.
  • Nodules. These are painful lumps under the skin that are solid and typically large.
  • Cystic lesions. These are defined as pus-filled lumps under the skin that are quite painful.

Types of Acne

The two most common forms of acne are:

  • Noninflammatory
  • Inflammatory

Within these categories are subcategories. For example, noninflammatory acne is characterized by blackheads and whiteheads, both of which rarely cause swelling and usually respond to over-the-counter medications.

As for inflammatory acne, this includes papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. This type of acne is more difficult to treat since it involves infections that are deeper underneath the skin.

What Causes Acne?

When acne appears, it is due to four main factors that may work in combination with one another. These include:

  • Hair follicles clogged by dead skin cells and oil
  • Excess production of oil
  • Inflammation
  • Bacteria

Along with these factors, other things can trigger an acne attack or worsen existing acne. Among these are:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Diet

When hormonal changes occur during puberty or midlife, androgen production increases and can trigger or worsen acne. Also, medications containing testosterone or corticosteroids can make acne worse.

Treatment for Acne

You may have spent a lot of time trying various treatments to get rid of your acne. But the best treatment for all types of acne is dermatologic treatment.

If you have seen no improvements or your acne has worsened, it's time to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.

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