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Acne and Acne Scarring

What is Acne?

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs on areas of skin that contains hair. Although predominantly seen in teenagers, nobody is exempt from this disease. Regardless of skin type and life style, approximately 80% of the population will suffer from acne at some point in their lives.

The causes of acne are multi-factorial, including hormonal changes, stress, diet, allergies, and skin hygiene. Acne is a direct result of the obstruction and plugging of the hair follicle secondary to over- production of sebum (oil produced by the sebaceous glands). In the most severe cases, this will result in rupture of the hair follicle and extension into the surrounding tissue. The combination of the resultant inflammatory changes and growth of the ever present P. acne bacteria will produce superficial infected purulent pustules (pimples) and/or deep painful and firm cysts. All of these acute entities may result in permanent scars.

How is acne treated?

Treatment of acne is based on the severity and extent of the disease. The therapeutic approach is usually based on a combination of treatments. These treatments may include antibiotics (topical or oral), retinoids, levulenic acids, medical Microdermabrasion, medical Chemical Peels, Blue/Red Light Therapy (LED), Intense Pulse Light (IPL), and medical lasers.

Emphasis is on elimination or significant reduction of the acne outbreaks and secondary inflammations. Maintenance of skin hygiene and daily use of physician-grade skin care products is a major tool in achieving success.

How is acne scarring treated?

Treatment of acne scarring should be initiated following several months of the remission of acute acne. Steroids (topical or intra-lesion injections) can be used to reduce or eliminate the firm cysts. Topical “bleaching” agents and Intense Pulse Light (IPL) is used to correct the resultant skin color changes. Medical lasers are used to improve the appearance of the skin and to repair the small to moderate sized depressed scars. Both IPL and medical laser treatments will benefit significantly from the addition of medical Microdermabrasion and medical Chemical Peel treatments.

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