Even though acne is often deemed a rite of passage for teenagers, the reality is that it’s a real medical condition that can affect people of all ages. Palo Alto Laser and Skin Care takes acne seriously because it is a serious medical condition—or at least it can be. There are many different types of acne, from the mild and common whiteheads and blackheads to the more severe, painful, and scar-inducing cystic acne. When over-the-counter topicals fail to control your acne (as they often do, particularly for severe and chronic acne), you still have options. Prescription-strength medications, chemical peels, broadband light (BBL) energy-based therapy, and Fraxel Dual lasers can all be effective at stopping and preventing acne.
Acne can hurt and cause scarring, but it isn’t considered a serious health condition. However, it can certainly lower self-esteem and self-confidence. Acne is caused by inflamed skin glands and can be triggered or exacerbated by a number of factors including hormone fluctuations. That’s why it’s so common in teens (as well as those who are pregnant or experiencing menopause). Technically, acne is a “disease” that affects the pilosebaceous units or PSUs that are found right under the skin—most commonly on the face, chest, and upper back. These glands, which link to hair follicles, create oily sebum that is released onto the skin from the hair follicles. When this process gets obstructed, some types of acne can occur.
Debunking Acne Myths
A lot of myths about acne persist, such as it being caused by poor hygiene. That simply isn’t true. However, those with acne can benefit from medicated washes that have ingredients designed to stop and prevent acne. The best medications include those recommended by a skin expert and might include resorcinol, sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid. Simply washing with soap and water is not effective at treating acne.
There is also no strong link between diet and acne. Our skin is our largest organ, and as such a healthy overall diet is important for it to function at its best. However, eating the occasional chocolate bar or pizza slice isn’t going to “cause” acne. Another myth is that acne simply needs to run its course. There are many treatments for acne that make it possible to avoid having to put up with this condition. Finding the right treatment for you might require trial and error, and is best undertaken with the help of an expert.
Options for Acne
In addition to prescription medications, many clients with acne benefit from chemical peels. These peels come in a variety of strengths, and a light or medium peel can help to remove the lingering signs of acne such as hyperpigmentation and scarring. Peels do just what the name implies, peels away the top layer(s) of skin to reveal brighter skin below the surface and encourage collagen production. A chemical peel is not appropriate for active acne, but can be a fantastic tool to get rid of the telltale signs of acne breakouts from the past.
BBL is another fantastic method for treating acne and old signs of acne. It uses an energy-based approach to remove hyperpigmentation, scarring, and improve skin texture and tone. There is minimal downtime for BBL, making it an easy lunchtime procedure. BBL is also a popular tool for anti-aging as it can treat fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity, too.
Understanding Your Acne
The most common type of acne produces papules, which are inflamed areas that look like little pink bumps. They can be tender to touch or not. Pustules, or “pimples,” are the common pus-filled bumps that can have a red base. Nodules are a more serious form of acne and present as bigger, painful lesions that feel firm and deep inside the skin. Finally, cysts are the most painful and largest. They are full of pus and most commonly cause scarring.
Severe acne, like the cystic type, can cause serious skin damage that lasts a lifetime—or does it? The Fraxel Dual laser is one of the most powerful tools for addressing acne scarring and hyperpigmentation. This non-ablative laser can treat a variety of skin conditions without creating open wounds on the skin’s surface, which leads to a quicker and easier healing process.
Are you ready to say goodbye to acne and the signs of acne for good? Connect with Palo Alto Laser and Skin Care. We offer complimentary consultations on all treatments and will work with you to develop a custom plan. Complete the online form or call the office today.