Skin Condition Acne

Acne bumps appear when sebaceous glands in the skin become clogged. They can become clogged by trapped dead skin cells, makeup, creams, or due to an excess of sebum (oil) production by the glands. When the glands become clogged, the sebaceous glands continue to produce oil resulting in a pimple. Bacteria find the clogged oil glands to be the perfect home to increase their numbers and cause increased inflammation.  

Types of Acne Lesions

While clogged oil glands are the common pathway by which acne lesions form, the bumps themselves can take on a variety of forms:

  • Whiteheads: Whiteheads are follicles that are closed off from the skin surface. Sebum builds up inside the pore and the white color can represent sebum, dead skin cells, or bacteria collecting under the skin. 
  • Blackheads: Blackheads form when the follicle has become clogged but remains open to the skin surface. The edges of the follicle expand making the pore appear larger. The dark appearance of blackheads is due to the oxidation of sebum.
  • Pustules: Pustules are blisters or pimples on the skin that contain purulent material (pus).  They represent a more advanced infection of the follicle with a resultant build-up of bacteria and dead skin cells in the lesion. Pustules are usually tender and can appear very inflamed.
  • Cystic acne: Cystic acne appears as large red painful bumps under the skin.  It is a  severe form of acne where the bumps occur deep under the skin surface and can sometimes rupture the sebaceous glands due to a buildup of sebum and pus inside the gland.  Cystic acne can be difficult to treat since topical medications cannot readily reach these lesions. 

Acne Triggers

Acne may be caused by any of the following:

Hormone Disruptions: increased hormone levels during puberty can result in increased size of the sebaceous glands and more sebum production. Mid-life changes in hormone levels or hormone level changes due to pregnancy can also cause increased acne. 

Medications: certain medications are known to trigger increased acne lesions. Some of the well known medications that can trigger acne include steroids or lithium.

Stress: While stress isn’t a cause of acne, it can worsen acne in individuals who already have acne. 

Diet: Carbohydrate-rich foods may worsen acne in certain individuals.

Acne Treatments and Acne Scarring Treatments

We have a variety of options available to our patients to help limit the activity of acne by using topical or oral medications and skin care regimens that are calming to acne-prone skin. We also have light therapy options for acne such as blue light or pulsed dye laser or intense pulsed light. We also will work with patients suffering from the lingering redness and pitted, rolling, depressed, or raised scars from acne.  These cosmetic treatment options include the use of chemical peels, TCA CROSS method for ice pick scarring, pulsed dye laser for redness, and resurfacing lasers. We also specialize in subcision for depressed or boxcar scarring. Raised scars can be alleviated with laser-assisted delivery of medications or intralesional injection of the scars in combination with resurfacing. Dr. Gammon has helped hundreds of acne patients clear their skin of active acne lesions and dramatically improve the appearance of acne scarring. We thoroughly appreciate the dramatic effect acne and acne scarring can have on patient quality of life, depression, and social stress, and will do all that we can to ensure our patients have the best cosmetic outcome. Please don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation at Juniper Dermatology to learn more about the many options we have to help you or your loved ones with their acne concerns. 

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Effective June 30, 2023 Juniper Dermatology is closed

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