While acne may make you want to hide your head in the sand, we want you to know that it’s a common condition that varies in severity, depending on the individual. We treat many patients for acne, although some tell us they avoided seeing a dermatologist for as long as possible. They often thought their acne would clear up on its own or that they would find a cream or lotion that would help.
Knowing when to see a dermatologist can be difficult, but doing so will always be beneficial even if you only have mild acne. Let our dermatologist, Dr. Timothy Rodgers, MD, FAAD, help get your acne cleared up once and for all.
What exactly is acne?
Acne is a skin condition that develops when dead skin cells and oil clog your hair follicles. The condition usually causes blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples and generally appears on your forehead, face, shoulders, chest, and upper back. It’s a common condition in teens, but it can affect adults as well. In fact, adults make up 20 percent of all acne cases.
Acne signs and symptoms vary depending on the severity of your condition, but typically include:
- Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
- Blackheads (open plugged pores)
- Small red, tender bumps (papules)
- Pimples (pustules), which are papules with pus at their tips
- Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)
- Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)
Acne may get worse due to many physical, emotional, and environmental factors, including:
- Stress and anxiety
- Oil-based cosmetics
- Exposure to dirt or humidity
- Physically irritating clothing like hats, headbands, and helmets
- Hormonal changes or premenstrual changes
- Certain medications like lithium, phenytoin, rifampin, phenobarbital, and steroids
Why you should see a dermatologist for acne
When everything you’ve tried hasn’t worked, you may need some help from a dermatologist to find a suitable treatment plan. This may be especially true for teenagers who are dealing with acne for the first time. Dr. Rodgers can examine the acne and recommend an effective treatment.
One major reason to seek treatment from a dermatologist is that early treatment will give you a better chance of reducing scarring. Generally, the more serious your acne, the more chance there is of scarring. Even mild acne can leave scars if picked. Also, by receiving treatment early, you’ll prevent your acne from progressing into a more serious problem.
We may suggest trying a non-prescription strength acne product first for a few weeks, but if that treatment is not effective, we also have the option of trying a prescription-strength medication, such as Accutane. Accutane (isotretinoin) is a strong medication for treating acne. It takes around four to five months of treatment with Accutane before acne clears up, but it is potent enough to clear up any acne, including severe cases. More than two million individuals have taken Accutane, and its effectiveness and safety is well-known.
When you work with a dermatologist, you will also have other treatment options for acne, such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure that renews overall skin tone and texture and can improve the appearance of acne scarring. With a chemical peel, we apply a chemical solution to the skin, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinoic acid, to improve the appearance of acne scarring over time.
If you or your teenager has acne, contact Rodgers Dermatology to start the journey toward clear skin!
Schedule an appointment with us
If you are ready to learn more about the dermatology options that may be right for you, schedule a consultation with us here at Rogers Dermatology today by calling 972-704-2400 or booking your appointment online. In doing so, you’re taking the first step on your journey to beautiful, healthy skin.