Whether you’re dealing with your first acne breakout or (what seems like) your millionth, you want your pimples gone. Fast.
Here at Specialists in Dermatology, located in Houston and Woodlands, Texas, we have prescription-strength medications to get rid of acne and state-of-the-art treatments to improve the quality and health of your skin, so it’s less likely to break out again. Our dermatology experts custom-design treatments depending on the type of acne you have, how severe it is, and any other skin issues you have.
Understanding the Anatomy of Acne
Building a pimple looks something like this:
- Your body produces too many androgens (hormones like testosterone)
- The androgens make your hair follicles create extra sebum — the oily, waxy substance that usually protects your skin and keeps it moist
- The sebum sticks to the dead skin cells in your follicles, making them clump together, forming whiteheads and blackheads
- The clumps of dead skin and sebum provide a feast for a bacterium that lives on your skin — Propionibacterium acnes (P acnes for short)
- Too many P acnes jammed in your follicles causes inflammation
- The inflammation results in a big, red bump, aka a pimple, zit, or cyst
Over-the-counter medications may help clear your acne by drying up the excess sebum and killing the P acnes. But treatments at Specialists in Dermatology address all of the factors that are causing your particular case of acne.
Dry it up
Prescription topical creams or lotions to dry up your pimples and excess sebum, are stronger the products you buy at the drug store. They may also contain retinoids that help speed up skin-cell turnover so that your follicles stay clear of clumps.
If you have severe or cystic acne, our physicians may recommend oral isotretinoin (Accutane®) to shrink the size of your oil glands, slow down skin-cell production, and calm inflammation. Isotretinoin is a powerful medication that can only be used in the short term. You can’t take isotretinoin if you’re pregnant or may become pregnant.
Get rid of those dead cells
Because your skin cells aren’t shedding normally, the dermatologist may recommend a chemical peel to remove the top layer of your skin and clear out your follicles (aka pores). Chemical peels also stimulate your skin to produce more collagen and elastin, which makes your skin healthier and less susceptible to P acne infection. You may need a series of chemical peel treatments to get rid of blackheads, whiteheads, and other lesions.
Halt the hormones
In some cases, women who suffer from acne are prescribed birth control pills to stop their body from producing too many androgens.
Kill the P acnes
Although many of the topical therapies and treatments such as creams and chemical peels can lower the number of P acnes on your skin, you may need stronger treatment. In these cases, we may recommend oral antibiotics to kill the excess bacteria.
A direct hit
Large, cystic nodules require heavy guns. To fight back, we may inject your lesions with steroids to clear them up within days. We may also drain and surgically remove the lesion to reduce the chance of scarring.
We can also get rid of blackheads and whiteheads through extraction. Never try to remove blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, or cysts yourself because you can permanently damage and scar your skin.
If your acne isn’t responding to your at-home treatments, or if it’s a chronic problem, contact the Specialists in Dermatology for a consultation. Use the online form, or call our offices directly.