You’re polite, tolerant, and patient. But you can throw those admirable qualities out the window when it comes to your acne. You don’t have to tolerate it, and you don’t have to be (too) patient: You can banish acne by modifying the factors that cause it.
The caring and expert dermatologists at Specialists in Dermatology — with locations in Houston, Texas, and The Woodlands, Texas — diagnose your acne and other skin conditions that may accompany it. Then they design an acne-banishing treatment just for you.
Dry up the oil
As a teen, an influx of hormones triggers your skin to secrete more sebum, which is a waxy type of oil that normally keeps your skin protected and moist. Too much sebum, however, clogs your follicles (aka pores), so they can’t shed dead skin cells and replace them with new ones.
The combination of dead skin cells and excess sebum provides a feast for a type of bacteria that lives on your skin, known as Propionibacterium acnes (P acnes, for short). And, just like other organisms, when P acnes has plenty to eat, it reproduces itself plentifully. The excess P acnes causes your clogged pore to get inflamed, which leads to a pink or dark zit, pimple, or cyst.
By drying up the oil on the surface of your skin and in your follicles, you make it easier for your skin to get rid of dead cells and starve P acnes, too. Although you can try a topical salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide from your local drug store, they probably aren't strong enough to get the job done.
Your dermatologist may recommend medical-grade versions of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, as well as retinoids and topical antibiotics. Retinoids not only help dry up the oil and kill P acnes, they help your skin cells turn over to improve the look and health of your skin. Males and females of nonreproductive age who have severe, cystic acne might need a powerful oral medication called isotretinoin that shrinks your oil glands, slows down skin-cell production, and decreases inflammation.
Kill the bacteria
When you have severe acne, your dermatologist may recommend oral antibiotics in addition to topical therapies. Antibiotics kill P acnes, which helps reduce the number of lesions you get and also subdues inflammation.
Balance your hormones
Hormones such as testosterone cause you to produce more sebum. Your hormones surge during puberty and also become unbalanced during perimenopause and menopause or if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
If you’re a woman, your dermatologist may prescribe hormonal birth control to restore balance. If you’re a boy or man, you may need to stop using steroids for body-building or other reasons.
Inject, don’t pop
When you get a large cystic acne lesion on your jawline just before the school prom or an important presentation at work, you might be tempted to pop it. Don’t. Popping pimples and manhandling your skin damages and scars it permanently.
At Specialists for Dermatology, we inject cortisone directly into an acne lesion to subdue the inflammation. The medication shrinks the swollen cyst wall, so that the lesion collapses within days. And yes, you can treat more than one cyst at a time.
We can also drain and extract large acne lesions or cysts. We use special tools that allow us to excise the cyst without damaging healthy skin.
Peel away dead skin
Regular chemical peels help your skin shed dead cells to keep your pores clean and fresh. But chemical peels at Specialists in Dermatology are formulated for your skin type and also to treat your type of acne.
Your chemical peel treatment exfoliates the top layer of your skin, so that fresh, new skin can shine through. The sloughing and skin-renewal process also triggers your skin to produce new proteins, called collagen and elastin, that make your skin stronger and thicker.
When your skin is healthy and strong, it’s less likely to develop acne. Regular chemical peels also improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars.
Don’t tolerate your acne or try to fix it on your own; get professional acne treatments by calling the Specialists in Dermatology office nearest you today or using our convenient online booking form.