Acne Vulgaris, commonly known as “pimples” is one of the most common skin conditions seen by dermatologists. It can affect both men and women of all ages, although it is more common during adolescence.
Pathogenesis of Acne Vulgaris (Causes)
Acne is caused by multiple factors.
- Hormones play a role in appearance of acne. Increased oil production and abnormal keratinization of the skin (dead skin cells in the follicles) leads to blackheads and whiteheads.
- Propionibacterium acnes is the bacteria responsible for acne.
Classification of Acne Vulgaris
Acne Vulgaris may be classified as mild, moderate or severe.
- Mild Acne is characterized by blackheads (open comedones) and whiteheads (closed comedones).
- Moderate Acne is characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, inflamed comedones (papules) and some inflamed comedones with pus (pustules).
- Severe Acne is characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, and nodules and cysts.
Treatment of Acne Vulgaris
Acne treatment is not “one size fits all”. It is treated according to its severity, age of the patient, previous treatment and patient preference. What worked for your friend or relative might not work for you. It is important to consult our Board Certified Dermatologist to learn about the best treatment option for you.
Treatment Options for Acne
- Topical Medications
Topical medications may include soaps, toners and creams that regulate the exfoliation of the skin, regulates oil production, reduces bacteria in the skin and reduces inflammation. Please consult our dermatologist for the correct combination and application of these products.
- Oral Medications
Oral medications may include oral antibiotics, hormonal regulation, and oral retinoids. Oral medications for acne requires prescription from a doctor and is not bought over the counter. Please consult our dermatologist for the correct prescription of these medications.
- Acne Surgery
Acne Surgery is the mechanical extraction of blackheads and whiteheads. It is done thru the use of comedone extractors. It is important to have blackheads and whiteheads extracted by a dermatologist or a well-trained facialist to avoid improper extraction. Improper extraction of blackheads and whiteheads can result in inflammation and/ or infection. Having acne surgery done, together with the use of topical and/ or oral medications results in faster clearance of acne.Our Skin Clean Facial includes deep cleansing, steaming to open the pores for easier extraction of blackheads and whiteheads, extraction of blackheads and whiteheads, vacuuming to extract any remaining impurities and high frequency laser to close the pores.
For active breakouts, it is recommended to have it done every 2 weeks. For maintenance, the procedure may be done every 3 – 4 weeks. It can be combined with intralesional steroid injection for cystic acne, chemical peel or LED Mask.
- Intralesional Steroid Injection
In cases of painful and inflamed pimples (cystic acne), intralesional steroid injection may be done to relieve redness, pain and swelling. It is not advisable to prick and try to extract inflamed pimples as it may cause increased redness and swelling.
- Chemical Peels
Chemical Peels are used for moderate to severe acne. It can also be used for treatment of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots). Chemical Peels exfoliate the superficial and deeper layers of the skin, depending on the product and the technique used by the dermatologist. Chemical peels help in acne control, decrease oil production and lightens dark spots.
If you want to have a chemical peel done by our dermatologist, it is recommended to stop using any topical retinoids or AHA, at least 3 days prior to the procedure.
The procedure itself lasts 10-15 mins. The face is cleansed prior to the procedure. Then, the chemical peel solution is applied for 5-10 minutes depending on the patient’s response to treatment.
After the chemical peel, there is mild redness. There is micro or macro peeling, depending on the type of chemical peel used and the patient’s response. The procedure may be repeated after 2 – 4 weeks. We recommend 2 – 4 sessions for best results.
- LED Photodynamic Therapy (Blue Light)
LED Photodynamic Therapy is used for mild to moderate acne. It can also be used for treatment of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots). The LED Blue Light specifically targets the bacteria that causes acne, Propionibacterium Acnes. The LED Red Light is recommended for lightening of the dark spots.
It is recommended to have Skin Clean Facial done prior to the procedure to extract the blackheads and whiteheads, prior to LED Blue Light Therapy.
The procedure itself lasts 20 mins. A protective eye mask is placed to protect your eyes. The mask is then placed and blue light is emitted for 20 mins.
This procedure is recommended for patients who do not want redness and peeling after the procedure. The procedure may be repeated 1 – 2x/week. We recommend 4 – 6 sessions for best results.