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Acne is a very common skin condition, impacting both adolescents and adults. Hormonal changes during puberty have an effect on the pilosebaceous unit, leading to the lesions one observes in acne. These lesions include comedones (“blackheads” and “whiteheads”), papules and pustules (“pimples”) and cysts.

Acne can cause problems for teens and adults, leading to physical and social discomfort and potentially unsightly scarring. The best option is to get started on a custom regimen for your skin type, age and acne severity. By starting treatment early and adjusting treatment as necessary, a dermatologist hopes to avoid some of the more inflammatory lesions that can lead to permanent scarring. The doctors and staff at The Center for Dermatology Care in Santa Barbara can help you to control and clear your acne and enjoy more beautiful, healthy skin.

Understanding Acne

Acne is the result of a combination of clogged pores, excess oil production and overgrowth of bacteria. When hormonal changes or other factors over-stimulate the oil-producing glands, the oil combines with dead skin cells and debris, clogging the pores. Bacteria trapped inside the clogged pores create the inflamed acne lesions that typically occur on the face, back, or chest. Contrary to popular myth, diet does not appear to influence acne, but other factors such as stress, cosmetic products, medications, and perspiration can aggravate acne.

Treatment Options

At our practice in Santa Barbara, acne treatments are customized to each individual’s unique skin care needs. We offer the full range of advanced options designed to treat existing acne, as well as prevent future breakouts and maintain healthy skin. These include:

  • Topical medications – Retinoids such as Retin-A® help speed up cell turnover to aid with blocked pores. Prescription formulations of other medications including benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid can help eliminate excess oil, trapped skin cells and bacteria. Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin or erythromycin can be used to inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria and also decrease inflammation.
  • Oral medications – Oral antibiotics such as minocycline, doxycycline, tetracycline work by decreasing bacteria and reducing inflammation. Oral retinoids shrink the sebaceous glands, restricting oil production.
  • Photodynamic therapy – Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a promising option for those with moderate to severe acne that does not respond to other treatments. This system applies  light energy to skin that has been treated with a photosensitizing agent, and shrinks the oil-producing glands, kills bacteria, and helps with exfoliation. This treatment is typically performed in a series of 3 to 5 treatments performed at 2 to 4 week intervals.
  • Light chemical peels – Superficial chemical peels like glycolic or salicylic acid peels rapidly exfoliate dead skin cells and reduce excess oil, both of which help with clogged pores. This treatment can also improve overall skin texture and mild acne scarring or discoloration.

With the variety of treatment options and combination therapies available to manage acne, there is no reason to suffer with this disorder. To explore your acne treatment options, click here to request a consultation with one of our dermatology professionals. Or you can call The Center for Dermatology Care at (805) 682-7874 and one of our helpful staff members will schedule your appointment.

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