IN WILTON, CT
Acne is a very common skin condition that occurs most frequently in adolescents and young adults. It is estimated to affect anywhere from 35% to 90% of the population at some point in one’s life. Although the prevalence decreases with age, people age 50 and over can still suffer from it.
Acne is considered an inflammatory disorder of the pilosebaceous unit, which is comprised of the hair follicle and oil gland. In normal skin, the oil glands under the skin produce an oily substance called sebum. The sebum moves from the bottom to the top of each hair follicle and then spills out onto the surface of the skin, taking with it sloughed-off skin cells. With acne, the structure through which the sebum flows gets plugged up. This blockage traps sebum and sloughed-off cells below the skin, preventing them from being released onto the skin's surface. If the pore is fully blocked, this produces a whitehead, also known as a closed comedone. If the pore is partially open, this produces a blackhead, also known as an open comedone. When either a whitehead or blackhead becomes inflamed, they can become pustules or papules otherwise known as "pimples". Hormones can play a big role in the formation of acne by stimulating the growth and secretory function of oil glands. Excess oil creates changes in the skin’s normal flora, or “microbiome”, thereby creating a favorable environment for the bacteria, Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) to proliferate. When the C. acnes bacteria grows out of control, the body mounts an inflammatory response that contributes to the formation of "pimples". These can lead to scarring, especially if they are picked or scratched.
Treating acne is a relatively slow process; there is no overnight remedy. Some treatments include:
• Topical Treatments such as benzoyl peroxide - Used in mild cases of acne, benzoyl peroxide reduces the blockages in the hair follicles.
• Retinoids - help unplug the blocked-up material in whiteheads/blackheads.
• Extractions- removal of whiteheads and blackheads using a small metal instrument that is centered on the comedone and pushed down, extruding the blocked pore. This is best done after a cleansing and steaming during our acne facial.
• Intralesional Kenalog (ILK) – an anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the size and duration of the red bump or pimple
• Chemical peels such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid can be used to exfoliate the dead skin cells and dry up the excess oil.
• Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) - also known as "photo facials" IPL light can kill the C. acnes bacteria, and can reduce pore size and oil production. It also helps with acne scarring - the red and brown spots that remain after the acne bump goes away - can be lightened with this procedure.
• Oral and Topical Antibiotics - Used to treat any infection and inflammation. Oral antibiotics are reserved for moderate to severe inflammatory acne cases.
• Hormonal Treatments - Can be used for adult women with hormonally induced acn.