As common as acne is — affecting about 25% of men and 50% of women at any given time in the U.S.— most people don’t know a lot about it. This skin condition occurs when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and dirt, along with sebum, which is the skin’s natural oil. Acne can show up as whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples, and may appear anywhere on the face, scalp, chest, and back. These blemishes can be painful and unsightly, and more severe cases can lead to noticeable scarring.
Acne can show up at any age, though teens tend to see the worst of it. Here at Dermatology Realm, our expert team offers customized acne treatments for patients of all ages in Memphis and the Mid-South. By collaborating with our patients and personalizing treatments based on the severity of their condition, we’re able to provide optimal results. If you suffer from acne or have any acne scarring, keep reading to learn more about what causes it and how we can help you treat it successfully with our acne treatments!
What causes acne?
There are many different things that can contribute to acne in both teens and adults, including clogged hair follicles, bacteria, and hormones. Skin that produces excess oil is often at an increased risk for acne as well. There are also outside factors that can exacerbate acne, such as diet, stress, and certain types of medication.
There are sebaceous glands that produce oil in your face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders. These small glands secrete an oily serum called sebum into the hair follicles to oil the skin and hair. That’s why acne breakouts occur in these areas more than any other parts of the body.
The different types of acne and acne scarring
Acne spots can come in all shapes and sizes, but it can also be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Within those categories, there are even more specific types of acne.
Whiteheads and blackheads
This is the most common type of acne. Both are referred to as comedones, or a basic acne lesion. The main difference between the two is that whiteheads are closed at the surface of the skin while blackheads are open.
These are comedones that become inflamed and form red bumps on the skin.
Pustules look similar to whiteheads, but have an inflamed red ring around them. While you should try not to pop or pick acne in general, pustules in particular can leave scarring if you do.
Nodules develop deep in the skin and are often painful. They tend to show up as very large and inflamed raised bumps on the skin.
Cystic acne can be the most painful and embarrassing. The cysts are large lesions filled with pus.
As with acne itself, there are different types of acne scarring, too. Ice pick scars are small, deep pits. Boxcar scars have sharp angles and can be shallow or deep. Rolling scars have a wavy pattern that tends to be wide or shallow.
Acne scarring is fairly common, especially if you experienced untreated acne as an adolescent or young adult. It can be a frustrating reminder, and you may even feel embarrassed by your acne scars. Fortunately, there are treatments available for both acne and acne scarring! We’ll discuss some of these below.
Many patients we see have tried countless over-the-counter medicines, washes, and lotions to help diminish the appearance of acne. But persistent acne often requires expert help, which we are happy to provide!
Systemic treatments are oral medications that work throughout the body, including antibiotics or Accutane.. A treatment plan like this can effectively treat severe acne that produces redness, swelling, and painful cysts or nodules.
Along with the appropriate skin cleanser and moisturizers, these medications can help dissolve plugs while healing your skin’s surface and deep dermis. While antibiotics kill the infection in lesions and make acne less severe, medications like Accutane or topical medication like Retin-A gel or cream, Finacea, Epiduo Forte, or Aczone help clear the acne. A six-month course of Accutane may be able to permanently stop acne, and can sometimes even reverse acne scarring.
Laser treatments work by heating the sebaceous glands in the dermis of the skin, which leads to a reduction of active acne outbreaks. The process itself is quick and painless, taking less than 20 minutes with no downtime. A full course consists of 10 sessions, each about 10 days apart, and is often covered by most health insurance plans. Results have been reported to last for up to six months.
Forever Clear BBL
Forever Clear uses an Intense Pulsed Light treatment to penetrate deep into your skin and directly target the affected areas. These treatments can be completed in as little as one hour, depending on which area of the body is being targeted. We’ll help you personalize a plan for how many treatments you should schedule. The procedure is gentle, and there is virtually no downtime, although you may experience slight redness for a few hours afterwards. Although this is not covered by insurance, many patients have seen amazing results!
Treating acne scars
Some treatments can make scars look less noticeable, while others can eliminate wavy skin texture. The first step in acne scar treatment is a consultation with us, so we can determine the type of scars you have and what your concerns and goals are. Some of our treatment options include:
Dermatology Realm offers the MicroLaserPeel®, which is a true breakthrough in laser resurfacing! The special laser peel precisely removes the outermost layers of your skin, and will typically be repeated two to four times, spaced six to eight weeks apart, to get the results you’re looking for. The treatment is tailored to your specific needs, and can also help with other scarring, wrinkles, and keratoses.
This laser treatment works by creating a grid of pinpoint laser beams that zap tiny spots on your skin, producing thousands of tiny but deep columns in your skin. Since your skin naturally repairs itself, new collagen will then grow into the columns where old, dead, and damaged tissue used to be. Old skin flakes away, revealing radiant new skin that leaves acne scars much less noticeable.
This FDA-cleared treatment smooths out the appearance of scars by plumping up the skin by using radio frequencies under the surface. The process takes place over four to five treatments. In addition to clearing up acne scars, it can tighten loose skin, improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of mild to moderate wrinkles, and fade abdominal stretch marks.
Microdermabrasion is a versatile treatment that can be used on all skin types and colors. Using a diamond abrasion technique for deep exfoliation, we’re able to remove a dead layer of skin to reveal a soft layer of healthy skin. This renews your skin cells, creating a glowing and radiant complexion! Microdermabrasion is generally most effective for mild scarring, and can also be used to treat acne-prone skin, blackheads, and whiteheads.
Get the clear complexion you’ve always wanted with Dermatology Realm
Acne might be common, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it! As you can see, Dermatology Realm has a variety of treatment options for both acne and acne scarring. Our expert team has years of experience in creating beautifully clear complexions for patients of all ages in Memphis and the Mid-South, and we would love to do the same for you! Get in touch with us today to schedule your consultation.