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Acne Specialist

HK Dermatology

Dermatology Clinic located in San Juan Capistrano, CA

Acne is the most prevalent skin problem in the United States. The skin care specialists at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California, offer personalized, compassionate acne treatment. To find effective relief from acne and get on track to clearer skin, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Acne Q & A

What is acne?

Acne is a skin condition that causes pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads, to appear on your skin. These pimples develop when oil and dead skin cells clog special types of hair follicles and they become inflamed. Acne often affects the skin on your face, upper back, and chest.

The signs and symptoms of acne vary depending on your unique condition, but may include:

  • Closed clogged pores (whiteheads)
  • Open clogged pores (blackheads)
  • Small, red bumps (papules)
  • Papules with pus at the tips (pimples)
  • Large, painful lumps beneath the skin (nodules)
  • Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the skin (cystic lesions)

Acne causes more than just blemishes on your skin. Studies show that acne negatively affects self-esteem and may lead to permanent scars or discolorations on the skin.

What causes acne?

Acne begins when dead skin cells get trapped inside oil-producing hair follicles called pores. When your body produces more oil (sebum), the dead skin cells may clump together and clog the pore.

Acne is not contagious but is affected by several environmental factors. It is suggested that sunlight makes acne better and stress makes it worse. Diet has not been shown to have any significant effect on acne. Nevertheless, if a patient notices that a particular food seems to worsen acne, that food should be avoided.

In some women, hormonal changes may cause acne to worsen a few days prior to the menstrual period. Exercise appears to have no effect on acne, but sweating tends to worsen acne in about 15% of patients.

Sometimes, bacteria from your skin also gets stuck inside the blocked pore. This creates the perfect conditions for bacteria to multiply rapidly, which leads to inflammation (redness and swelling). When inflammation spreads deep into your skin, you may develop an acne cyst or nodule.

Who gets acne?

Acne can feel like an isolating experience, but you’re far from alone. At any point in time, about 40-50 million Americans suffer from acne.

In order to fully understand the way that acne treatment works, it is first necessary to understand how acne occurs. While acne can occur at any age, it is most common and severe during adolescence as the end result of the increased hormonal activity that begins to occur as children mature into adults.

These hormones (testosterone in the male and progesterone in the female) are both metabolized to dihydrotestosterone. This hormone causes enlargement of oil glands and increases the flow of oil from the glands and production of scales along the ducts of oil glands. These oil glands are attached to small hair follicles. If oil is able to pass freely to the surface of the skin, acne does not occur. However, if oil flow is impeded due to oil duct blockages (so-called “microcomedones”), acne may result.

Because oil causes no trouble once it reaches the skin surface, repetitive washing of oily acne-prone skin does not significantly improve acne. Soaps are not especially helpful in acne treatment. In fact, washing excessively or using harsh facial scrubs may actually irritate the skin and make acne worse. Picking and squeezing often cause local damage if not performed carefully and may result in scarring.

When should I see a dermatologist for acne?

You should schedule an appointment at HK Dermatology if you have severe acne that persists despite self-care remedies. One of the highly trained providers carefully examines your skin and recommends the best treatment for your particular type of acne.

How do you treat acne?

The expert team at HK Dermatology offers a wide range of effective acne treatments. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating acne. There are six classes of medications that are predictably effective against acne. Depending on your needs, they may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Accutane® pills will often permanently cure or dramatically lessen acne after a six-to-seven month course of treatment
  • Antibiotic pills are often very effective for acne on the back and chest
  • Benzoyl peroxide is a topical medication that fights acne by removing excessive scales from oil gland linings and also by reducing bacterial activity within the skin
  • Retin-A® is one of the more effective acne medications for comedonal (whiteheads and blackheads) and small popular (little pink bumps) acne
  • Topical acne treatment antibiotics are often used in conjunction with benzoyl and Retin-A® and they work by decreasing bacterial counts within open pores so that oil and excessive scales are less likely to clog pores and cause acne
  • Chemical peels with trichloroacetic acid, glycolic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid can have a beneficial effect when administered to acne-prone skin by dermatologists

The team at HK Dermatology works with you to discover an acne treatment that works. To get started on the path to clearer skin, call the office or book an appointment online today.