Acne Treatment in Baton Rouge
Experiencing severe acne? Sanova Dermatology in Baton Rouge can help!
Overview of Acne
Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is an inflammatory skin condition that causes blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and tender red nodules on the skin. Acne is caused by a number of issues—including hormonal imbalance, diet, genetics, stress, cosmetics and improper hygiene—and starts when hair follicles get clogged by oil and dead skin cells. Because acne can be tied to hormones, the condition is most often associated with teenagers going through puberty; however, acne can also affect pre-adolescent children and adults. Acne affects roughly 75% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 and is one of the most common skin conditions in the United States, affecting an estimated 50 million Americans each year. Though not physically dangerous, untreated acne can leave scars and skin discoloration and can cause psychological discomfort such as stress, embarrassment and anxiety in those with blemishes.
If you suffer from acne, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our dermatologists in Baton Rouge to have it correctly diagnosed and treated. Acne can occur anywhere on the skin and is most often found on the face, chest, back and hairline. It can manifest in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, papules, nodules and cysts. Your dermatologist will evaluate which types of acne are present and recommend the best treatment options for you, given your particular skin type and lifestyle. In mild cases, your dermatologist may recommend a topical over-the-counter face cream or acne-fighting cleanser. In more severe cases, he or she may recommend oral antibiotics or other prescription medications. If you’re ready for a clearer complexion, call us today to schedule your personal consultation with one of our licensed dermatologists.
Types of Acne
The most common types of acne are whiteheads, blackheads, pustules (commonly referred to as pimples or zits), papules, nodules and cysts.
- Whiteheads – Whiteheads form when clogged hair follicles are prevented from opening due to trapped oil and dead skin cells. A whitehead may look like a small yellowish-white ball on the surface of the skin. The color comes from the pus trapped underneath.
- Blackheads – Blackheads form when oil and dead skin cells clog the hair follicle, leaving an opening at the surface of the skin. Because of its dark color, it may look like a tiny speck of dirt has gotten trapped under the skin, but the dark hue is actually due to a reaction between air and the debris in the hair follicle—not from dirt.
- Pustules – Pustules form when hair follicles get clogged by oil and dead skin, causing inflammation. This type of acne often takes the form of a yellowish-white ball of pus at the surface of the skin, surrounded by a red ring around the bump.
- Papules – Papules form when trapped oil and dead skin cells cause hair follicles to become clogged and inflamed, forming small pink or red bumps on the surface of the skin.
- Nodules – Nodules form when clogged hair follicles form large, inflamed bumps rooted deeply in the skin. This type of acne is often painful and may require prescription medications and professional treatment to eradicate.
- Cysts – Cysts form when the acne infection is deeply entrenched in the skin, resulting in a tender, pus-filled bump. Cystic acne is generally known to be the most severe type of acne and if treated improperly or left untreated, can leave permanent scars.
Top Treatments for Acne
If you’ve suffered from acne vulgaris for more than a year, it’s likely that you’ve tried at least a few blemish-reducing treatments–from home remedies to over-the-counter exfoliants and anti-acne creams, to prescription medications. Depending on your skin type, and the type and severity of your acne, you may find over-the-counter treatments to be at least minimally effective. However, if you suffer from chronic or stubborn acne and are truly ready to quash it once and for all, it’s best to consult a licensed dermatologist for a more personalized approach. Your dermatologist will evaluate your skin and consider a bevy of acne-causing factors—like stress, lifestyle, hormonal factors and genetics—to determine the best course of action for helping you achieve spotless skin.
Some of the top prescription medications for treating acne include:
- Isotretinoin – Isotretinoin is a potent treatment used to combat more severe or refractory forms of acne while preventing future breakouts. Though extremely effective, isotretinoin may lead to birth defects, so women should not use this medication if there is a chance they may become pregnant while taking it. Popular brand names on the market include: Absorbica®, Claravis®, and Myorisan®.
- Oral antibiotics – Oral antibiotics can be used to treat moderate to severe acne. Because oral antibiotics can lose their effectiveness over time, they are seen as a temporary fix rather than a long-term solution. Popular acne-fighting antibiotics include tetracycline, erythromycin, minocycline and doxycycline.
- Topical retinoid products – Topical retinoid products can come in the form of gels, creams, lotions, and serums and are an effective topical treatment for acne. Those with severe or stubborn acne may wish to use topical retinoid products in conjunction with oral medications.
- Benzoyl peroxide – Benzoyl peroxide works by killing acne-causing bacteria on the skin and reducing flare-ups. It is often prescribed in the form of a cream, gel, or face wash, and may be combined frequently with other medications.
- Oral contraceptives (for women only) – Oral contraceptives can be a powerful way to treat acne caused by hormonal imbalance. Oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, work by balancing the body’s levels of estrogen, progesterone, and androgens, causing your skin to produce less pore-clogging oil. Oral contraceptives on the market that are FDA-approved for acne include: Ortho Tri-Cyclen®, Estrostep® and YAZ®.
- Spironolactone (for women only) – Spironolactone is an oral medication sometimes used to treat women suffering from hormonally-related acne. Spironolactone works by blocking oil-causing testosterone, thus controlling acne and leaving you with clearer skin.
In addition to medication, your dermatologist may also recommend one of the following in-office acne treatments:
- Chemical peels – Chemical peels can be an effective method of improving active acne, speeding up healing from past acne scarring and evening out the skin’s texture. During a chemical peel, your dermatologist will apply a peeling agent to your face to break down the outer layer of skin and destroy any oils or dead skin cells that may be trapped at the surface.
- Steroid injections – For stubborn, isolated acne lesions that must be eradicated immediately—such as before a special occasion—you may want to talk with your dermatologist about receiving a steroid injection. Steroid injections can visibly minimize some acne lesions within 48 hours. This form of acne treatment may come with side effects, such as skin thinning, and should be used sparingly.
Your dermatologist may also recommend the following DIY acne treatments:
- Proper skin care – Different skin types require different methods of skincare. Talk with your dermatologist about establishing a personalized skincare regimen that works for you.
- Adequate hydration – Proper skin hydration has been shown to improve acne. For best results, it’s recommended that the average adult consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, or roughly half a gallon.
- Stress management – Prolonged stress has been found to increase the likelihood of breakouts and make it harder for skin issues to heal. If you find yourself experiencing high levels of stress, you may want to incorporate stress management techniques, like meditation and exercise, into your life.
Contact Sanova Dermatology
For more information, or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dermatologists, please contact Sanova Dermatology in Baton Rouge today. Need a location closer to you? See our other Louisiana locations.