What is Acne?

Did you know that acne is the most common skin condition in the United States?! However, there is limited information for patients to use as a resource. Although acne is so common, there’s a lot of misinformation circulating about it. Our hope is to clear up any confusion about acne for you here!

Acne, or pimples, happen when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. This usually leads to blackheads, whiteheads that can appear on the face, forehead, chest, upper back (aka backne) and shoulders. While acne is particularly common for both male and female teenagers, we’re seeing more female patients in their 30s through 50s coming in for treatments. While we aren’t 100% sure why we’re seeing such an uptick, we believe it could be from the myriad cosmetic products women use that may be having strange skin reactions.

While treatments are available and effective, acne can be stubborn, returning over time.

Acne can scar the skin and cause emotional distress for patients as the skin is such a noticeable part of your body. The best medical approach to acne treatment is to start early and get into a healthy skin care routine.

Menstruation is also a time that many women experience period-related acne. Typically these patients experience acne flare ups a week prior to getting their periods.

Acne Symptoms

Acne signs and symptoms vary depending on the severity of your condition:

  • Blackheads (open clogged pores)
  • Whiteheads (closed clogged pores)
  • Small red, tender bumps (papules)
  • Pimples (pustules), which are papules with pus at their tips
  • Large, firm, painful bumps under the skin (nodules)
  • Painful, pus-filled bumps under the skin (cystic lesions)

When to see a dermatologist for your acne

If home or over-the-counter remedies don’t work on your acne, it’s likely time to call the dermatologist for stronger treatments. This is particularly true for teenagers who are particularly sensitive to their appearances during their middle school and high school years.

In older patients, severe acne that comes on suddenly may be a sign of an underlying disease that requires medical attention.

Why treat acne?

Many patients have been told to just let acne run its natural course, but Dr. Bita Bagheri believes in treating acne as soon as possible to prevent scars and get into healthy skincare habits.