If it seems you’ve tried every acne treatment known to mankind, we at Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA, know your frustration. But don’t give up yet. We have an arsenal of medical treatments that work harder and penetrate deeper than those serums and lotions you’ve been using. And we’re eager to partner with you in the battle against acne.
What Should You Expect from Acne Treatment?
Dermatologists are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to treat a range of skin issues, but acne tends to be the most common concern. With this in mind, we can correct acne scars, clear current breakouts, and prevent future whiteheads, blackheads, and pustules.
One of the most important aspects of treatment is recognizing acne afflicts more than just teens and young adults. This condition can, in fact, target anyone from 14 to 50 years old and beyond. The goal, then, is to address more than your external appearance; we consider your skin type, lifestyle, habits, likes, and dislikes to create a comprehensive treatment plan.
A Holistic Perspective
We can also awaken you to the links between your skin and overall health. Acne can be indicative of concerns like poor digestion, chronic dehydration (possible even when you think you’re drinking enough), and high blood pressure. The type of acne you have, therefore, will influence treatment options that can range from topical medications to recommended diet changes.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
To really understand acne, it’s necessary to understand the culprit behind it. Any number of causes can be identified, including:
- Irritants in skincare products
- Excess oil production
A clear advantage medical treatments have over store-bought therapies is in how they work; the former don’t merely treat the symptoms of red bumps but also target the underlying problem. Too often, patients purchase a cleanser or serum that works only briefly. While pinpointing the culprit isn’t always easy or entirely possible, attempting to do so is the first step in a sound management program.
Factors that Don’t Cause Acne
Now is a great time to mention that acne can be connected to diet, but chocolate – once touted as a key culprit – cannot be blamed. In addition, acne is not the result of dirty skin. Scrubbing too hard or too often can actually make acne worse. Finally, cosmetics don’t necessarily worsen acne, especially when you choose non-comedogenic makeup that doesn’t clog pores.
Acne treatments take time to work as they seek to rebalance your body, your skin’s pH levels, or your natural oil production. You’ll need to be patient during this time, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Expect to see improvements within four to six weeks, but full clearing may take two or three months.
We May Recommend Multiple Treatments
Acne is usually best treated with a multi-faceted approach – an approach that may include antibiotics, hormonal treatments, and/or topical ointments. Unless you have a legitimate medical reason for choosing not to use one of these treatments, it’s best to remain open to all recommendations. This will ensure we cover all bases and reduces the time necessary for your acne to clear.
Your Skin Might Change
Certain treatment plans may make your skin more sensitive to the sun or even other products in your skincare regimen. We will likely suggest products that are ideally suited to your changing needs, and using them will improve your skin’s overall health. These may include:
Similarly, you should only schedule add-on treatments like chemical peels after receiving approval from our staff. Timing is everything, especially when it comes to delicate facial tissues. If you schedule such a therapy too soon after beginning acne treatment – such as when your skin is still adjusting – you may cause more harm than good. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss this during the consultation so you know what to expect from your treatment plan.
Your Plan Will Be Tailored
Acne is complex and therefore requires an equally sophisticated approach. This means any treatment plan we craft will be tailored to your individual needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and you must commit to consistently sticking to your plan. If you dislike swallowing pills or putting ointments on your skin, it’s important you let us know so we can make more appropriate recommendations.
You Can Proactively Support Treatment
Medical intervention is a great place to start with eradicating stubborn acne, but your skincare shouldn’t stop there. You can proactively help the treatment we recommend by following a few basic steps:
- Always wash your hands after using the restroom
- Only touch your face when necessary to avoid bacteria transfer
- Routinely use anti-bacterial wipes to clean your phone screen
- Change your bedsheets every two weeks
- Wear less makeup when possible and choose chemical-free products
- Grow out your fringe to stop forehead breakouts
- Try to sleep seven to eight hours each night
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- De-stress with five minutes of meditation each day
What Is Acne?
It’s easy to spot when acne is present, but it’s a little more difficult to define this condition. At the most basic level, acne is the result of clogged pores. Glands located beneath the skin’s surface secrete oil (sebum) that protect skin against friction and make it more impregnable to moisture. But the body’s protective processes are not infallible, and when excess oil combines with dead skin cells, they plug pores. Pimples then ensue.
Pimples are a part of acne and can develop in a number of areas: the face, chest, shoulders, and even the legs. They also vary in type to include:
- Whiteheads, which remain under the skin
- Blackheads, visible on the skin’s surface and so colored because of melanin oxidation
- Papules, small, rounded, and solid bumps pink in color
- Pustules, with red bases and pus present on the top
- Nodules, similar to papules but larger in size and deeply embedded in the skin
- Cysts, clearly visible on the skin’s surface, quite painful, and filled with pus
Why Some Are More Prone Than Others
While some patients are affected by acne more than others, the reasons for this are not well understood. No single culprit can be identified, although researchers have found genetics play a significant role.
Your genes influence your skin’s natural sensitivity to hormonal and environmental factors. They also determine your skin’s ability to resist the inflammation and bacteria associated with acne. In short, if your closest relatives – including parents and siblings – have or had acne, you likely will as well.
These chemical messengers have a way of sneaking into almost every condition imaginable, and acne is no different. Hormonal fluctuations begin in the teen years and can continue well into adult life. Androgens, commonly referred to as male hormones, are in fact produced by both men and women.
On top of this, hormones for both sexes continue fluctuating throughout life, particularly for women. Imagine all those chemicals constantly striving for balance during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause. While adult acne can strike anyone at any age, it tends to be more prevalent in women because that delicate balance is under constant assault.
PCOS and Other Risk Factors
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may be to blame for acne that persists in women beyond their mid-twenties. While the origins of this condition are unclear, its symptoms are highly recognizable: thicker hair in the face, naval area, or chest and irregular or nonexistent periods.
Additional risk factors for acne include Hashimoto’s disease, characterized by dry skin and susceptibility to hives, diabetes, and medications that influence hormones. These can range from steroids to birth control and are associated with higher incidences of breakouts.
Benefits of Seeing a Dermatologist
Dermatologists have often seen everything you can imagine, so if you’re worried your acne case is embarrassingly severe, don’t be. Our office has probably seen breakouts exactly like yours and can put this experience to work for you. We know how to quickly control acne, a key factor in preventing scars and allowing the skin to heal.
We can also identify primary skin disorders that may be causing your breakouts. Many conditions manifest themselves in ways that resemble severe acne, such as rosacea and staph bacteria. It’s important to correctly diagnose these conditions to put you on a path to recovery.
Whether you walk into a box store or search online, you will find enough skincare products to make your head spin. We can ease the decision-making process by teaching you the best products for your skin’s needs. This information is especially beneficial if:
- Your skin tone or texture has changed in recent weeks or months
- You struggle with excessively oily or dry skin
- You’re sensitive to most products and need a gentle regimen to follow
Address Additional Concerns
From the moment you’re born, your skin starts to age. It’s odd to think about, but it’s also true. A person can start to see enlarged pores, undereye bags, and fine lines as early as age 35. Fortunately, treatments for these concerns can be administered as easily and effectively as those for acne to restore a youthful sheen to your skin.
It’s something few of us like to discuss, but it deserves mentioning here. In the United States and worldwide, skin cancer remains the most common of all cancers and afflicts one in five people. Many of these cancers begin as small lesions and can be easily removed, while others quickly grow and spread throughout the body. By scheduling an annual dermatological examination, you set yourself up for early detection and treatment should skin cancer develop.
Preparing for Your Appointment
Write down your questions and bring them to your appointment. It’s hard to remember everything once you’re in the exam room, and being able to reference that list will ensure you get the information you need. Also, be prepared to answer questions; we’ll want to know about all previous acne treatments you’ve tried and how long you’ve been experiencing breakouts.
You should additionally bring a list of other medications you currently take and a picture of yourself when your acne is at its worse. It’s not uncommon for patients to schedule appointments and then see their skin slightly improve. We want to see your breakouts when they’re in full swing.
The Journey to Clear Skin
No longer must you try to correct acne on your own. With a range of treatment options that can each complement the other, you’ll soon see improvements in your skin and begin to feel better about yourself. Start this journey today and schedule your consultation by calling Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA.