What Is Acne?

Acne refers to plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and even deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, upper arms, and even legs. Acne affects most teenagers to some extent. However, the disease is not restricted to any age group; adults in their 20s – even into their 40s – can get acne. While not a life-threatening condition, acne can be upsetting and unsightly. Severe and even less severe cases of acne can lead to permanent scarring.

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Who Gets Acne?

Close to 100% of people between the ages of twelve and seventeen have at least the occasional blackhead, whitehead, or pimple, regardless of race or ethnicity. Many young people can manage their acne with over-the-counter (nonprescription) treatments. For some, however, acne is more serious. In fact, by their mid-teens, over 40% of adolescents experience severe enough acne to require treatment by a physician.  

In most cases, acne starts between the ages of ten and thirteen and usually lasts five to ten years. It typically goes away on its own sometime in the early twenties. However, acne can persist into the late twenties, thirties, or even beyond. Some people get acne for the first time as adults.

Acne and Gender

Acne affects young men and women equally, but there are differences. Young men tend to be more likely than young women to have more severe, longer-lasting forms of acne. Despite this, men are less likely than women to visit a dermatologist for their acne.

In contrast, young women have a higher likelihood of intermittent acne due to hormonal changes associated with their menstrual cycle and acne caused by cosmetics. These kinds of acne may afflict young women well into adulthood.

Acne Treatment

Today, nearly every case of acne can be resolved. Knowing the following is the key to getting rid of acne lesions and preventing new ones from forming.

Resolution takes time.

Treatments that promise “fast,” miraculous,” or “overnight” results often capture the attention of acne sufferers hoping for a quick resolution. However, the fact remains that acne does not clear overnight. On average, six to eight weeks are needed to see initial results. Once acne significantly improves or clears, continued treatment is required in order to keep acne from reappearing. If acne does not improve after this time, treatment may need to be adjusted, as not every acne treatment clears every case of acne.

A dermatologist can help. 

With so many factors affecting clearance and a multitude of treatment options available (some only by prescription), a dermatologist’s help can make a difference. Before prescribing treatment, dermatologists consider several factors, including the severity of the acne, types of lesions present, co-existing conditions, as well as the patient’s age, skin type, lifestyle, and motivation. The knowledge gained from considering these factors allows dermatologists to create effective individualized therapy to resolve the patient’s acne over time and prevent new lesions.

What works for someone may not work for another. 

Acne is a complex condition with different causes and manifestations in other individuals. What is an appropriate treatment for one person may not clear another’s acne because many factors affect resolution, including the underlying cause(s) of the acne, a person’s skin type, the kind of acne lesions present, the severity of the condition, and the individual’s unique physiology. Various factors, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, diet, stress, and medication, can cause acne. 

Looking for a Permanent Acne Solution?

Acne responds exceptionally well to early treatment, and dermatologists recommend that acne be treated early to maximize effectiveness and help prevent scarring. Our medical providers at Skin Care Doctors are experts in treating acne and can customize a treatment plan to suit your unique needs, monitoring your treatment over time until you experience permanent relief. Contact our office today if you want to start planning a permanent acne solution for your skin.

Better skin health starts here. Schedule your appointment today.

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