What causes acne?

Acne begins when your oil glands produce more oil than normal, a problem that typically occurs due to changes in hormones at adolescence.

Oil glands are located deep inside hair follicles, so excess oil can back up in the follicles, then become clogged when dead skin cells on the surface block the openings. As a result, acne develops.

Bacteria that naturally live on your skin can worsen the problem. Your acne becomes inflamed and swollen when bacteria mix with dead skin and clogged oil.

What are the different types of acne?

Acne refers to all of the different types of blemishes you may develop, including:

  • Blackheads and whiteheads: clogged pores
  • Papules: small pimples
  • Pustules: small pus-filled pimples
  • Nodules: large, painful pimples
  • Cysts: deep, painful, pus-filled bumps

When should I seek help for acne?

Mild acne may respond to over-the-counter cleansers and topical treatments. Using the wrong products, however, can worsen your acne or lead to dry skin. It’s also possible that your acne is actually a skin condition that needs unique treatment, such as rosacea (a problem Dr. Hurst can diagnose with an examination).

It may be time to consider a professional skin exam when your acne doesn’t respond to self-care products, it becomes inflamed, or you develop cysts.

How is acne treated?

Establishing a skin care routine is the first step in preventing future acne outbreaks. It’s important to be gentle with your skin while thoroughly cleansing it with non-irritating products. Dr. Hurst can talk with you about products to use and give you tips on skin care.

Your medical treatment is customized for your unique skin needs and may include:

  • Medical Care: Dr. Hurst may prescribe topical treatments containing retinoids, retinoid-like drugs, or antibiotics to prevent hair follicles from becoming blocked, kill skin bacteria, and reduce redness. Topical salicylic acid and azelaic acid also fight bacteria, while Dapsone can relieve inflammatory acne. Some women may also benefit from hormone therapy.
  • Skin Treatments: Laser or light therapies eliminate bacteria. Chemical peels and facial washes also alleviate acne. Dr. Hurst may need to drain and extract a cyst or extract blackheads and whiteheads that don’t clear up with topical treatment.

Call Dr. Hurst to book an appointment anytime you need help with acne or another skin problem.