Our Forest Hills dermatologist, Charles Kleinberg, MD, knows how heartbreaking acne can be and educates his patients on the proper treatment of all the different types of acne. Acne occurs when the pores on the surface of your skin become clogged. Each one of your pores opens to a follicle that contains an oil gland and a hair gland. The oil that is released by the gland helps to remove old skin cells and keeps your skin soft. When your glands produce too much oil, the pores may become blocked by a build-up of dirt, bacteria, and cells. This blockage is called a plug, or comedone. A whitehead is when the top of the plug is white, and a blackhead is when the top of the plug is dark. If the plug breaks open, swelling and red bumps will be the result. Acne that is deep in your skin may cause hard, painful cysts and this is called cystic acne. Even though acne is most common in teenagers, anyone can get it, including infants, and it tends to run in families.
Hormonal changes can cause your skin to become oilier and when related to puberty, may trigger acne. Other causes of acne can be stress, pregnancy, birth control pills, menstrual periods, greasy or oily cosmetics, hair products, certain drugs (such as steroids, testosterone, and estrogen), humidity, and sweating. Keeping up with the latest medical advancements, our Forest Hills dermatologist has found no research that shows chocolate, nuts, or greasy foods cause acne, however, diets that are high in refined sugars can be related to acne.
When it comes to treating your acne at home, our Forest Hills dermatologist recommends you cleanse your skin with a non-drying, mild soap to remove all traces of dirt or make-up. Wash thoroughly once or twice daily, especially after exercising, but avoid scrubbing or repeated skin washing. Over-the-counter acne medications that contain benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, sulfur, or salicylic acid, can be applied directly to your skin if further treatment is needed. These medications work by killing bacteria, drying up the oils on your skin, and sometimes causing the top layer of skin to peel. If pimples remain a problem, Dr. Kleinberg can prescribe stronger medications, such as Accutane, and discuss oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, erythromycin, doxycycline, minocycline, and amoxicillin. Some topical antibiotics such as clindamycin or erythromycin may also be recommended. There are laser procedures that also work well on those patients with cystic acne. Whatever treatment option you and our Forest Hills dermatologist decide on, it will take patience and persistence, especially with your home-care cleansing regimen.