Join us for our next Ageless Beauty Open House June 8-10! Call 757-461-1033 to schedule your free 20-minute 1:1 consultation.

Beyond the Blemish

How to get to the root of your acne breakouts and make real progress in your skin health.

Acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates up to 50 million Americans are affected annually.

But this is one of those times when there’s no comfort in numbers. 

Teens and adults struggling with moderate to severe acne often socially isolate themselves. They aren’t just dealing with the physical effects of their breakouts, they may also experience anxiety or embarrassment about their appearance.

In this post, we’ll first give you a broad overview of what acne is, then look at how a dermatologist can help get to the root cause of your acne and help you form a treatment plan.

What is Acne?

When hair follicles become clogged with oil, dirt, and dead skin cells, acne can develop. 

When that happens, you can develop blemishes on your face, chest, upper back, or shoulders. These areas are prone to acne because they have the most oil (sebaceous) glands. 

Signs/symptoms of acne are listed below, in order of severity:

Who gets acne?

Acne usually begins in puberty, with approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experiencing at least minor acne symptoms.

Sad to say, but you’re not out of the woods when you’re out of your teens. Acne can occur at any stage of life … well into your forties. 

In fact, adult acne is increasing and may affect up to 15% of women. 

Diagnosing Acne

A dermatologist can help determine if your breakouts are acne or if it’s a completely different skin condition.

If you have acne, it will be graded on a scale from 1 (mild) to 4 (severe) and it will be noted what type (or types) of acne are on your skin.

Acne Treatments

Consistent application of over-the-counter treatments may work for mild-to-moderate acne, but for persistent or severe cases you will want to see a dermatologist.

Self-care for Acne

Generally speaking, if your skin is oily, wash your entire face twice a day (or after sweating) with a cleanser containing salicylic acid. If you have dry skin, use a gentle foaming cleanser instead. 

With either product, let the cleanser sit on your skin a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly so the active ingredients can soak in. 

Pimples can be spot treated with a benzoyl peroxide treatment cream. 

If your acne isn’t responding to self-care, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. Depending on how bad it gets, acne can scar the skin. The earlier you start professional treatment, the lower your risk of such problems.

Professional Acne Treatments

If you have a lot of acne, cysts, or nodules, self-care medications that you can buy without a prescription may not work. 

Topical Acne Treatments

Acne treatments applied to the surface of the skin are called topical treatments.  Some topicals work by killing bacteria, others work on reducing oil production. 

Topical medications may contain a retinoid, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic, or even salicylic acid. 

Your dermatologist will determine what’s best for your specific needs.

Systemic Acne Treatments

For severe types of acne, like cysts or nodules, your dermatologist may prescribe an oral medication to treat your acne from the inside out. 

Some examples: 

Clinical Acne Procedures

During your course of treatment, your dermatologist may determine that you need an in-office procedure to treat your acne. 

Examples are:

Get Beyond the Blemish

Acne is not likely to go away on its own. And without treatment, it can cause permanent scarring and cause you to withdraw socially if you are self-conscious about your appearance.

Regardless of the reason for your breakouts, consistent self-care and/or professional treatments are the only way to maintain healthy skin.

If you aren’t able to get control of your breakouts with self-care methods and over-the-counter products, call Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater at (757) 461-1033 today to schedule an appointment with one of our dermatology specialists.

Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater, located in Norfolk, Virginia, provides comprehensive personalized dermatologic care to patients of all skin types, conditions, and ages. Medical director Jonathan Schreiber, MD, PhD and the entire professional medical team at Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater approach dermatologic exams from the medical root of an issue, and similarly, cosmetic issues from the science of a treatment, using science-based support and results with the treatment services offered to patients.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Common Skin Cancers and How to Recognize Them

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., with 9,500 people diagnosed with skin cancer every day. One key step in prevention is knowing how to identify the different types of skin cancer. Here are the three most common types ...

7 Skin Cancer Myths ... BUSTED!

There are many myths about skin cancer that can be dangerous and even deadly. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common myths about skin cancer and provide accurate information to help you make informed decisions about your skin health.

8 Ways to Love Your Skin

Fall head over heels in love with your skin this year. Here's a selection of our products and services that will help you look and feel your very best on Valentines Day and every other day ending in “Y!”

5 Tips for Healthier Skin in the New Year

The arrival of a new year inspires many of us to make resolutions … to eat better, sleep more, and generally live a healthier lifestyle. What better way to improve your health than to make sure you’re taking care of your body’s largest organ … your skin!

Hydrafacial Stacking

Many aesthetic treatments are amazing at solving ONE specific problem, but treatment stacking is a better way to achieve better results. Adding a Hydrafacial treatment will complement any of the anti-aging services we offer.