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Teenage Acne 101The reasons why acne exist and what to do about it are not one-size-fits all. Although there are reasons and remedies common to many acne sufferers, there are also elements specific to the individual. That’s when having someone like Dr. Elaine Cook, who is very knowledgeable about the causes and treatments for acne, is so helpful. Here are some of the basics of acne and its treatment.

Why You Have Acne – Contributing Factors

1.      Your hormones – male hormones, which are produced by both males and females.

2.      Hormone Supplements – prescription and over the counter (OTC).

3.      Inherited Tendency - acne often runs in families.

What Makes Acne Worse

1.      Exercise, heat, sweat/sports, friction and oil from helmets, sweaty workout clothes, hands or cell phones on your face.

2.      Normal skin bacteria.

3.      Stress causes increased male hormones, especially in women.

4.      Waterproof sunscreen plugs pores.

5.      Cosmetics including some foundations, concealers and powder brushes.

6.      Diet including caffeine (and that includes chocolate), processed foods, or milk.

Choices for Acne Treatment

1.      Skin Care that is over the counter or stronger, physician skin care can control various degrees of acne and restore moisture balance from drying prescription medications.

2.      Surface antibiotics work to decrease bacteria.

3.      Surface Retinoids unplug pores, although they are drying.

4.      Oral Antibiotics helps acne that is more severe.

5.      Chemical Peels/Acne surgery using glycolic acid peels help remove plugs from pores and both treat and prevent acne. Acne Surgery is the removal of acne plugs using sterile instruments.

6.      Other office procedures for acne including ClearLight and SilkPeel.

7.      Hormonal treatment with Birth Control Pills for women.

8.      Isotretinoin (Accutane, Sortret, Claravis, Amnesteem), which are strong oral medication for the most severe cases of acne that do not respond to other treatments. Dr. Cook will discuss with you if she feels it is indicated.

Remember to Be Patient

It takes several months for acne to get better. Sometimes, acne worsens during early treatment which means it’s working! Treatment must be continued to maintain improvement. Do not stop your program because you are better.

Possible Side Effects of Acne Medications and Treatment

As with any medication, there are potential side effects. Dr. Cook will talk to you about these, specific to the medication and treatment she advises for your particular situation.

Tips to Help Your Acne Get Better

Oral Mediations containers often have warnings to not take the medication with food or milk. This only means less is absorbed but it is not dangerous. It’s better to take pills with food or milk than to not take them at all.

Surface Medications can cause some dryness and flaking which is normal.  Discomfort is not. We have a variety of products that can help. Call us for instructions. Don't just stop your medicine.

Skin Care is essential. Although oil and dirt don't cause acne, wash your face twice a day and after workouts to remove oil, bacteria and dead skin cells. Shampoo regularly and avoid hair styling products or bangs that touch your forehead.

Picking can cause scars so resist the urge.

Sports may worsen acne. Wipe off sweat and oil with antibiotic wipes and apply antibiotic after sports.

Diet has some effect but usually dietary changes do not significantly improve acne.

Cosmetics can be an important factor. Use non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic products. Don't use "all day wear" or "long lasting" foundations. Use a sponge not a brush to apply mineral powder. Dr. Cook recommends our powders.

Scarring can result from acne that hasn’t been treated. Picking can also cause scarring which can include dents or raised areas. Red or brown discoloration is not scarring, and may take many months to fade.

Side Effects or problems that do not respond to the above necessitate a call to the office to speak with the nurse. Or let us know at your visit, and we will modify your program.

There is so much to consider in determining what is contributing to your acne and what can be done to treat it. With Dr. Cook’s expertise, you’ll soon be on your way to better looking skin. Contact us for an appointment.


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