Mirror/Mirror Episodes

Adult Acne

Acne can be painful, embarrassing and even scarring, but with prevention and medical attention, it doesn't have to be.

Dermatologist Paul Friedman says acne is caused by overproduction of oil by the oil gland, hormonal activity or bacteria build-up.

"Comedonal acne is the most common form of acne that we typically see. It's usually the mildest form of acne -- where you have plugging of the hair follicle by sebum or oil, leading to white heads or black heads," he explains.

Dr. Friedman often recommends a salicylic wash. For those in need of immediate improvement, he often injects intralesional cortisone into the acne region.

The second type of acne is inflammatory.

"So, inflammatory acne is typically caused by the overproduction of bacteria-causing acne. It typically presents with red bumps on the skin or little pustular lesions that typically look like a little white head on top of the skin. We typically prescribe oral antibiotics, which normally have two effects. One, they reduce the bacteria that cause acne and two, they have an anti-inflammatory effect," he says.

For severe acne, laser treatments can be helpful.

"We've had a lot of success with utilizing the Smooth Beam laser to treat both inflammatory and cystic acne. One advantage of this is that it penetrates deeper than a topical product and can heat up the oil gland, shrink it and reduce oil production, which is the root cause of acne," Dr. Freidman says.

There's also another in-office treatment.

"The blue light is an excellent treatment option for patients with inflammatory acne. The way it works is it targets the bacteria that causes acne, killing that bacteria, and then reducing active acne lesions," he says.

Mostly, Dr. Freidman advises, "Dermatologists have a huge arsenal of treatments for patients with acne, and it's important that you seek treatment early, rather than trying to manage the condition on your own, because you want to minimize the risk of any scarring."

For more information:
Dr. Paul Friedman
Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center

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