Learn more about acne.
Acne is one of the most common skin disorders. Acne is an inflammatory condition of the pores on your face, chest, and back. Acne is characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. In more severe cases, cysts and deep nodules develop. There is no cure for acne, however, many treatments are available to keep it under control in order to prevent discomfort, embarrassment or permanent scarring. Treatments include topical or internal antibiotics and anti-inflammatory preparations. For severe cystic acne or nodular acne, a medication such as Isotretinoin (originally marketed as Accutane), a vitamin A derivative, is available. Acne scarring can be treated by topical acids, dermabrasion, and other methods.
Many things can make acne worse. These include:
1. Emotional stress.
2. Menstrual cycle changes.
3. Sometimes excess amounts of milk, cheese, chocolate, or other fatty foods and occasionally caffeine in soft drinks or coffee can be a problem, but this is not true in every case.
4. Foods with a high iodinated salt content (like many fast foods) may aggravate acne.
5. Generally unhealthy lifestyles without a balanced diet, adequate sleep and exercise.
6. Excess sweating or rubbing on the skin.
7. Over-washing of the skin.
8. Greasy hair, especially when laying over the forehead.
9. Certain cosmetics, creams or moisturizers when used on the face.
Acne is usually a condition of teenagers. Fortunately, most people will outgrow their acne. However, some people can continue to have severe problems even into their 30's and 40's. Avoiding treatment can lead to permanent scars and disfigurement. The treatment for acne focuses on reducing the amount of oil, and/or bacteria in your pores, thereby preventing further breakouts. Please remember that acne is a disease that takes time to treat. It will usually take 4-6 weeks of treatment before you will see a change in your acne, since your pores need time to adapt to the medication.
There are a number of different preparations prescribed for the treatment of acne, depending on your particular skin type and the severity of your acne. Individual treatment regimens may include topical and oral antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, Retin-A, glycolic acid, and other topical preparations. Chemical peels of various types, local treatment with intralesional injections, liquid nitrogen, lesion removal, blackhead extraction, facial treatments or other modalities may be helpful in some cases.
Isotretinoin (also referred to as Accutane) is a remarkable medication available for the treatment of cystic acne. Cystic acne is a severe form of acne characterized by large, red, tender nodules which appear on the face, chest or back. It is often associated with significant scarring. Cystic acne is frequently resistant to routine acne therapies. Isotretinoin is a derivative of Vitamin A which, when taken orally, has a direct effect on the skin and sebaceous glands.
Isotretinoin is certainly a "wonder drug", but there are some potential risks/significant side effects associated with its use. In each case, the potential risks must be weighed against the potential benefits to determine if Isotretinoin is the right drug for a particular case.
Isotretinoin can provide dramatic results in some patients with cystic acne. Careful patient selection and monitoring will help to minimize the risks associated with Isotretinoin. If you have further questions regarding Isotretinoin, please contact our office.