“I have a new zit. Awesome,” said no one ever.
Having a new blemish can create stress and anxiety for most people. The good news is that there are a lot of great options to help.
You’re Not Alone
Acne is one of the most common dermatological skin conditions in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 85 percent of people have had acne at some point of their lives. Acne most commonly occurs in the teenage years but can occur into adulthood as well. It doesn’t discriminate against men or women. It doesn’t discriminate against teens or adults.
Blemishes occur when pores (the openings to oil glands) become clogged with excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. These are often referred to as blackheads. The surrounding skin also can react and become red and inflamed, showing up as a red pimple (papule or pustule).
When Acne is Cystic, See Your Dermatologist
Sometimes, inflammation can lead to even deeper, larger, and often painful bumps known as cysts. It is always important to seek an appointment with a dermatologist if you are getting painful cysts as these can lead to scarring.
If you get breakouts, there are some things to avoid:
Products that will further clog your pores. Look for products that are non-comedogenic.
Excess dirt and oil. Wash off excess sweat, dirt, and oil after exercising.
Picking or squeezing. This can lead to worsening inflammation and scarring.
Always seek the help of a dermatologist to find the best regimen for you.
A dermatologist may recommend a variety of treatments based on your skin and the type of acne you have. Common treatments can include:
Oral Antibiotics can reduce inflammation to limit the amount and frequency of breakouts you have. Doxycycline and Minocycline are two common antibiotics used.
Topical therapy can range in active ingredients and strengths depending on the type of acne you have. Topicals kill bacteria, exfoliate, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation.
Acne surgery is performed in a dermatologist office and is used to safely extract blackheads and whiteheads.
CO2 slush is a procedure performed in a dermatology office to reduce redness and inflammation.
No matter what your dermatologist recommends, it is important to be patient. Don’t give up if you aren’t seeing immediate results. A new regimen can take 8-12 weeks to produce results. Make sure to follow up with your dermatologist to track your improvement and make any necessary changes if needed.
Most importantly, remember your skin is worth the time and patience you put into it. You got this!