Dr. M. Cusack, Acne Specialist in Anchorage, AK
What is Acne?
Acne refers to pimples, lumps, or plugged pores and commonly develops on the face, neck, shoulders, and back. It is a relatively common and usually temporary condition. It is hormonal result of the pilo sebaceous unit (hair follicles and oil glands).
At Alaska Dermatology Laser & Skin Cancer Center, we understand that acne cases are different and will work with patients’ as needed. We will help you understand acne and choose a treatment method appropriate for you.
This type of acne is caused by sebum, an oil in the skin, that clogs the pores of the skin. Usually appears on the nose, chin and forehead, the result is blackheads or whiteheads.
When comedonal acne becomes inflamed and reddened, the result is pimples. Severe acne left untreated can lead to permanent scarring.
What Else Causes Acne?
It has long been believed that eating certain foods, like chocolate or greasy fried foods, can cause acne. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory, though there is anecdotal evidence that certain people will experience acne outbreaks after eating certain foods. Using skin products or cosmetics that contain oils can cause or increase acne.
Who Gets Acne?
Contrary to popular belief, acne outbreaks are not limited to a person’s teenage years. Acne can affect people at any age. It is common in teenagers because there is more sebum produced at times when hormones surge, such as adolescence. But this also makes acne common in women before menstruation, during the years leading up to menopause and sometimes during pregnancy. Other factors can play a role in the cause of acne such as: hormones, heredity, bacteria, etc. There are different forms of acne, as well as different treatment methods.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases provides an Acne fast fact sheet, for more information.
Our dermatology specialists in Anchorage, AK welcome all patients in need of acne treatment. The Alaska Dermatology Laser & Skin Cancer Center is accepting new patients and accepts most insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid.
At Alaska Dermatology Laser & Skin Cancer Center, you can discuss with your dermatologist the best acne treatment for your skin. Some treatment methods are:
- Retinoids – Forms of Vitamin A; used to treat comedonal acne and mild cases of inflammatory acne and scarring.
- Benzoyl Peroxide – The common form of over-the-counter acne medication. Cream or lotion is applied directly to the skin. In some people it can cause irritation or even allergic reaction. Benzoyl peroxide products can bleach fabric or carpet fibers.
- Antibiotics – Topical forms can be used for mild to moderate acne; oral antibiotics for more severe acne.
- Salicylic Acid – For comedonal acne, this is an exfoliant that can be used in conjunction with other acne medications and help those medications to penetrate the skin.
- Sodium Sulfacetamide – Sulfur medications. Usually used with other acne medications. Several different forms are available, including masks.
- Azelaic Acid – Used to treat inflammatory acne and pigmentation; rosacea. Can cause skin irritation that usually subsides with continued use.
- Hormonal Treatments – For women, oral contraceptives can be used to treat acne. They work by increasing estrogen and are especially effective for acne outbreaks related to the menstrual cycle.
Seek Alaska Dermatology Center for Acne Treatment
When undergoing acne treatment, patients should remember that acne is generally slow to respond to medications, and usually responds best to a treatment regimen that includes a combination of different medications. Stress can aggravate acne, and acne can change form or temporarily worsen due to a variety of factors. Treatment of acne will vary according to severity and may persist to some degree throughout life. Acne that does not respond to over-the-counter medications should be treated by a physician.
Alaska dermatologist Dr. Michael Cusack and his team are specialists in skin care and acne treatment.