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Acne is Painful and Difficult, But There Are Different Options to Treat It

Sep 3, 2008
Almost all of us have suffered the embarrassment of acne at one time or another in our lives, either as a teenager or as an adult. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 80 percent of people between 11 and 30 report having had some form of acne. It is one of the most common skin conditions, and a full thirty percent of all visits to dermatologists involve acne or acne-related treatments.

Acne is caused by the p.acnes bacteria, which occur normally in the body and are usually released when your skin sheds the outermost layer of dead skin cells. Sometimes, however, the bacteria become trapped within the skin and a pimple forms.

Common forms include moderate and inflammatory acne. Many adults are left with disfiguring acne scars caused by incomplete treatment in their youth. Whiteheads, blackhead and pustules, after treatment, also often leave acne scars which can be just as devastating to the patient as was the acne it replaced.

There are many myths about acne, such as eating chocolate, pizza or other foods will bring on the condition. Actually, there have been no scientific links made between food and acne. Other myths say that poor hygiene is the cause while sunlight cures it.

The actual cause of acne is an increased level of androgens, first encountered in puberty. Androgens, which are also responsible for an increased sex drive, cause more production of a type of facial oil, known as sebum. When the bacterium P. acnes is also present, acne forms.

Here's how it happens: Sebum brings skin cells to the surface of the skin but when it meets excess oil, the opening of the gland becomes clogged. Excess oil and old cells plug the duct and a whitehead results. After it enlarges, its dark tip forms a blackhead. Bacteria may then multiple in the clogged pores to cause red, inflamed pimples and the start of acne. The condition is also associated with the hormonal changes associated with a woman's period, pregnancy or menopause.

Additionally, overuse of makeup and masking creams can affect the skin by removing its protective coating of helpful bacteria or causing too much dryness. Moreover, some scientists say stress and acne are related.

Acne scars include raised (hypertrophic) and depressed (atrophic,) scars which are the most common. Their appearance ranges from looking like a scar caused by an ice pick to a wide saucer type scar.

Because there are different types of ace and acne scars, surgical revisions will depend on the type you have. Your physician can lead you through the many options to the best treatment option for your case.
How are Acne Treatments Performed?

There are several ways cosmetic and plastic surgeons commonly treat acne and acne scars. They are: chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing , dermabrasion and microdermabrasion .

Chemical peels: strong chemicals remove the top layer of skin to smooth depressed acne scars and give the skin a more even color. Peels are most helpful in treating shallow and superficial acne scars. The surgeon applies the chemical to the skin with ordinary cotton tipped applicator, starting at the forehead and moving over the cheeks to the chin. Various chemicals are used for different depth peels. Light peels require no healing time while deeper peels often need up to two weeks to heal.

Laser skin resurfacing: Another technique for treating superficial scars is by laser, a device which uses a high-energy, amplified light to vaporize the top layer of skin, allowing new skin to grow. The ultra pulsed carbon dioxide laser, the erbium YAG laser and the pulsed dye yellow light laser are most commonly used for treating acne scarring.

Dermabrasion: the mechanical sanding of the upper layers of the scar. A new layer of skin replaces the ground down (or, abraded, as a physician would say) layer of skin.

Microdermabrasion: tiny particles passing through a vacuum tube gently scrape away the top layer of scarred skin and stimulate new cell growth. Patients with mild scarring are the best candidates; multiple treatments are usually required to achieve the best results.

For deep pitted scars, the physician cuts out the core of scar tissue with a small needle and stitches up the hole. During one session, many of these scars are usually treated. Or, the practitioner may replace the excised part with a small graft of normal skin, (often taken from behind the ear) and then taping it in place.

Soft tissue augmentation with an injectable filler is yet another option, useful for shallower acne scars. The fillers last anywhere from a few weeks to nine months. Some of the newer fillers, like Restylane and Hylaform last two to six years after the injections. Most work by stimulating your body's natural collagen around the filler and plumps up the area injected.
About the Author
Beverly Hills Physicians is an online resource for acne treatment in Beverly Hills. Learn more about this and other cosmetic surgery procedures at http://www.beverlyhillsphysicians.com/about/ and http://lookingyourbest.com/facialrejuvenation/.
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