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Closeup of a girl looking at her forehead acne in a makeup mirrorAs June approaches, it marks the beginning of Acne Awareness Month, a 30-day campaign aimed at bringing light to the signs, symptoms and treatments of this common skin condition.  Dr. Bernard Gasch recently sat down to speak about this effort, and how patients can take a proactive role in managing their acne symptoms.

Adult and Teenage Acne Statistics

Acne affects roughly 40 to 50 million Americans, making it the most common skin disorder in the United States,” explains Dr. Gasch. About 85 percent of people who are 12 to 24 years old experience acne.

The skin condition can occur at any time in a person’s life and may even continue into their 30s and 40. In fact, the incidence of acne occurring in adults is increasing – acne affects about 15 percent of women.

Common Causes of Acne

Explaining the condition in more detail, Dr. Gasch offered this: “Acne is a skin condition in which pimples, cysts, nodules, and clogged pores appear on the skin, affecting a number of different areas on the body.  Not only can acne be painful, but it can affect patients emotionally, often diminishing confidence and self-esteem,” explains Dr. Gasch.  “Typically, acne is caused by three main factors: overproduction of oil in the skn, inflammation and irritation of the oil glands within the hair follicles, and a buildup of bacteria within hair follicles,” explains Dr. Gasch.

When oil, dead skin cells, or bacteria clog the pores, which are openings in the skin through which hair grows. Each pore of the skin opens to a follicle, which consists of an oil gland and a hair. The oil gland produces sebum, a type of oil that protects skin and keeps it lubricated.

Sebum flows up the hair, out of the pore, and onto the skin. Any disruption of this process can clog the pore and promote the growth of bacteria within the pore, which can result in the development of a pimple.

Treatment Options for Acne

One of the most uplifting aspects of spreading acne awareness during Acne Awareness Month is letting people know that it is possible to treat this skin condition. Several treatment options for acne are available. The specific treatment used depends largely on the severity of the acne, the patient’s age, the type of acne they have, and the effectiveness of over-the-counter acne treatments.

Dr, Gasch states, “Procedures such as photodynamic therapy, as well as certain lasers and specific chemical peels, can work to kill the unwanted bacteria and reduce inflammation in the skin. There are also a number of prescription medications, both topical and systemic, as well as various over-the-counter treatments which can be customized for the patient which are aimed at reducing or eliminating acne symptoms.”

Acne and skinCare

Explaining the connection between acne breakouts and daily skincare, Dr. Gasch offered this: “When it comes to acne, prevention can be just as important as the treatment. We recommend that our patients use non-comedogenic cosmetics, which are less likely to clog pores. Our patients are also advised to gently wash acne-prone areas twice daily using cleansers customized to their skin type. Also, upon consultation with us, we can choose certain specific ingredients found in skin-care products which will not only decrease the amount of oil produced in the skin, but also to decrease the amount of inflammation in the skin without creating irritation.  in my opinion, the most important aspect of a good acne skin regimen is effective results without irritation.”

Offering his final thoughts on the importance of Acne Awareness Month, Dr. Gasch concluded with this: It is important to remember that acne is a medical condition that is best handled under the care of a trained dermatologist.  We hope those living with untreated acne, who are bothered by it, will use Acne Awareness Month as an opportunity to seek care for the first time and find out more about managing this frustrating condition.”

To learn more about acne treatments offered by Center for Dermatology contact us today!