Acne — As 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.
“Acne affects roughly 40 to 50 million Americans, making it the most common skin disorder in the United States,” explains Dr. Gasch. “Despite how widespread it is, many are still unaware of the proper treatments and preventive measures; this is why Acne Awareness Month is so important.”
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 skin, inflammation and irritation of the oil glands within the hair follicles, and a buildup of bacteria within hair follicles. While it’s most common to see acne begin to appear during puberty, it can actually affect men and women well into their 40s and 50s.”
“Luckily, there are many ways to treat acne and ward off potential unwanted side effects, like scarring,” offers Dr. Gasch. “Procedures such as photodynamic therapy, as well as certain lasers and specific 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.”
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.”