Acne Causes and Treatment

Issues related to acne can be especially problematic for South Asian skin as it can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pustules and painful cysts that can be distressing and lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation.  Therefore, prompt treatment is important and fortunately, numerous treatment options are available.

There are multiple factors that may contribute to the development of acne.  These include:  1. Plugged  follicles and overactive sebaceous glands, 2. Bacteria that live on the skin, 3. Hormones, and 4. An exacerbated inflammatory reaction to any of the above.

Treatments should target these specific factors:

Abnormal follicular plugging and sebaceous gland activity can be normalized with alpha hydroxy acids,  salicylic acid, retinoids (like retin a or accutane), chemical peels ,and microdermabrasion.

Bacteria can be targeted by topical or oral antibioitics or benzoyl  peroxide based products.

Hormonal based treatments are effective in women and may include birtht control pills or others hormonal blockers such as spironolactone. Women who have flares of acne with their menstrual cycles and note a preponderance of acne on the jawline, neck, or chin often have a significant hormonal component to their acne.  Dietary and stress factors that worsen acne may exert their effects through hormonal fluctuations in both men and women.

Excess inflammation can be targeted by numerous agents including the anti-inflammatory effects of antibiotics or medications like aczone. In some cases , steroids can be injected into acne cysts to decrease the inflammation.

Many cases of acne can be helped by easy to use over-the counter cleansers and creams.  More advanced cases, however, will require treatment by a dermatologist.