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What is acne, and how do you treat different types of acne, from whiteheads to cysts?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to the formation of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. The skin condition can be difficult to manage and frustrating for the individual affected. However, with the right knowledge and treatment, you can keep acne at bay.

One of the main causes of acne is hormonal changes, particularly during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Hormones such as testosterone can trigger the production of excess oil in the skin, leading to clogged pores and acne breakouts. Individuals with a family history of acne have a higher risk of experiencing the condition themselves, as genetics also play a role in the development of acne.

There are several types of acne, including the following:

  1. Whiteheads – Small, white bumps that form when pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
  2. Blackheads – Small, dark bumps that develop when pores are clogged with oil and bacteria.
  3. Papules – Small, red bumps that are inflamed and tender to the touch. 
  4. Pustules – Pimples that contain pus and are often red and swollen.
  5. Cysts – Large, painful bumps that form deep within the skin and can cause scarring.

Acne can be categorized as either non-inflamed acne (blackheads and whiteheads) or inflamed acne (papules, pustules, and cysts). 

When it comes to treating acne, your best option is to get on a skincare regimen that is acne-safe and free of any comedogenic ingredients that can clog the pores paired with aesthetic treatments. The following are a few of the best aesthetic treatments on the market to treat acne:

  1. Chemical peels, which use acids to exfoliate the skin and unclog the pores, reducing breakouts and clearing the skin
  2. Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy,a treatment which can target and destroy acne-causing bacteria, reduce redness/inflammation, and improve skin quality
  3. Facials/Hydrafacials, which are skin resurfacing treatments that can be tailored to treat acne through deep cleansing, exfoliation, and products specifically designed to treat acne)

While aesthetic treatments are important to integrate into your skincare routine, your lifestyle is equally  important to consider. Research suggests ingesting certain foods, such as dairy products and high-glycemic foods, may exacerbate acne in some individuals. In addition to diet, it is important to  ensure that any makeup and skincare products (such as SPF) are free from any pore-clogging ingredients to keep the skin free of breakouts. 

Can you outgrow acne?

While the skin condition is most common in teenagers and young adults, it can affect people of all ages. Acne is, unfortunately, a condition that cannot be cured but can be treated, and individuals can remain clear as long as they stick to a proper skin care regimen, regular aesthetic treatments, and optimal lifestyle habits.

Interested in scheduling a consultation to treat acne? 

Schedule a complimentary consultation at HerMD today.

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