Acne is a very common skin condition caused by excess oil and dead skin cells clogging the patient’s hair follicles. Bacteria can infect the hair follicle and make it red and inflamed. While acne is most common in teenagers and young adults, it can affect anyone, which is why it can be hard to know when you should visit a dermatologist.
Generally speaking, the milder types of acne can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications. If the acne isn’t getting better after around ten weeks of treating it, though, it’s time to call the dermatologist. If it’s actually getting worse, it’s definitely time to call the doctor.
Moderate or severe acne should always be seen by a dermatologist. It’s more likely to cause scarring than the milder forms, and over-the-counter medications aren’t strong enough to affect it.
Severe acne that suddenly develops in an older adult may actually be a symptom of a disease and should thus always be examined. Acne can also cause emotional distress in people, especially teenagers. If a patient with acne finds themselves getting depressed or avoiding social situations, they should see their dermatologist.
How Can a Dermatologist Help?
A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating skin conditions. They will thus know all of the treatments for acne. They can also reduce acne scars and advise the patient on how to prevent scarring.
There are many treatments for acne, and the dermatologist will choose one based on the type of acne and its severity. The various acne medications work by making the skin less oily, killing the bacteria that cause or worsen acne, or by reducing the inflammation that can cause scars. Most of them take a month or two to work.
In most cases, the doctor will start by prescribing a topical medication. Possibilities include antibiotics, retinoids, and salicylic acid.
If the patient has moderate to severe acne, the doctor may prescribe an oral medication. Antibiotics like macrolide or tetracycline are the most commonly used treatments. Isotretinoin is a powerful drug used on resistant and severe cases. Since it can cause severe side effects, the dermatologist will closely monitor the patient.
The doctor may prescribe steroid injections for patients with nodular or cystic acne, which are the most severe types. The injections will both relieve pain and eliminate the acne.
If you are interested in learning about the acne treatments we offer at Metro Dermatology, feel free to visit us at one of our locations in Elmhurst, Flushing, Englewood, or the Bronx. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!