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      Acne is the most common skin condition, affecting teenagers as well as adults.  It is not caused by poor hygiene or the foods that we eat, but rather by overproduction of oil that sticks to dead skin cells that becomes clogged in pores.  Hormones also play a role in causing acne.  Acne appears in different forms such as whiteheads, blackheads, inflamed pimples, and painful cysts.  If acne is untreated, it may cause dark spots or even scars.

     There are many effective ways of treating acne, such as topical creams and washes, oral medications, extractions, and chemical peels.  It is important to see a dermatologist to evaluate your acne, because treating moderate to severe acne with over-the-counter topicals usually proves to be ineffective.  At the office visit, you will be given a unique treatment regimen based on the type and severity of your acne.  We will also recommend a gentle skin care regimen to use during this time.  It is important to follow this regimen as directed, because this can affect how quickly your skin improves.  It is also important that you are patient with your progress; acne does not clear overnight.


Is anything in my diet causing acne?

Generally, no. The primary trigger of most cases of acne is the fluctuation of hormones. Hormones stimulate the oil glands to produce more oil, which lead to blocked pores. Bacteria can then grow within the clogged pore, causing them to become inflamed and become a pimple.  That happens at times of major hormonal change, such as during the menstrual cycle, and during the teenage years, no matter what you eat. So despite what you were told, eating too many potato chips won’t cause you to break out.

There is some evidence that very few foods may cause acne to worse.  A rather convincing article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology stated that people who consume large amounts of dairy products (milk, cream cheese, yogurt) have a higher risk for acne.  Gladly, chocolate is not proven to be an acne-causing culprit.

Can I still wear makeup if I have acne?

Yes, you can still wear makeup, although you might want to pay closer attention to the ingredients in your makeup.  Some makeup, such as thick, full-coverage liquid foundations can clog your pores and further aggravate acne.  So, the makeup that you may be using to cover up your acne could be causing you to have more breakouts.  Read the labels of your makeup to ensure they are categorized as "non-comedogenic," meaning that it will not clog your pores.  Some brands even have a specific line formulated for acne-prone skin.  You should also ask your doctor if he can recommend a specific type that would be best for you.

Does acne mean I’m not keeping my face clean enough?

Not necessarily. In fact, being too aggressive with your cleansing can further irritate acne.  Avoid using harsh scrubs or manually scrubbing your face too hard.  choose a cleanser indicated for acne, or a gentle cleanser.  If your dermatologist puts you on a prescription regimen, it is best to stick to a gentle cleanser and rely on your medicines to do the work.

Why do some adults have acne?

Adult acne is more common than you think!  Although the hormonal fluctuations that cause acne are most common during the teenage years, it can also occur in adults. Women may experience hormonal swings during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause that result in acne breakouts. Men can also continue to have acne into adulthood.  Acne can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as anticonvulsants and steroid drugs. There are many wonderful therapies for adult acne, therefore it is important to see a dermatologist who can recommend a treatment plan just for you.

Why is it important to be compliant with my prescriptions?

It can take up to 6 weeks on a prescribed regimen to see an improvement in your acne, and that is only if you faithfully follow the regimen every day.  Acne does not appear over night, therefore it will not go away over night!  Your dermatologist will see you for a follow-up visit in 6 weeks to decide if the regimen is working for you, and may make some changes.  You should be honest about if you have been following the regimen, and how you feel about your acne.  Communication is key to improving acne.  Most importantly, do not give up on treating your acne.  You will be much happier once you are acne-free!

American Academy of Dermatology
Everything you need to know about acne from the most reliable source