What is Acne? It is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne is most common among teenagers, affecting 40 to 50 million persons of all ages and races. Five main factors cause acne: • • • • • Excess oil (sebum) production Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells Bacteria Inflammation Air pollution and certain weather conditions, especially high humidity. How is acne diagnosed? Your healthcare provider can diagnose acne during a skin exam. They may also ask if you’re undergoing significant stress or if you have a family history of acne, all of which are risk factors. Teenage girls and women may also be asked about their menstrual cycles, as breakouts are sometimes related. Sudden, severe acne outbreaks in older people can sometimes signal another underlying disease that requires medical attention. TYPES Whiteheads Blackheads Pustules Fungal Papules Nodules Cysts MEDICINE Medications applied topically Benzoyl peroxide Retinoids Salicylic acid (Benzac) (Vesanoid) (Compound W) Medications taken orally Oral contraceptives Antibiotics Isotretinoin (Natazia) (Augmentin) (Absorica) HOW DO THEY WORK? Medications applied topically Medications taken orally Benzoyl peroxide: Oral contraceptives: • • It treats and prevents acne by killing bacteria underneath the skin, as well as helping the pores shed dead skin cells and excess sebum (oil). It decreases the circulation of androgens, which decreases the production of sebum. The pills must contain both estrogen and progestin to be effective against acne. Retinoids: Antibiotics: • • It unclogs pores, allowing other medicated creams and gels to work better. They also reduce acne outbreaks by preventing dead cells from clogging pores. kill bacteria in your skin pores. Oral antibiotics work best if you start them at high doses. Your doctor will reduce the dose as your acne gets better. People with mild acne may need only topical antibiotics. Salicylic acid: Isotretinoin: • • It helps the skin to shed dead cells from the top layer and by decreasing redness and swelling (inflammation). This decreases the number of pimples that form and speeds healing. It shrinks the oil, or sebaceous, glands in the skin. This reduces the amount of oil that is produced. SIDE EFFECTS Medications applied topically Medications taken orally Benzoyl peroxide: • • • Dry skin Red or peeling skin Burning or stinging (skin irritation) Retinoids: • • • • Dryness Tightness Peeling Redness Salicylic acid: Oral contraceptives: • • • • • Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Gingivitis (swelling of the gum tissue) Weight gain or weight loss. Antibiotics: • • • • • Vomiting Diarrhea Bloating and indigestion. Abdominal pain. Loss of appetite. • Severe headache, ringing in your ears, problems with hearing and thinking • Severe stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea Isotretinoin: • A light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; • Shortness of breath or severe burning, dryness, or irritation of the skin. • • • Skin becoming more sensitive to sunlight. Dry eyes, throat, and nose Headaches and general aches and pains.