For some people, acne doesn’t end after puberty – and chronic acne can leave a mark on your skin, as well as your self-confidence. Fortunately, dermatologists have had years to explore the different acne scar treatment in pittsburgh that can help control breakouts and treat scarring. At Prizant Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA, we know of several treatments for acne that can help control your skin condition and ultimately help your skin look and feel healthier.
What Happens During Acne Treatment?
Your acne is unique to you, so your acne scar treatment in pittsburgh will be a unique process too. The first step of your acne scar treatment in pittsburgh will be attending a consultation with a dermatologist for a skin analysis and an assessment of your skin condition. During your consultation, you will need to discuss how long you have had acne, your lifestyle and skincare habits, and previous treatments or products you have used in the past to treat acne.
After your consultation, you will be given various treatment recommendations. Because there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for acne, it’s likely your treatment will involve a combination of aesthetic treatments and medical therapies to address your acne condition. The exact type of acne you have and the severity of your condition will be large factors in identifying the treatments that are most appropriate for you.
Your Treatment Options
Acne has been a conundrum dermatologists have been trying to solve for years. What works for one patient doesn’t always work for another, so it can take both time and patience to find the treatment that will work for you. That said, there are several treatment options you will be able to use to clear up acne and preserve the appearance of your skin, including:
Oral medications for acne generally fall under two categories: antibiotics or high-strength Vitamin A. Oral antibiotics are by far the most commonly prescribed oral medications for those who have moderate acne that has not responded to other topical medications or treatments. Oral antibiotics work by eliminating the excess bacteria in the skin, which will then limit the bacteria in the pores that contribute to acne.
High-strength Vitamin A medications, such as Accutane, are typically prescribed for those who have cystic acne that cannot be treated with topical medications. This treatment works by reducing the amount of oil in your skin and promoting cellular renewal. Accutane is taken for a short time and generally produces long-lasting results.
Topical medications for acne are usually the first line of defense for those who have mild to moderate acne. Topical medications can include antibiotics or ointments such as benzoyl peroxide. The goal of a topical medication is to eliminate the acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin, which should then prevent acne breakouts.
Retinoids are another type of topical medication that is proven to be highly effective for treating acne. Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A and work to reduce excessive oil production on the skin and promote faster cellular turnover. Over time, retinoids will resurface the skin, reduce the appearance of acne scarring, and prevent acne breakouts.
Photodynamic therapy is proven to be highly effective for the treatment of acne, particularly for those who have sensitive skin and have not responded well to topical or oral medications. This therapy works by using different light wavelengths to treat the underlying causes of breakouts, including excessive oil production, slow cellular turnover, and bacteria in the skin.
For many, it’s necessary to combine treatments to achieve the desired results. While some are lucky enough to treat acne with only a topical medication, others may need to combine oral and topical medications to control acne and treat current breakouts. That said, it may not be possible to combine some medications and treatments. For example, some acne medications may not be safe to combine with photodynamic therapy because of the risk of hyperpigmentation. Your dermatologist will make the best recommendation for you.
How Long Until You See Results?
Treating acne is a process that will require time to see any significant results. The speed of your results will depend on the type of acne you are treating, the severity of your acne, and the type of treatment used. Oral and topical antibiotics may show faster results than other treatments, such as retinoids. If you are using benzoyl peroxide, then it may take four weeks to see results. Photodynamic therapy may require several treatments to show results.
How Frequently Should You Have Treatment?
For most acne treatments, you should use your recommended treatment every day to produce your desired results. For example, you may need to take oral medications once a day or use topical medications twice a day for best results. Other treatments, such as photodynamic therapy, should be done once a month to control acne breakouts and allow time for the skin to heal between treatments.
Can Treatments Help With Scarring?
Yes, some treatments for acne can also address acne scarring. In particular, topical retinoids used to treat acne are also known to reduce the appearance of shallow scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Photodynamic therapy may also reduce the appearance of superficial scarring over time. If you are concerned about scarring, please speak with your dermatologist for treatment options.
Who Are Good Candidates?
Most people who have mild, moderate, and severe acne are eligible for acne scar treatment Pittsburgh. The treatments recommended for you will be based on your skin type and tone, the type and severity of your acne, your lifestyle, and other factors, such as skin sensitivity. Candidates can include young teens and adult patients who still struggle with acne.
What Causes Acne?
The cause of acne is widely agreed to be a combination of an irregular cellular turnover cycle, acne-causing bacteria on the skin, and excessive oil production. The combination of these three factors often results in clogged pores and tiny bacterial infections that present as pimples on the face. Whether or not you have acne may be linked to genetic factors, your diet, skincare products, or your lifestyle habits.
There are several types of acne and most people will have a combination of these acne types, which is part of why treating acne can be so hard. Types of acne can include pimples, cystic acne, whiteheads, blackheads, oily skin, and enlarged pores. It’s common for people to experience acne in cycles related to their hormones, such as women experiencing breakouts about a week before a menstrual cycle.
What About Acne Scarring?
Acne scarring is a byproduct of an acne breakout and can present in a few different forms. The most common type of acne scarring is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which causes darker patches of skin to develop where a zit has been. While hyperpigmentation caused by acne can fade by itself, this process can take several months and may create permanent skin discoloration.
Acne scarring can also present as textural scars, such as icepick scars, rolling scars, and boxcar scars. This type of acne scarring typically occurs on the cheeks, chin, and sometimes the forehead. Treating these scars can be difficult because they are caused by incorrect collagen formation during wound healing, so to treat these scars, the amount of collagen in the skin will also need to increase. Sometimes retinoids can make these scars appear less noticeable.
Can You Make Treatments More Effective?
Absolutely! You can always make your treatments for acne more effective by following a few simple rules at home between your treatments. Some ways you can make your treatments more effective so you can have fewer breakouts and healthier skin include:
Hydration and Diet
Drinking enough water each day is a major part of keeping your skin clear since water removes toxins from the body. Likewise, a diet low in sodium, sugar, and processed foods (fast food) will also benefit your skin.
Your skincare routine and the products you use can also play a large role in preventing breakouts. You should wash your skin with a gentle cleanser twice a day, keep your skin moisturized, and be sure to wear SPF when you plan to be outside. Some oral and topical medications can cause photosensitivity, so protecting your skin will ensure your results are ideal.
Finally, the most important thing you can do to make your treatment more effective is to use your treatment consistently. This means following the prescribed directions for your acne medications, using the same products each day, and keeping all of your treatment appointments. With consistent treatments, your skin will be balanced and breakouts will be controlled.
Find the Acne Treatment That Works for You
Acne is tough to treat, but finding the acne treatment that works for you is easy when you seek the help of a dermatologist. Your skin expert will recommend the best treatment for your skin type and acne condition. Contact Prizant Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA to schedule your consultation today.