Acne / Acne Scarring Treatment
Acne is a common condition that causes blocked pores, pimples, cysts and other lesions on the skin. While it is most common in teenagers, acne can affect people of allages, most often appearing on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Acne lesions develop when the pores become clogged, which may occur as a result of an overproduction of oil, buildup of bacteria or a shedding of dead skin cells that irritate the pores and hair follicles.
Acne is not a life-threatening condition, but often leads to physical disfigurement and emotional distress that can continue even after the condition has been treated. Patients bothered by the appearance of active acne lesions or their resulting scars often seek treatment to remove or significantly reduce their appearance through a wide range of treatment options.
Symptoms of Acne and Acne Scars
Patients with acne experience symptoms that can vary in appearance and severity depending on their age, lifestyle and individual condition, but may include:
Scars can vary in appearance in texture, but often develop as depressions in the skin, discolorations or other unwanted marks. They are most often caused by larger acne lesions such as cysts or nodules. Depending on each patient’s individual condition, your doctor will develop a customized treatment plan.
Treatment of Acne and Acne Scars
Treatment for acne aims to reduce oil production and increase the speed of skin cell turnover to prevent new blemishes from developing, and to also reduce inflammation and treat current symptoms. This can be done through a combination of topical treatment, antibiotics, Isotretinoin or oral contraceptives. Results often take several weeks to appear and acne may get worse before getting better.
Once active lesions are effectively under control, patients may be treated for acne scars through procedures such as tissue fillers, dermabrasion, laser treatment or surgical excision with the use of skin grafts. A combination of treatments is often most successful in reducing the appearance of scars.
Preventing Acne and Acne Scars
While there is no sure way to prevent future breakouts from occurring and scars from developing, there are certain home measures that patients can take to reduce the risk of breakouts, including avoiding heavy makeup, removing makeup before going to bed and using over-the-counter creams or gels to dry excess oil on the skin. It is also important to avoid picking, squeezing or popping lesions, as this can lead to infection and increase the risk of scarring.
Some patients are naturally prone to scarring and will not be able to prevent them from occurring. Fortunately, there are many treatments available to reduce the appearance of acne and its associated scarring and allow patients to achieve the beautiful skin of their dreams.
Moles & Birthmarks
Moles and other birthmarks are benign pigmented spots or patches of skin that range in color from tan, brown and black (moles) to red, pink or purple (vascular lesions, such as strawberry hemangiomas or port wine stains). Though most birthmarks are harmless, some larger ones may develop into cancer. Moles exhibiting any of the following warning signs should be examined by Dr. Potozkin immediately:
- Itches or bleeds
- Rapidly changes in color, size or shape
- Has multiple colors
- Is located where it can’t be easily monitored, such as on the scalp
Depending on their depth, location and color, as well as the patient’s skin type, age and other factors, treatment for benign but unattractive birthmarks may take the form of laser or pulsed light therapy, microdermabrasion or surgical excision.
See our skin cancer page to learn more about skin cancer screening and mole exams.
A rash is a change in the skin’s color or texture. Simple rashes are called dermatitis, which means the skin is inflamed or swollen. Other common rashes include eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, shingles, chicken pox, measles, scarlet fever, insect bites and those caused by medical conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Potozkin is usually able to identify the rash by looking at it and asking about accompanying symptoms. Sometimes a skin biopsy (removing a small piece of skin for microscopic examination) must be performed to diagnose a rash. Mild rashes can often be treated with simple home care practices such as avoiding soaps and bathing in warm water. Others may require moisturizing creams, prescription medications or more extensive treatment.
Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes redness and swelling on the face. The scalp, neck, ears, chest, back and/or eyes may also be affected. Symptoms range from red pimples, lines and visible blood vessels to dry or burning skin and a tendency to flush easily. Many people find that the emotional effects of rosacea – such as low self-confidence and avoidance of social situations – are more difficult to handle than the physical ones. Although it can affect anyone, rosacea typically appears in light-skinned, light-haired adults aged 30-50. It is not yet known what causes rosacea and the disease is not curable, although it can be treated with topical and oral medications, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or laser surgery.