Acne, you don’t have to go it alone…

lawrenceBy Larry Robinson, PA-C, dermatology physician assistant

Why do I have acne?
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Nearly every person, to a certain degree, will be affected by acne in their lifetime. It’s not confined to only the teenage years, onset may also occur during childhood, or later in life. It occurs in all races and skin types. The severity of acne varies from a few comedones (whiteheads and blackheads), to the severest form, nodulocystic acne, which can result in scars and disfigurement.

Will creams and ointments I see in the supermarket get rid of it?
There remains no way to prevent acne; there is no cure and today’s over-the-counter remedies contain the same basic ingredients as those on drugstore shelves decades ago. This doesn’t mean that over-the-counter acne medications don’t have a place in acne management. They are still useful to treat mild acne. But if you have tried these, and the other heavily advertised acne treatment product lines, and your acne still hasn’t improved it may be time to get dermatology care. You don’t need to go it alone.

What can a dermatology provider do to treat acne and am I a good candidate for that?
Our dermatology providers are skin care experts, specially-trained in the management of acne.  We will individualize an effective treatment plan for you. Together, we can clear up your skin.   There are many more medical options today for treating acne than there were 10 years ago. Our approach ends up being different for every one of our patients, and depends on many factors including your type of acne.  Just because a certain medication worked well for your best friend, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Comedonal acne, or whiteheads and blackheads, responds well to topical retinoid medications, such as adapalene, tretinoin, or tazarotene, and are the mainstay of all acne treatments. The red, painful, deeper bumps are inflammatory acne that often needs topical and systemic antibiotics in pill form. Severe, nodulocystic acne may require the use of oral isotretinoin (generic Accutane), also in pill form. The deeper, painful lesions may even need an injection of steroids to help resolve them quickly.  Hormonally-triggered acne flares can also be effectively managed with systemic medications, in conjunction with traditional acne therapies. Our providers are equipped to deal with and help relieve all the different types of acne. Schedule your appointment online or call us at 360-459-1700.

Will medical dermatology treatments really work for me?
The good news is nearly every case of acne can be lessened and/or resolved. I base this on my many years of experience as a dermatology provider.  Recent advances in topically applied prescription medications have brought about better control of acne with fewer side effects, such as dryness and flaking that were seen in the past. Adjuvant therapies, like facials, can be used to complement your acne treatment regimen.  Once your acne has cleared, lasers and other progressive treatments can correct the appearance of your skin. Your dermatology provider can recommend the best treatments based on your goals and wishes.

What’s my role in helping rid my skin of acne?
The key to successfully treating your acne is working with a dermatology provider to identify the best treatment option for your skin. Once implemented, sticking with the treatment plan is paramount.  Acne treatments can take up to 8-12 weeks before noticeable improvement, so be patient and consistent about doing your part. When you return for your follow-up appointment with your provider, the effectiveness of your treatment plan will be reassessed and adjusted if necessary. Finding the right treatment combination for your unique case of acne can take some time and tinkering, but our team of providers are dedicated to finding just the right regimen that gets your acne under control.