Acne treatment Acne treatment

Dermatological Acne Process

Dermatological Acne Process Dermatological Acne Process

Causing Factors

Most people experience acne at some point in their lives. The acne process starts with a causing factor. Acne can be contributed to by a number of factors, including excessive skin cell shedding, overproduction of natural sebum oil, infection by the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria and inflammation. To what extent these factors affect you depends largely on your genetics. For example, some family genetics may cause you to have oilier skin than others, resulting in an excess of sebum. Acne tends to begin around the time of puberty and can extend all the way through adulthood.


Acne forms when follicles on the skin become clogged. These clogs occur when sebum oil combines with dead skin cells to form a hard mass in the follicle. This creates a comedone, commonly referred to as whiteheads or blackheads, depending on whether the pore is open or closed. If the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria is present in the clog, it can multiply and cause infection, resulting in a type of acne called a pustule or papule. When the bacteria breaks into the surrounding skin and causes inflammation, another type of acne forms--cysts or nodules. If left untreated, cysts and nodules can build up pressure and burst, resulting in acne scar tissue.

OTC Treatment

When cases of acne are still in their mild comedone stages, your dermatologist may recommend an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment, such as salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a keratolytic agent, meaning it has the ability to break down the keratin protein found in the skin. As salicylic acid comes into contact with an acne clog, it breaks down the skin cell's keratin, releasing the clog from the pore. According to the New Zealand Dermatological Society, the regular use of salicylic acid can also prevent acne from forming by slowing down the rate in which skin cells shed in the follicles of the skin.

Prescription Treatments

If acne becomes a chronic problem, or turns into a more serious inflammatory case of acne, your dermatologist may recommend prescription treatment options. For example, for inflammatory cases of acne antibiotics, such as erythromycin, may be used either topically or orally to kill the P. acnes bacteria and relieve inflammation. Other prescription options include azelaic acid, retinoids (such as isotretinoin), and corticosteroid injections.

Other Treatments

Your dermatologist may also prescribe non-medicinal treatments. For example, laser therapy may be used to target the sebaceous glands on acne-prone areas of the skin. The energy of the laser damages the glands, causing them to produce less sebum. Chemical peels and dermabrasion may also be recommended to remove the outer layers of skin to help clear blocked follicles.

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