Dermatology & Acne
Acne is a common skin disorder, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It affects both teenagers and adults. Understanding the disorder, its causes and its remedies can give those with acne an idea of the options available for treatment.
What is Dermatology
Dermatology is simply the study of skin, skin disorders and skin diseases. A dermatologist specializes in the treatment of skin, hair and fingernail disorders and diseases. He assesses the skin of a patient, addresses questions and recommends a treatment plan.
What is Acne?
The University of Maryland Medical Center says acne is a chronic condition that develops when dead skin cells and oil produced by the sebaceous glands plug the pores. Bacteria, called Propionibacterium acnes, infect the clogged pores, and inflammation results. Acne is so common, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that approximately 17 million Americans have it in some form. It is usually found on the face, neck, upper back, chest and shoulders.
There are four types of acne, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Acne vulgaris usually begins around puberty and is the most common type of acne. Chemical acne is associated with exposure to certain oils and chemicals. Chloracne is associated with exposure of chlorinated hydrocarbon chemicals. Tropical acne is linked to exposure to humid and hot climate conditions.
A variety of factors can contribute to acne, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Fluctuating hormones are the leading contributor for both teenagers and adults. This is especially true for women around the time of menses, pregnancy and menopause. Certain drugs, such as barbiturates, can affect acne, as well as certain cosmetics. Environmental factors such as humidity and pollution can also affect acne.
Treatment of Acne
Topical acne solutions include benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, azelaic acid and retinoids, some of which can be purchased over the counter. Oral acne treatments, also known as systemic medications, include oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline and tetracycline, and certain oral contraceptives. A dermatologist can prescribe medications that are stronger than those that can be purchased over the counter.
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