Myths about acne are as common as the skin problem. Acne can appear on the back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms and buttocks. One common myth is that you have to let acne run its course, however Dermatologists know that letting a skin disruption run its course is not always the best advice. Treatments include oral and topical medications, along with treatments using light and exfoliation. Depending on your skin type and the level of infection, your doctor will recommend a path of treatment that may combine several different treatments.
• Without treatment, dark spots and permanent scars can appear on the skin as the disruption clears.
• Treating acne often boosts a person’s self-esteem.
• Many effective treatments are available.
More Adult Women Getting Treatment
Acne is not just a teenage problem and a growing number of women have break-outs in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond and sometimes there is no explanation for the disruption. Dermatologists are not sure why this is happening - it could be environmental, stress, hormonal or other changes. At any given time, 40-50 million Americans suffer from acne, and we understand that this can be particularly frustrating.
Many people think that acne is just pimples. But a person who has a breakout can have any of these blemishes:
- Pustules (what many people call pimples).
- Low self-esteem: Many people say that their acne makes them feel bad about themselves, and sometimes they isolate themselves and shy away from friends. They miss school, work, and grades can slide. Absenteeism can become a problem because people want to hide away from their skin disruption.
- Depression: Many people who have acne suffer from more than low self-esteem. It can lead to a medical condition called depression that can be so bad that people think about what it would be like to commit suicide. Many studies have found that teens who believe that they have “bad” acne were likely to think about committing suicide.
- Dark spots on the skin: These spots appear when the breakout heals, and it can take months or years for dark spots to disappear.
- Scars (permanent): People who get acne cysts and nodules often see scars when the acne clears but you can prevent these scars with early treatment. Be sure to see a dermatologist for treatment if you get acne early — between 8 and 12 years old. If someone in your family had cysts and nodules, you also should see a dermatologist if you get acne. Treating skin disorders before cysts and nodules appear can prevent scars.
What causes acne?
A pimple appears when a pore in our skin clogs, which begins with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells rise to surface of the pore and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make lots of sebum (see-bum), oil that keeps our skin from drying out, the dead skin cells can stick together inside the pore. Instead of rising to the surface, the cells become trapped inside the pore.
Sometimes bacteria that live on our skin and get inside the clogged pore providing a perfect environment for multiplying very quickly. With loads of bacteria inside, the pore becomes inflamed (red and swollen). If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, a cyst or nodule appears.