What is Acne?
Acne vulgaris is one of the most common skin conditions, caused by a combination of overactive oil glands, irregular shedding of dead skin cells, and bacteria buildup. Although acne can occur at any age, the usual age of onset is at puberty. Acne usually appears on the face, but the chest and back are frequently affected, as these areas have a large number of oil (sebaceous) glands.
Why does acne occur?
When an oil gland opening (pore) becomes clogged with dirt, and dead skin, a blackhead or whitehead forms and the surrounding skin becomes inflamed. This irritation can appear as small red pimples (pustules or papules) or deeper, larger, painful cysts. There are different types of acne lesions:
- open comedones (called blackheads)
- closed comedones (called whiteheads)
- pustules (pus-filled bump)
- cysts (painful deep bump)
Acne removal should only be done by medical professionals. Never pick at acne lesions or squeeze with fingernails or other objects, as this may cause permanent scarring.
How do we treat acne?
There are various approaches we use for effectively treating acne. Often, a combination of more than one treatment type may be recommended. Acne treatments that we use include:
- Acne Surgery (including corticosteroid injections)
- Accutane (Isotretinoin)
- Chemical peeling
- Systemic hormonal treatment such as birth control pills
- Systemic antibiotic therapy
- Topical antibiotic or retinoid medications
- Laser or Light treatments
How does acne surgery work?
After the skin has been anesthetized with a topical numbing cream, acne lesions are opened and drained, and inflamed pustules and cysts may be injected with an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid. An acne cleaning may be followed by a gently exfoliating chemical peel.
What can I expect?
Acne surgery at Orentreich Medical Group is performed only by our trained medical staff using sterile surgical instruments, and a gentle technique. A topical numbing cream may be applied prior to the treatment to reduce pain associated with the procedure.
We extract comedones with a specialized comedone expressor tool. A fine scalpel may be used to make a tiny "nick" at the top of a lesion to allow its contents to be expressed without traumatizing the skin. Anti-inflammatory corticosteroid injections may be administered to some lesions to reduce redness, swelling, pain, and limit the destructive potential for those lesions to scar.
Following treatment, you may experience some redness or swelling, which clears in one to two days, revealing healthier, clearer skin. Acne surgery is just one method of treating acne and may be combined with other prescribed treatments.
Have a question about your treatment?
We have a dedicated triage nurse (RN) who answers patient questions during office hours. If you have a problem or question about a procedure or a prescribed medication, please call our office and ask to speak to our nurse. If she is unable to answer your question, she will consult with your practitioner and return your call.