What Is Acne?

Acne can affect people with any skin type – at any age and is a common skin condition in which your hair follicles and sebaceous glands can become clogged, resulting in pimples.

Normally, dead skin cells are shed when they rise to the surface of your pores. However, if your body is producing a large amount of sebum (the oil that keeps our skin moist), these dead skin cells can get trapped inside your pores, causing whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples that usually breakout in areas of the face and other parts of your body.

Acne can be found in two forms:

  • Whiteheads or blackheads: These are caused when oil, dead skin cells and bacteria block the hair follicles.
  • Pimples: These pimples form when bacteria from the skin begin to grow inside the hair follicles and cause inflammation.


40 to 50 million Americans have acne at any given time.

Signs and Symptoms of Acne

Acne includes a variety of different types of blemishes that can appear in different locations on your body and include:

  • Blackheads
  • Cysts (under skin, pus-filled lumps)
  • Nodules (solid, painful lumps just beneath the surface of your skin)
  • Papules (small red tender, raised bumps)
  • Pustules (pimples that are red on the bottom and have pus on the top)
  • Whiteheads (non-inflamed clogged pores with a white top)

As acne progresses, additional symptoms may include dark spots and scars. Early treatment, before acne progresses to cysts and nodules, may prevent the development of severe spotting and scarring.

Acne can occur anywhere on your body, but typically appears in areas of your body where your skin has a large number of sebaceous glands, like your:

  • Back and chest
  • Buttocks
  • Face and neck
  • Shoulders and upper arms

Causes of Acne

Acne occurs when your pores become clogged and bacteria begin to grow and build up inside your pores, causing inflammation and often tenderness. Here are some of the common reasons why some people get acne. They include:

  • Bacteria
  • Diet and certain medications
  • Excess oil
  • Hormonal changes like puberty, during menstrual cycles, during pregnancy and from birth control pills

Acne Treatments

The way we treat acne always depends on your age, health and the overall severity of your acne. In addition to medication, our team will help you identify potential triggers—like diet, sun exposure and stress—and help you make the modifications necessary to help you control and lessen the frequency of breakouts.

These treatments may include:


  • Antibiotics: To reduce and stop the growth of bacteria that are causing inflammation of your pores – topically or orally.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: To help kill the bacteria in your pores and/or on the surface of your skin.
  • Retinoids: To help minimize the development of new pimples and prevent your pores from becoming plugged.

Other Treatments

  • Chemical peels: A solution containing alpha hydroxyl acid, trichloroacetic acid or phenol will be applied to your skin. The result: the top layer of your skin will gradually peel off, revealing smoother, healthier skin.
  • Dermal fillers: Fat, collagen or other materials can be injected under your skin to help plump it up and minimize the scarred area.
  • Drainage: This procedure is used for removing large cysts, either surgically or by injecting medication directly into them.
  • Light therapy: This procedure can be used to help reduce redness, calm inflamed tissue and minimize any scarring.
  • Microdermabrasion: This procedure is used to gently vacuum away your dead skin cells and stimulate the growth of a new and healthy skin tone.
  • Steroid injections: In this procedure, we inject a steroid directly into either the nodular or cystic lesion. This treatment can greatly help reduce the lesion as well as minimize pain.