Q: My acne is embarrassing! What can I do to cure it?
A: Acne occurs when the pores of your skin become clogged, most often on the face, neck, back and chest. No one knows exactly why this happens, but we do know that hormones play a part, as does heredity.
Once a pore becomes clogged, it traps skin oil inside. Bacteria grow in the oil and can cause an inflammatory response in the skin. Acne lesions can be small and hardly noticeable, have a small white or black head or can appear red with a white/yellow center. Sometimes a clogged pore will become so inflamed that it can lead to larger, more painful lesions called nodules or cysts, which can ultimately scar.
Acne most often occurs during adolescence, and many individuals "outgrow" the symptoms. It can, however, occur at any time throughout life. Treatment must continue until your body outgrows the condition.
At home, milder cases of acne may be controlled by avoiding things that irritate the skin. Excessive washing, however, does little to help acne, as the condition is not related to dirt. More severe cases can be controlled by prescription medications, which can be offered by visiting your dermatologist. No matter the severity, know that help is available. You need not suffer from the embarrassment. Consult with your dermatologist and find the right management for you.
— Dr. Kate Shuster, Galen Dermatology; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society