Acne is something virtually everyone has dealt with at one time or another. And although a little acne may seem tolerable, in some cases this condition can spread throughout the face and destroy its integrity. This physical condition can affect people psychologically, causing embarrassment and even leading to depression. Dr. Stockton aims to bring back the beauty of her patients with the different acne treatments she provides in her Phoenix office.
What does Accutane do?
Accutane is a medication used mainly for the treatment of severe cystic acne, also called nodular acne, especially when the condition has not responded to other more common acne treatments such as clindamycin or benzoyl peroxide. This medication belongs to the family of retinoid drugs and works by decreasing the amount of oil the face produces. Facial oil, or sebum, is responsible for the growth of severe acne. Treating severe acne with Accutane can prevent future scarring.
How is Accutane taken?
Accutane capsules are taken orally usually twice daily for 15 to 20 weeks, or as prescribed by Dr. Stockton. Accutane works best when taken with meals and a full glass of water.
What can I expect after taking Accutane?
You may notice your acne worsening after the first few days of taking this medication; this is a normal occurrence. The full benefit of this drug may not begin to show itself until one to two months into your treatment. Manufacturers discourage long-term use of this medication, which is why it is important to follow the directions given to you by Dr. Stockton.
What are some side effects of Accutane?
Accutane can cause dry lips and mouth, nosebleeds, minor swelling on the lips or eyelids, crusty skin, or upset stomach. You can find ways to relieve these side effects, such as sucking on ice chips to alleviate dry mouth. Although highly unlikely, you may experience more serious side effects such as mood changes or joint and muscle pain. If these symptoms persist, contact Dr. Stockton immediately.
What is acne cryosurgery?
This treatment, which is also known as dry ice treatment or cryotherapy, is a dermatology procedure used to treat various skin conditions like acne. In addition to treating current acne, cryosurgery can also reduce scarring caused by previous acne outbreaks.
What are the different types of acne cryosurgery?
Cryosurgery is performed in different ways. It can be administered using either super cold carbon dioxide (-109.3 degrees Fahrenheit) or liquid nitrogen (-320.80 degrees Fahrenheit). In other cases, it may be administered in combination with acetone in the form of slush.
How does acne cryosurgery work?
The extreme cold causes ice crystals to form inside the skin cells affected by the acne, eventually causing those cells to tear apart. The temperature also prevents blood flow to the treated areas, eliminating the upper layer of the skin, including the comedones (whiteheads and blackheads) that come with it. Using dry ice can also help unclog the pores in the face, which is an advantage since clogged pores are one of the major causes of acne.
What are the side effects of acne cryosurgery?
This procedure can cause redness in the skin or a stinging sensation in the treated areas. Some discomfort may be felt for a short period of time but can be reduced with the application of steroidal products in the area.
Treatment of Acne Scars
How do acne scars form?
Scars are formed when tissue is injured. When acne forms due to the accumulation of bacteria and sebum in the pores, it causes an injury to the skin. The body responds by sending white blood cells to the area. White blood cells can remain at the site for weeks in order to promote healing and prevent infection. However, once the acne heals, the skin sometimes does not return to its original state, causing permanent scarring.
What do acne scars look like?
Acne scars are usually red or brown in color and flat in appearance. Medically termed “macule,” an acne scar may take months to completely fade away from the face, which is the reason for the various treatments available to help eliminate acne scarring.
How are acne scars treated?
Products attack acne scars by lightening skin discolorations and smoothing out the skin. Various products may be too delicate or too strong for the individual’s skin, which is why you should seek professional help when choosing such medications.
What are some products I can use to treat acne scars?
Look for products that contain ingredients such as vitamin C, kojic acid, or licorice extract. These substances effectively brighten and improve skin discoloration. Products that contain alpha hydroxyl and glycolic acids also help exfoliate and smooth the skin. Consult Dr. Stockton to know which product is suitable for your skin type and condition.
Antibiotics & Topicals
How do antibiotics and topicals work?
Topical antibiotics kill the bacteria that cause acne. As small as they are, pores may become infected due to Propionibacterium acnes, and antibiotics can effectively treat these small infections. Furthermore, this acne treatment indirectly keeps the pores of the skin open.
What are the different antibiotic and topical acne treatments available?
Clindamycin is a popular topical antibiotic used for acne. It can be obtained as a solution, gel, or lotion, and is applied twice daily to all acne-infested or acne-prone areas in the face. Although it may cause minor irritation, this acne treatment is generally tolerable. However, it is contraindicated for patients who have ulcerative colitis, regional enteritis, or a history of colitis due to antibiotics.
The second most popular antibiotic treatment for acne is erythromycin, which is also available as a gel or an ointment and applied twice daily. Pregnant women can safely use this medication. Another option is tetracycline, which may cause allergic reactions and yellowing of the skin. Metronidazole is an antibiotic frequently used in rosacea cases.
What are important things to consider when taking antibiotics and topicals?
Some antibiotic acne treatments are not safe for pregnant women. It is important to talk to Dr. Stockton about the medications that are right for you. When drug resistance occurs, or when the bacteria no longer respond to the antibiotic you are taking, you may have to switch to a different antibiotic treatment as prescribed by your doctor. When you have your acne under control, you may need another treatment to prevent acne from recurring. Consult Dr. Stockton to know more about effective antibiotics and topicals to use for your specific skin condition.