We’ve all had occasional pimples throughout our lives, but not everyone has experienced severe acne. Oftentimes, pimples and acne alike can cause annoyance and embarrassment. Although this skin condition is most prevalent among the younger, teen generation, it can affect people of all ages.
Symptoms of acne include the appearance of whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pimples, nodules, and cystic lesions. Common areas for acne development are on the face, chest, forehead, and upper back, and shoulders. This is because these areas have the most abundant amount of sebaceous or oil glands.
Acne forms when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin. Other causes include excess oil, bacteria, and inflammation. Certain triggers aggravate acne, causing your condition to worsen. These triggers include hormonal changes, certain medications, diets, and elevated stress.
Hormonal changes are particularly relevant among women, including flare-ups before menstruation. Puberty also plays an important role in the increase of androgen hormones, leading to breakouts. Drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium are known to provoke acne. Additionally, research has proven the role particular diets have on our skin. Foods high in carbohydrates and sugar can often worsen your condition.
As many people are aware, stress takes a toll on the human body in a variety of ways. The skin is a major component affected by high stress, especially if the acne was already present. There are a variety of methods for treating acne. It is usually helpful to begin with at-home remedies. If the condition does not seem to subside, visiting a dermatologist and gaining a professional perspective would be advised.
The treatments vary depending on the severity of your condition. Other critical determinants that would affect the appropriate treatment include the possibility of pregnancy or other dramatic hormone changes. Oftentimes, expecting mothers struggle more with acne due to hormonal changes within the body.
If the patient is pregnant there are other considerations. A dermatologist can provide pregnant women advice on whether or not they should even seek treatment and how to go about it. Below is a list of treatments that are generally considered safe to use even when pregnant.
- Glycolic Acid: This method is used to help exfoliate the skin and unclog the pores from excess oil and dead skin. It is important to start slow because it may cause irritation.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: Because this medication has not been fully studied on pregnant women, it is considered a Category C drug by the FDA. However, many physicians still recommend and prescribe this drug as it is considered safe to use. At the same time, it is meaningful to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s the right choice for you. Your dermatologist can help.
- Erythromycin: This prescription medication is an antibiotic, often given alongside other forms of acne treatment. It is intended to reduce the presence of acne-causing bacteria with an anti-inflammatory motive.
- Acne Treatment Facials: This option does not include the use of any medication. Instead, it applies the professional skills of an esthetician to perform a facial. During this time, your skin will be deeply cleansed and exfoliated. Informing your esthetician of your pregnancy is still essential.
- Azelaic Acid: This medication was initially designed to treat a condition known as rosacea but has also shown to be valuable to patients suffering from acne. It is intended to help with hyperpigmentation. Azelaic Acid is a topical medication, meaning that it is applied directly to the skin’s surface.
- Clindamycin: This antibiotic is also applied to the skin as a topical treatment. A benefit of utilizing his medication is its ability to be used in conjunction with other drugs. It is also a lower-cost alternative relative to other options.
There are certain medications that a pregnant woman should avoid. These include Accutane, topical retinoids, and tetracycline. Accutane, otherwise known as, isotretinoin has been shown to produce birth defects in babies whose mothers used it while expecting. Studies have also revealed the prevalence of miscarriages related to the drug. The application of topical retinoids should not only be avoided during pregnancy but also while breastfeeding. The effects of this drug on a developing fetus have not been studied comprehensively. Lastly, Tetracycline is known to interfere with the development of a fetus’s bones. It may also cause teeth discoloration in the fetus.
If you or someone you know is suffering from acne and there are extenuating circumstances like a pregnancy; treatment options are available! Consult a dermatologist for the best advice for the situation. Our dermatologists have successfully treated hundreds of patients for acne and other skin ailments. Contact us for an appointment.