1. What is Acne?

Acne vulgaris (Pimbles) is skin disease that is characterized by areas of seborrhea (scaly red skin), comedones (follicles impacted and distended by incompletely desquamated keratinocytes and sebum) that may be open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads). Inflammation leads to papules, pustules, nodules and possibly scarring.

2. What causes acne?

Increase in androgen levels may contribute to the formation of acne. Androgens increase the production of sebum from enlarged sebaceous glands that become blocked and infected with Propionibacterium acnes causing an inflammatory reaction and acne.

Conditions that lead to increased androgen levels like polycystic ovarian disease, adrenal problems, androgen secreting tumor, exogenous androgen intake can lead to acne. Hypothyroidisam is commonly associated with acne. Even with normal androgen levels, acne may be formed as a result of altered sensitivity of the pilosebaceous unit to the circulating androgens.

Stress is commonly blamed for the development of acne. Stress can have many physiologic effects on the body, including changes in hormones that may theoretically lead to acne. In some cases acne lesions can lead to psychological problems such as reduced self-esteem and in very extreme cases, depression.

3. What is the best way to treat acne?

Treatment is case dependent. Your detromatologist will decide the appropriate treatment required. Usually a combination of different treatment modalities is followed depending on the severity of acne and its scarring. The modalities include chemical peels, microderambrasion, derma roller and laser along with appropriate medical management.