We treat both teenage and adult acne, severe acne, and specialize in acne scars.
At McLean Dermatology we understand just how frustrating acne can be. We’ve always found it interesting that breakouts are considered something trivial in our culture; like a rite of passage faced by teenagers transitioning into adulthood. But this outlook is very misguided, because acne is a skin condition that affects individuals from all walks of life, and at all ages. It can follow a patient from their teens into their 20’s, 30’s and even later in life. Or it may suddenly appear after major life events, like pregnancy.
What makes acne so frustrating is the combination of physical and psychological effects. The patient must constantly worry about touching their skin, the red pimples may be accompanied by painful inflammation, and then there’s the self consciousness that seems to never disappear.
How Acne Forms
There are many types of acne, which can be caused by a variety of factors, including hereditary factors and hormonal changes.
However, the underlying mechanism behind how acne forms has to do with the sebaceous glands in our skin. These glands are very important for keeping our skin lubricated and helping the skin do its job of keeping out bacteria and pathogens.
The problem occurs when sebaceous glands begin to produce too much oil (also called sebum), causing the pores to become clogged. This eventually causes pimples to appear, as the sebum continues to build up inside the skin and begins to push outward. Additionally, the issue can be exacerbated by certain types of bacteria who will thrive in the new oxygen-depleted, oil-rich environment inside the pores.
One of the reasons why acne is associated with teenage years is because the body undergoes significant hormonal changes at this time, which can throw sebaceous glands into overdrive. Hormonal changes during other parts of your life can elicit this same effect. For example, it is common for women who are pregnant to experience acne outbreaks, due to the significant hormonal shifts in their bodies.
In some cases, the pores can become so clogged, that the backed-up sebum envelops the sebaceous gland and causes it to rupture. This is called cystic acne, and can be notoriously difficult to treat because topical creams cannot penetrate deeply enough to target the problem.
Acne Treatment Options
The providers at McLean Dermatology offer many treatment options to help patients get rid of acne and prevent or reduce future outbreaks. We will take the time to carefully assess the underlying causes of your condition and design a treatment plan that addresses these factors. Here are just some of the treatment options we may suggest.
- Acne Extraction: To help clear the pores, we may suggest acne extraction. This treatment gives your skin an added boost by removing the pore plugs (also called comedones) that prevent you from effectively cleansing the skin. With the comedones gone, your skin care routine will be much more effective, as any cleansers will be able to penetrate more deeply and destroy acne-causing bacteria.
- Chemical Peels: Some chemical peels, like the glycolic acid peel, can be very effective as part of an acne treatment routine. These peels reduce acne by exfoliating the skin and unclogging pores.
- Topical Treatments: For many patients, topical treatments can be an effective option for getting their acne under control. Unfortunately, over-the-counter brands may not have active ingredient concentrations strong enough to clear the pores and reduce inflammation. In such cases prescription-strength creams may be a viable option. Further, anti bacterial creams may also be a good solution for some patients.
- Skin Care Routine: In some cases, the patient’s acne can be partly the result of a poorly-designed skin care routine. To help you treat acne, one of our expert providers can help you assess your current skin care routine and figure out how it can be improved.
- Prescription Medication: Patients struggling with severe acne, like cystic acne, may need a more aggressive form of treatment that involves oral medication.
Taking the First Step
Don’t wait to get professional help for your acne. The providers at McLean Dermatology are highly experienced in this field and have helped countless patients significantly reduce outbreaks or get rid of acne altogether. We’ve achieved this by focusing on the needs of our patients and designing custom treatments for best results.
Set up your acne consultation by giving us a call at (703) 356-5111, or use the Contact Form below to get in touch!