Acne consists of comedones (whiteheads and blackheads), papules (“pimples”), nodules (large papules) and cysts. Teenagers and many adults have persistent acne. Many factors contribute to acne, including inheritance, hormones, bacteria, and tendency for follicles to be “sticky”. Why some persons suffer from acne, and others do not, is not known.
Mild to moderate acne can be treated with topical creams and lotions that kill bacteria, open pores, and decrease inflammation. Severe or resistant acne can be treated with oral antibiotics, in addition to the topicals. Women, including those whose acne persists beyond adolescence, can also be treated with hormones and medications to suppress the effects of hormones on the skin. Sometimes, extraction of comedones (acne surgery), chemical peels, laser, microdermabrasion, or photodynamic therapy can augment the medical treatment. For the most resistant acne in teenagers and adults, the oral vitamin A derivative Isotretinoin will give long-term remissions to the majority of people who use it.
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