Pimples, Blackheads, whiteheads, back Acne, or whatever you call it, we all know what it looks like. At the Dermatology & Laser Center of San Antonio, we know how common it is…and it’s treatable!
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How to Get Rid of My Acne
Patients come to us because they want to “get rid of their acne”. We explain that it is a condition caused by many factors: age, hormone production, genetic disposition, mostly. Intense exercise can also influence acne, especially in women since it may increase androgen levels (present in both women and men) which drive production of sebum (oil) in the hair follicle.
The bottom line, then, is that it’s a condition that can be treated with expertise, thought, effort and a good working relationship between the patient and the dermatologist and certified dermatology physician assistants who see and treat our patients daily.
If you, your child, or friend has acne we’re happy to see them in consultation and work with them to come up with a safe and effective program that works.
What Your Dermatologist Can Do to Help You
Board-certified dermatologists and certified dermatology Physician Assistants, like those we have in our clinic, have a huge array of approaches, drugs and treatments to treat acne in adolescents and adults.
Compared with cancer or heart disease “pimples” don’t seem like a serious health hazard. If you’re reading this though you probably know what an impact pimples, cystic and scarring acne can have on children and adults alike. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, of which both Dr. Davis and Dr. Wallis are fellows, Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually.
Acne usually begins in puberty, and affects many adolescents and young adults. Approximately 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience at a least minor case. It can occur at any stage of life and may continue into one’s 30s and 40s. It’s occurance in adults is increasing, and affects up to 15 percent of women.
Common Types of Acne
Acne Vulgaris (Common Acne)
Comedones are plugged follicles. When the follicle is open and the plug is oxidized and turns black we call it a “blackhead.” When that plug is covered by a thin layer of skin it’s called a “whitehead.” Regardless of what you call them, these comedones represent small, early manifestations of inflammation. Some of them turn into papules, pustules and even large collections of red, puffy, or painful material and pus we call “cystic acne.”
Acne on the back is common and troublesome. If it’s moderate to severe, it will require oral treatment to be controlled, but it can be done. We work with patients suffering from this over time to keep it under control, as well as to reduce scarring from it.
Some women, including teenage girls, see their acne wax and wane with their monthly hormone changes. For these women a medicine like spironolactone can help. And certain medicines, previously used for birth control, are now FDA-approved to treat acne as well.
- Ortho Tri-Cyclen
- Estrostep Fe
Effective acne treatment is widely available. It can start at your drug store without a prescription. Products containing sulfur, salicylic acid and resorcinol have been around for decades to help children and adults. Meanwhile, Benzoyl peroxide creams and lotions are proven to reduce mild or even moderate cases. These are available both with and without prescriptions. And formerly prescription-only Adapalene is now available without a prescription.
Antibiotic treatments have been used more than 70 years and have proven safe and effective. The more common oral antibiotics include doxycycline, minocycline, clindamycin, and trimethoprin-sulfasoxazole. All are prescription only products, as is Acutane, an effective oral medicine used to treat scarring acne that is unresponsive to other treatments. Prescription antibiotic creams and lotions are also first-line treatments.
Injections to treat cystic acne
Cystic Acne’s painful and unsightly larger bumps on the skin surface can lead to scarring. These typically require oral antibiotic treatment. We can sometimes inject them with a small amount of a corticosteroid to help them dry up and diminish quickly. A comprehensive treatment program with scheduled follow-up visits can help keep cystic acne under control.
Acne Scar Treatments
Treating acne scars begins with preventing it, or at least doing our best to control it. That doesn’t mean, however, that someone with scarring has to wait until their acne is completely gone before getting some help on improving the look of their scarring. That could take months or years, and if there’s a safe and effective way to improve scarring, as long as the acne can be reasonably controlled, it can make a big difference in how a scarred patient feels and looks.
We find treating acne scars very rewarding. Sure, it’s considered a cosmetic procedure, and insurance will not pay for it. But if we can give the patient 25 to 50% improvement, or more, then we have a happy patient who has relief from something that usually has bothered them more than their friends realize.
Combination subcision and laser treatment for acne scars
Dr. Davis and staff have successfully treated and improved acne scars for more than 25 years. We treat most patients with a combination of procedures. First, there is under-the-skin “subcision.” That is the process of breaking up scar tissue that creates dips and undulations on the surface. Then, we follow this with treatment on-the-surface with an Erbium:yag or CO2 laser. Doing so, smooths irregular scar edges, which create the shadows that make those scars so apparent.
Healing from scar surgery
Most patients will feel sore for a few days following treatment. The surface effects of the laser often smooth out within a week, and our treated patients can quickly return to work or social activities. We typically move forward with our treatment programs if we can predict at least a 50% overall improvement. Patients who proceed on that basis are seldom disappointed in their results. In some cases we can go back 6 to 12 months later and provide additional treatment if we can again predict another increment of improvement.
Insurance Coverage and Private-Pay
Insurance Coverage for Acne
Most insurance plans consider this a medical condition and cover treatment. As always, insurance is subject to deductibles and co-pays. When you call for an appointment we can tell you if we take your insurance. We do take most insurances, however.
The “Private Pay” Patient
We are happy to see patients without insurance and we charge them what insurance companies normally “allow”. So, if you’re a cash patient, you are not penalized by paying a retail rate far above what we expect to receive from a health insurance plan.
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If you are interested, call our office at 210-614-3355 to schedule a consultation, or, simply click the button below to fill out our contact form. We look forward to seeing you.