Acne is one of the most common reasons to see a dermatologist. Over 90% of people have had acne at some point in their lives. While everyone knows that teenagers get acne, it may surprise you to learn that acne is fairly common in adults, even those in their 40's and 50's.

What causes acne?

You can't scrub away acne, and you can't clear it overnight. Acne comes from deep within and is caused by clogged pores, oil production, bacteria inside the pores, and hormones.

Acne Treatment

The trick to clearing acne is to be very gentle to the skin so as not to inflame it and make it appear worse. Every day, apply a prescription-strength retinoid, such as Retin-A, to your skin to gradually unclog your pores, and a topical antibiotic that will kill the bacteria deep down in the pores. These topical medications are meant to be applied to cover the entire face, not to spot treat. Sometimes an orally-administered antibiotic, chemical peels, or oral contraceptives are prescribed as well to improve treatment response. It takes an average of 4 to 6 months to get clear skin using prescription medications.

Acne "Emergency"

For a swollen, painful, or unsightly pimple or cyst, especially before an important event, call our office to get an acne cyst injection. A tiny dose of a cortisone shot injected directly into the pimple helps it clear up within 48 hours.

Cystic, scarring acne

For patients with cystic, scarring acne, or for patients with persistent acne that just doesn't seem to clear up with standard prescription medications, then treatment with the oral Vitamin A drug called Isotretinoin (Accutane) is in order. Five months of treatment with Isotretinoin is usually required to clear 100% of acne. Isotretinoin can also cause permanent remission of acne in about 40% of patients. This medication requires monthly doctor's visits and lab tests due to the rare risk of side effects. It also carries a risk of birth defects in women, so women must not become pregnant while taking this drug. Dr. Downes has been prescribing Isotretinoin for years and has experience with thousands of acne patients.