Achieving healthy skin with over-the-counter acne medications isn’t always possible for people suffering from moderate to severe acne. Learn your options for acne treatment with the board-certified dermatologists and aestheticians at The Dermatology Clinic in Baton Rouge.

What You Need to Know About Acne

There’s no quick fix for treating big breakouts—excessive scrubbing, exfoliating, or applying topical products too often can irritate your skin further and may cause dryness, peeling, and inflammation. Though often associated with teenagers, adult acne is common and treatable. Acne ranges from mild to severe and can be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Your lifestyle: diet, stress, and how you style your hair, and even leftover sweat can lead to breakouts on your face and body.
  • Hormone levels: Though many women speak to their doctors about using birth control to treat acne, 50% of women aged 20-29 experience hormonal acne, according to Healthline. Hormonal imbalances can cause breakouts, and women experience this most often around the start of their menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, menopause, pre-menopause, or changes (stopping or starting) in their birth control method.
  • Medications: Acne is a side effect of certain medicines. If you’re unsure whether or not a prescription drug you’re currently taking is causing or may trigger your acne, ask the doctor who prescribed it to you if it’s a known side effect.

Types of Acne Pimples

Acne blemishes can be noninflammatory or inflammatory, characterized by the depth of the clogged pore. Pores can be clogged with hair, oil, dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Inflamed acne is bacterial in nature and is marked by swelling and redness. Noninflammatory acne lesions (comedonal acne) are closer to the skin’s surface and don’t have a bacterial basis. While the term “acne” is used to describe different kinds of breakouts, there are specific types of blemishes, all of which may require varying levels of treatment:

  • Blackheads: These small bumps contain trapped hair follicles, and their surfaces appear black or dark. While they usually aren’t painful, they can be slightly raised, open or closed, and filled with sebum, which is naturally produced by your body.
  • Whiteheads: Unlike blackheads, whiteheads are closed or have a very small opening, and they usually form the same way blackheads do. They protrude from the surface of the skin.
  • Papules: Acne papules are tiny, raised bumps that don’t have a center of visible pus. You may notice these after shaving or an insect bite.
  • Nodules: These firm bulges can also become painful and lead to an infection resting deep beneath the surface of your skin. They may resemble your skin color or appear inflamed. Nodular acne can last for weeks or as long as months.
  • Pustules: Papules become pustules if they begin to fill with yellow or white pus, and they may become hard or painful before potentially becoming a cyst.
  • Cysts: The most serious type of acne, cystic acne results from deep-set, bacterial clogs in your skin. Often tender to the touch and larger than most lesions, cysts usually look like boils on the skin.

While we provide skin extractions in-office, you shouldn’t attempt popping pimples at home. You could be left with permanent acne scars or increase the risk of further infection following skin trauma, which will require cosmetic treatment to restore your natural complexion and skin texture.

Prevention and Management Tips for Severe Acne

If you’ve struggled for years to keep your acne under control with over-the-counter (OTC) acne medication, it may be time for you to discuss more effective acne prevention methods with a dermatologist. It’s normal to notice new acne from time to time, which can be more manageable after taking medication or using medical-grade products.

Medical Treatment Options

Based on your individual circumstances and symptoms, a variety of treatment methods are available. Topical medications may include products that specifically address the buildup of oil or bacteria. Certain oral medications like antibiotics, birth control, and isotretinoin may be taken to control breakouts. Finally, chemical peels, lasers, and light therapies, as well as manual drainage and extraction, can be performed by dermatology professionals.

One of the advanced treatment options at The Dermatology Clinic is photodynamic acne treatment (PDT), where a special photosensitizing agent is applied to the skin and then activated with a certain wavelength of light. As there are different types of acne, and the severity of an outbreak can be graded from mild (Grade 1) to severe (Grade 4), a board-certified dermatologist is best equipped to assess which treatment methods would be appropriate for a given patient.

Our dermatologists and aestheticians can diagnose breakouts and offer cosmetic treatments for acne, including:

Say Goodbye to Breakouts

Schedule an appointment at either of The Dermatology Clinic’s locations in Baton Rouge or Walker to receive a full skin evaluation and a custom skin care plan designed to help treat your breakouts. Our team can help you understand what kind of acne you have, how best to treat it, and provide an ongoing skincare plan to help you maintain a healthy, glowing complexion.