Nickolas E. Poulos, D.O.
Dermatologist located in the NorthCare building at St. Francis Medical Center, Colorado Springs, CO
Acne is a common skin condition that affects both teens and adults. Treating acne is an area of specialty for Nickolas Poulos, DO, at Global Dermatology in Colorado Springs, Colorado. If you’re searching for relief from frequent or severe breakouts, call the office to set up a visit or spend a few moments on the online scheduling page.
Acne Q & A
What is acne?
Acne is a common skin condition characterized by clogged pores. It most commonly affects people in their teenage years and into early adulthood. While most people notice a reduction in breakouts by the time they reach their 30s, some will continue to experience acne throughout adulthood.
Everyone has a unique experience with acne, and symptoms can come and go over time. Some of the ways acne can present include:
- Whiteheads - closed clogged pores
- Blackheads - open clogged pores
- Papules - small tender bumps that are red
- Pustules - papules with pus at the tips
- Nodules - large, firm lumps beneath the skin
- Cystic lesions - pus-filled lumps beneath the skin
Acne most commonly appears on the face but can also be present on the chest, upper back, and shoulders.
What causes acne?
Nearly five million hair follicles cover your body. At the base of each follicle is an oil gland, which produces the oil (sebum) that keeps your skin soft and resilient.
When a hair follicle becomes clogged, that oil, as well as dead skin cells and other debris, becomes trapped in the follicle. Your body launches an inflammatory response, which leads to redness, tenderness, and swelling in the area.
Acne arises when excess oil production, clogged follicles, bacteria, and inflammation are all present. Additional factors can contribute to acne, including:
- Hormonal changes
- Certain medications
Researchers have debunked many of the myths surrounding the cause of acne. It is well established that acne is not linked to chocolate or greasy foods or poor hygiene. Wearing makeup does not cause acne, but it is important to choose products that are free of oil and labeled as non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores.
What treatments are there for acne?
At Global Dermatology, Dr. Poulos begins by assessing your skin and determining which acne symptoms you’re experiencing. Many treatment paths require your active participation at home, so he also discusses which options are a good fit for your lifestyle and willingness to adhere to treatment instructions.
Topical medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of breakouts — some work to prevent hair follicles from becoming clogged while others focus on controlling bacteria levels or reducing inflammation.
Oral medications can also help control acne. Oral antibiotics work to reduce bacteria within your pores. Some girls and women find relief through certain oral contraceptives or anti-androgen agents, which help regulate the hormones that trigger oil production. If other treatments prove ineffective, isotretinoin can help control acne, although this drug has a risk of side effects.
Additional treatment options include professional extractions, chemical peels, light therapy, and steroid injections. You also need to develop a skin care routine that focuses on controlling acne.
When you’re ready to learn more about acne treatments, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Global Dermatology.