Learn More About Acne and Acne Treatments at Aurora

What is Acne?

Acne is an inflammatory disorder of the hair follicles (pores) and sebaceous glands (the oil producing glands under your skin). When the hair follicle openings get plugged, it can lead to different types of acne.

If you have acne, you’re not alone. With hormonal changes during puberty, the sebaceous glands become more active, which can lead to acne. And, although acne is most common in people between the ages of 11 and 30, many patients present with acne that develops for the first time in their 20s to 40s, especially women.

There are many types of acne pimples, including:

  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads
  • Papules (small pink bumps that are tender to the touch)
  • Pustules (red bumps with a tip of white)
  • Nodules
  • Cysts

Acne can occur anywhere on the body. However, it most often appears on the face, neck, shoulders, upper back and chest.

How is Acne Treated?

Just as there are many types of acne lesions, there are also many treatments. When you come to Aurora for care, your dermatologist will determine the best treatment options for you based on the type of acne lesions you have; your acne severity; your age, health and medical history; how well your body tolerates medications or procedures; and how well your doctor believes the treatment options will work for you based on his or her experience and expertise.

The goal of acne treatments is to minimize potential for later scarring and to reduce the acne, thus improving your appearance. Treatments may be topical only (medications or solutions you put on your skin), or they may involve medications you take by mouth. It is also possible that your doctor will prescribe both topical and oral medications/treatments.

Topical Treatments for Acne

The types of topical acne medications are:

  • Antimicrobials – this includes benzoyl peroxide, topical erythromycin, topical clindamycin and topical dapsone
  • Topical retinoids – includes medications such as RetinA, Differin, adapalene, tazarotene, tretinoin
  • Azeleic acid
  • Sodium sulfacetamide – a topical sulfur containing cream

Oral Medications for Acne Treatment

  • Oral Antibiotics – Most oral medications given to treat acne are antibiotics. They are usually reserved for moderate to severe acne, and they are used with caution. Some of the oral antibiotics your dermatologist may prescribe are doxycycline, minocycline, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or erythromycin.
  • Spironolactone – Some adult women with cystic acne, especially along the chin and jawline, can benefit from this medication.  It helps control acne by addressing hormonal influences leading to acne.  This is a medication only for women with acne, not men.
  • Isotretinoin - Isotretinoin (previously referred to by the brand name ‘Accutane’) is another oral medication that is occasionally prescribed for severe, cystic or inflammatory acne that cannot successfully be treated with other methods. The goal of Isotretinoin is to prevent extensive scarring. But, because this medication can have serious side effects, Aurora dermatologists typically reserve it for the most severe cases of acne.

Procedural Acne treatments

Some Aurora dermatologists supplement topical and oral acne treatments with procedures, such as chemical peels and phototherapy.  These treatments do not replace a good home regimen prescribed by the dermatologist, but can work synergistically with a home regimen for improved control.  Some of these include:

  • Salicylic acid peels – 20% and 30%
  • Pyruvic acid peels
  • Photodynamic therapy

Treating Acne Scars

Select dermatologists at Aurora Health Care also perform cosmetic skin procedures to minimize or reduce acne scars. Some skin treatments for acne scars are:

  • Dermabrasion
  • Chemical peels
  • Laser and radiofrequency resurfacing

Why Should I Choose Aurora Health Care to Treat my Acne?

When it comes to caring for your skin, you want the best. And, at Aurora, our dermatologists are dedicated to providing the best, most advanced skin care treatments available in Wisconsin and northern Illinois – and around the nation.

Because Aurora dermatologists work within the entire Aurora Health Care system, we can offer you so much more than simple dermatology care. At Aurora, you’ll get:

  • Expertise: A team of physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants care for you.
  • Innovation: You can expect innovative treatments using the latest advancements in technology.
  • Network of physicians: Being part of the Aurora network gives you access to specialized care for all of your health care needs.
  • Attention to you: At Aurora, you’re never just another patient. You’re an important part of your health care team. No matter which procedure or treatment is right for you, your dermatologist will take time to discuss options with you and answer your questions before your treatment begins, giving you peace of mind.

How do I Schedule a Consultation with a Dermatologist?

To schedule a consultation or appointment with a dermatologist at Aurora, call one of the dermatology offices directly. View the list of Aurora dermatologists.