top of page

Acne is the most common skin condition in the US. Although acne is quite common in teens, people of all ages experience this condition and time is not always the answer to treating it. Sometimes seeing a specialist can be beneficial. 

Many people think that acne is just pimples. But a person who has acne can have any of these blemishes:

  • Blackheads

  • Whiteheads

  • Papules

  • Pustules (what many people call pimples)

  • Cysts

  • Nodules

Acne can appear on the back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms and buttocks.

Acne appears when a pore in our skin clogs. This clog begins with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells rise to the surface of the pore, and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make lots of sebum or , oil that keeps our skin from drying out, the dead skin cells can stick together inside the pore. Instead of rising to the surface, the cells become trapped inside the pore.

Sometimes bacteria that live on our skin also get inside the clogged pore. With a lot of bacteria inside, the pore becomes inflamed. If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, an acne cyst or nodule appears.


People who have mild acne have a few blemishes. They may have whiteheads, blackheads, papules, and/or pustules (aka pimples). Many people can treat mild acne with products that you can buy without a prescription. A product containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid often clears the skin. This does not mean that the acne will clear overnight.

If you have a lot of acne, cysts, or nodules, you should see a dermatologist. Dermatologists offer the following types of treatment:

Topical Acne Treatment: There are many topical acne treatments. Some topicals help kill the bacteria. Others work on reducing the oil. The topical medicine may contain a retinoid, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic, or even salicylic acid. 

Oral Acne Treatment: Medicine that works throughout the body may be necessary when you have red, swollen types of acne. This type of treatment is usually necessary to treat acne cysts and nodules. Your dermatologist may prescribe one or more of these:

  • Antibiotics (helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation).

  • Birth control pills and other medicine that works on hormones (can be helpful for women).

  • Isotretinoin

Procedures that treat acne: Your dermatologist may suggest a treating your acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These treatments include:

  • Blue Light Therapy:

  • Chemical peels: An Aesthetician can perform a chemical peel to treat two types of acne; blackheads and papules.

  • Acne Facial: An Aesthetician can perform an acne facial where “drainage and extraction” is done to remove acne (cyst, blackheads & whiteheads). 

  1. Wash twice a day and after sweating. Perspiration can make acne worse, so wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.

  2. Use your fingertips to apply a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser. Using a washcloth, mesh sponge, or anything else can irritate the skin.

  3. Be gentle with your skin. Use gentle products, such as those that are alcohol-free. Do not use products that irritate your skin, which may include astringents, toners and exfoliants. Dry, red skin makes acne appear worse.

  4. Scrubbing your skin can make acne worse. Avoid the temptation to scrub your skin.

  5. Rinse with lukewarm water.

  6. Let your skin heal naturally. If you pick, pop or squeeze your acne, your skin will take longer to clear and you increase the risk of getting acne scars.

  7. Keep your hands off your face. Touching your skin throughout the day can cause flare-ups.

  8. Consult a dermatologist if:

    • Your acne makes you shy or embarrassed.

    • The products you've tried have not worked.

    • Your acne is leaving scars or darkening your skin.

bottom of page