Just a few decades ago, teenagers and adults battling with acne were advised to remove junk food from their diet. They were given a bottle of over-the-counter pimple medication and then sent on their way. Sadly, many of these teenagers experienced little to no change in the condition of their skin even after following their doctor’s advice.
Thankfully, over the past few decades, dermatologists have learned a lot more about why people get pimples. They are able to distinguish between different types of pimples and can offer acne treatments to address an sufferer’s specific problem.
Even though, at its root all pimples stem from fluctuations in a person’s hormones and an increase in oil production, not everyone experiences them same. Some have mild outbreaks with just a few blemishes, while others develop severe outbreaks that include swelling, inflammation, and the formation of cysts. Different types of pimples respond differently to treatments.
The Three Primary Forms of Pimples
Pimples have been divided by dermatologists into three primary categories. They are the following:
Inflammatory – This type of pimple is characterized by a reddening that appears directly under the blackhead or the whitehead. The affected area gets inflamed.
Comedonal– This type of pimple that is most commonly seen on a person’s forehead, chin, or nose. It can create either blackheads or whiteheads. Comedonal pimples happen when the sebum oil in a person’s skin and other particles block the pores on their face.
Cystic – This type of pimple is the most severe form of pimples a person can develop. It happens when the area of a person’s face that breaks out becomes infected. Cystic pimples are hereditary. They can be unbelievably painful and can leave a person disfigured and with permanent scars.
The type of treatment that will work for one form of pimples may not work for another. In fact, if the wrong form of treatment is used, the problem could actually get worse.
Treating Milder Forms of Acne
Comedonal pimples is a mild form of pimples that most teenagers and young adults will experience. In a good portion of cases, it can be treated by using traditional prescription topical creams. Examples of these creams would include Retin-A,Differin, Renova, and Tazorac.
These topical creams are designed to remove a pimple outbreak by unblocking clogged pores. When a mild or moderate outbreak includes inflammation, a doctor might prescribe an oral antibiotic to kill any inflammation around the blocked pores.
This combination of topical creams and oral antibiotics works best on teenagers. Teenagers experience increased oil production in their skin because of high hormone levels. Doctors will need to use care when prescribing antibiotics for pimples since some antibiotics can create side effects, including sun sensitivity and yellowing of teeth. It is good for dermatologists to work hand-in-hand with their patient to come up with a prescription regimen that will work well.
Dermatologists may also recommend that teenagers make adjustments to the cosmetic products they use. Moderate pimples can be made worse by makeup and certain hair gels, which can plug a person’s pores.
Dealing with Severe or Cystic Pimples
For some people, their pimples are so severe that they do not respond to the traditional combination of topical creams and oral antibiotics. In these cases, patients may opt to use laser light treatment to minimize inflammation and attack the bacteria that causes pimples.
Doctors first saw the benefits of using lasers as a viable way of removing pimples after they saw the effects lasers had them when they were using lasers to remove wrinkles from their patient’s faces. They saw that the pimples cleared up in the areas that the laser targeted. These same results were seen when cosmetic surgeons used lasers to remove scars. However, the process used in a different way.
When lasers are used to remove scars, they do so by removing the outer layers of the skin, and then the body produces collagen, which repairs the treated area. However, when the yellow light of the laser is focused on a pimple outbreak, it destroys the bacteria that creates the acne.
The bacteria that leads to outbreaks contains a chemical that is sensitive to oxygen. Laser therapy is thought to be effective because it creates a high concentration of oxygen at the point where it comes into contact with the skin. This in turn kills the bacteria and leaves the patient with clear skin for a couple of months.
Another benefit of laser therapy is that it damages the oil producing glands in a person’s face and causes them to produce less oil, which in turn leads to less blockage and less outbreaks.
Patients who use laser therapy may not need to use oral medicines. This is good for multiple reasons. One is that some of the oral medicines used in connection with severe pimples, such as Isotretinoin, can cause side effects that include depression, birth defects, and severe mood swings. Another reason why avoiding medications is beneficial is because a person can develop a resistance to pimple medicine. This is not the case with laser therapy.
At one point or another, just about every person on the planet will have to deal with pimples. In most cases, they are mild and will clear up on their own. However, when they are persistent and severe, they can drastically affect the way that a person feels about themselves and the way that other people treat them.
It is advisable for a person to do their research before selecting acne treatments. Speak to a dermatologist who can examine your skin and create a treatment regimen that is best for you, your lifestyle, and your current state of health. Remember, not all acne treatments are the same. Selecting the wrong treatment may actually make pimples worse. However, if a person does their due diligence, speaks to their dermatologist, and follows the treatment plan, soon they could have clear, healthy skin that they can be proud to show to the world.