Dr. Eric Schweiger - MD

What Causes Acne?

What Causes Acne?

There are many factors that cause acne. The first step of acne development is the formation of the microcomedone. The microcomedone forms as a result of abnormal regulation of the cells within the hair follicle. Once the microcomedone forms, dead skin cells and sebum are unable to leave the pore. This collection is an ideal environment for the Propionbacterium acne (P. acnes) bacteria to flourish. P. acnes bacteria creates inflammation and eventually leads to inflammatory acne papules.

Androgen hormones also play a role in the development of acne. Androgen receptors are present in the oil-producing sebaceous glands and influence the regulation of sebum production and excretion. When the normal cycle of sebum production and excretion is altered, the sebum remains in the pore. This results in the formation of a microcomedone and provides an ideal environment for the P. acnes bacteria that cause acne lesions.

 

How is acne treated?

Since acne is caused by many factors, it often must be addressed in a variety of ways in order to be effectively treated. Topical medications, such as retinoids and antimicrobials, can reduce the formation of the microcomedone and decrease the P. acnes bacteria that leads to the formation of acne. Oral antibiotics treat the P. acnes bacteria more aggressively and provide an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory influence. Oral anti-androgen medications prevent the androgen hormones from influencing the sebaceous glands. Oral retinoids, such as Accutane, work in a variety of ways, including decreasing sebaceous gland oil production and reducing the microcomedone that leads to acne. In-office procedures are also used to address the many causes of acne.

 

Which in-office procedure is best?

There are many in-office procedures that are used for the treatment of acne. Photodynamic Therapy, Red and Blue LED Light Therapy and the Isolaz Laser are often used together for the most aggressive treatment of acne. These laser and light treatments tend to work very quickly and usually have very long lasting results. Laser and light therapy is often combined with prescription medications for the best treatment of acne and prevention of acne scarring.

 

Can acne scars be removed?

Acne scars can be treated with laser resurfacing treatments. Both the Fractional CO2 Laser and the Fraxel Laser are effective at reducing the appearance of acne scars. The KTP Laser and Chemical Peels may be used to reduce the appearance of discoloration left behind after acne lesions, though the resurfacing lasers are the best treatments for atrophic (pitted) acne scars.