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Acne is a skin condition characterized by plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), inflamed pimples (pustules), and deeper lumps (nodules). Occurring on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders, most teenagers get some form of acne, but adults can develop acne, too. Acne is caused when testosterone stimulates the sebaceous glands to enlarge, produce oil, and plug the pores.

Cystic acne, more common in males, is severe acne that forms deep pus-filled lumps. Additionally, adult acne can often appear for women due to hormonal changes, childbirth, or menopause. When cystic acne is treated early, it can reduce permanent scarring. Water-based, oil-free moisturizers and make-up labeled “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic” should be used and are available in the office.

Acne treatment works by preventing new breakouts and varies according to the type of acne, but may include topical creams, gels, lotions or antibiotics. Additionally, microdermabrasion or chemical peels may be recommended. Injections of corticosteroids may be used for treating large nodules.

In cases where acne resists treatment, isotretinoin may be used. Photodynamic therapy can be helpful in treating acne as well. The doctor will evaluate you and suggest the appropriate treatment for you. Acne is controllable; treatment helps you to look and feel better and may prevent scars.