By: Caridad B. Lopez, MCMSc, PA-C

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions we treat. This is not surprising, because it is the most common skin condition in the US. Acne not only affects teens, but can occur at any age. Patients commonly ask me why they’re breaking out in their 30s, 40s, and 50s and also during pregnancy. Many factors contribute to acne including genetics, hormonal changes, stress, work environment, activities such as sports and exercise, skin products and cosmetics. Acne lesions appear when pores get clogged with dead skin cells and oil glands produce sebum that traps these cells in the pores. This environment is perfect for a bacteria called p. acnes to grow.

There are many treatments available including:

  • OTC products
  • prescription medications
  • procedures such as facials, chemical peels as well as light and laser treatments

Each person’s skin is different and treatments that work for some patients, may not work for others. Acne treatment should be individualized taking into account the patient’s age, gender, family history, medical history, occupational history, social history, skin type, and lesions observed during the skin examination. If not treated early, acne can cause permanent scarring and it can affect a person’s self-esteem. This is why I encourage patients to see a dermatologist (or dermatology PA) as soon as possible.

Caridad B. Lopez, MCMSc, PA-C