Back to school time goes along with special healthcare emphases on frequent student dermatologic problems.
Most students fight acne; often without understanding the condition. Available acne care is better than ever. However, many acne patients are showing up with serious acne scars, have emotional consequences, are socially withdrawn, or are failing their courses because of their problems from untreated acne. Teenagers may not want to attend school because of the pain and shame of acne.
While more products are available through television or magazines, these products often do more harm than good. They delay proper care when parents and patients believe they will actually work and they do not. Because they do not require a prescription, they can be purchased by anyone for any condition even those that are not acne. Since these don’t require an accurate diagnosis, the medication must be very weak and non-specific. Proactive, the most commonly used medication of this sort, for example, contains only 2.5% benzyl peroxide. This has been available in grocery stores, as Oxy5 or Oxy10, in a 5% or 10% concentration for the last forty years. We see its sad failures every day!
There are actually six types of acne, all present different stages, varying depths of involvement and varying degrees of inflammation. Prescribed cleansers reduce the bacterial count on the surface, remove oil and produce peeling in order to allow plugged oil glands to drain and infection to be cleared. Lotions contain specific antibiotics and peeling agents again designed to kill bacterial agents and open pores. We prescribe internal antibiotics to reduce infection in plugged ducts so they are less apt to destroy tissue and cause scarring.
There is no more important approach to controlling acne and its tendency to scar than to professionally remove the plugs and infection from plugged ducts. If this is not done in a timely experienced fashion nature has no other answer to pimples than for the ducts to become so distended from the pressure of accumulated oil and old cells and from bacterial infection that the ducts break open, causing pustules which result in pits in the skin or deep hard red scars.
Attempts by patients to remove blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples with finger nails, hair pins, paper clips, comedone extractors or medicine droppers, are often responsible for scars. Proper removal with sterile instruments by trained professionals, however, is extremely effective in reducing scarring. Infected plugged ducts can be opened with a sharp lancet and may be removed with only slight pressure. Removing plugs from plugged ducts prevents scarring altogether if antibiotic lotion and internal medicines are used before extractions began so infection isn’t aggravated.
We avoid using Accutane because of its many adverse side effects, cost and inconvenience. It also has potential to prolong the healing of severe deep pustules, thus increased scarring. Its tendency to cause serious side effects throughout the body must not be ignored! Its cost and the need for expensive laboratory testing of internal organs while the drug is being taken are also a problem. Our patients see excellent results long before Accutane is expected to begin helping.
Accutane will absolutely result in serious birth defects, so if it is taken by young women, birth control pills and one other method of birth control must be used. Hormones in young girls change their bodies and even increase the likelihood of pregnancy if tablets are missed.
Our safe, less expensive, and routine care will clear up acne much faster than Accutane will, without serious internal side effects, and with much less scarring. When severe, red, and potentially scarring acne lesions are injected or even treated with anti-inflammatory medication, scarring is greatly reduced.
Rustad Dermatology continues to have a steady influx of new acne patients every week. Regardless of what has been done in advance, patients routinely are very pleased and often amazed by the results they see with within weeks of our care.