Acne, we've all been there, for the most part. Remember being a teen and waking up with a pimple or two and just feeling like the world was going to end? Well, now we're grown, and we know that the world isn't going to end when our acne flares up.
Interestingly enough, however, acne isn't only a "teenage" thing, it can continue on for years. As a matter of fact you can be 50 years old and wondering "why do I still have acne?" We spoke with Audrey Jeon, a Dermatology Physician Assistant (PA), about acne and she helped clear up some questions we had.
May 28th is when International Day of Action Against Women's Health is celebrated and at Modern Match Lingerie we are celebrating Women's Health for an entire month with four interviews featuring various women's health experts.
MM: Hey Audrey, thanks so much for chatting with us about acne, I want to start off by asking you what acne is.
Audrey (A): Acne is a disease due to the pilosebaceous unit (hair shaft, the hair follicle, the sebaceous gland, and the erector pili muscle) on our bodies, commonly the face. It is a multifactorial disease that can be contributed from the blockage of our sebaceous glands, certain acne bacteria (Cutibacterium acnes) to hormones, stress, genetics, excess sweating, and even certain medications.
MM: Wow, so lots of factors play into the cause of acne! Is acne something that only happens to people during their youth?
A: Nope! Acne is a common issue among teens (puberty) but some people can have acne in their 20’s to their 40’s and 50’s.
MM: Wow, it can stick around for a while! What can cause acne flare up if it’s something you’ve never experienced before?
A: Hormones, new medications, underlying diseases, new products, masks (mask-acne)
MM: Okay, so now that we know that those can be some of the factors that play into what causes acne, are their different levels of severity when it comes to acne?
A: Yes. mild-comedones (few small acne papules/ pustules) moderate acne (numerous comedones and small inflammatory papules/pustules) severe acne -lots of comedones, deep papules/pustules, presence of cysts/abscesses. However when I see acne scarring I consider this as “severe” acne as I want to prevent any more scarring.
MM: Are acne triggers the same for everyone?
A:This differs from person to person. But hormones, stress, new products are common examples.
MM: How common is acne? And speak a bit about the stigma that surrounds it?
A: Acne is very common! I do believe it can correlate with one’s self esteem as I have this with myself and my own patients. That’s why I trust evidence based research and what’s been proven to improve acne quickly and safely.
MM: Is acne treatable?
A: There’s an abundant amount of over the counter products these days. I would break it down like this.
- Avoid heavy makeup, and make sure you are removing your makeup every night before you go to bed
- Cleanser- Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are common ingredients found in acne washes.
- Retinoids-adapalene is OTC and a pea size amount at night (I would recommend every other night for the first few weeks) to not irritate your skin as this can make your skin very dry. You must wear sunscreen daily when starting a retinoid.
- If all these fail then it’s time to see a dermatology provider.
MM: Thanks so much for your time Audrey, is there anything else you'd like to add?
A: Acne is a multifactorial medical disease and if over the counter treatments are not working, I definitely would not push off seeing a board certified dermatology provider.