is a common condition that often arises in adolescence, but can continue well into the adult years. Acne may even present for the first time during adulthood. It arises as a combination of hormonal and environmental factors which can be countered by both topical and oral medications. Natural hormone fluctuations influence the way the skin’s oil is excreted, and oil glands may become plugged leading to painful, red bumps on the skin, and deep hard cysts that feel like they are under the skin. Additionally, the skin’s natural bacterial flora may become overactive adding to the inflammatory component of acne. Treatment options include topical medicines that help reduce inflammation and bacteria. Occasionally, oral medications are necessary to reduce inflammation or counter the hormonal component of acne. Typically, the goal of acne treatment is to prevent new flares and allow the skin to heal. A good cleansing and moisturizing regimen is necessary to preserve the skin’s ability to fight infection. After a good regimen has been established to control the acne, a variety of cosmetic options, including chemical peels and laser therapy, are available to combat the scarring and discoloration left behind.
is an inflammatory condition of the skin, typically confined to the face, which often occurs when a patient is over thirty years old but may begin sooner in life. It involves acne-type bumps, flushing, redness, and even eye irritation. The processes behind rosacea are poorly understood, but genetic and environmental factors seem to play an important role. Because rosacea is a chronic condition, the goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms rather than actually cure the underlying process. Often a rosacea flare begins without an apparent trigger, and avoiding certain stimuli may be helpful. Common triggers include sun exposure, spicy foods, alcohol, and stress. Keeping a flare diary can be a helpful way to identify which exposures are most closely related to the individual outbreaks. Current treatment options involve a number of topicals designed to reduce facial redness, and low-dose oral antibiotics for the reduction in the amount of inflammation and frequency of flares. Additionally, laser therapy can be a powerful tool to reduce the size and number of blood vessels visible on the face. Visit the National Rosacea Society website at https://www.rosacea.org/ for more information.