Acne is among the most common skin diseases and is one that we treat often. Almost everyone experiences some level of acne during their lifetime, though it typically begins around puberty and proceeds through adolescence and sometimes into adulthood. We understand that acne can negatively affect one’s self-esteem and self-confidence, and we are dedicated to treating this condition to make you look and feel better, and to prevent any scarring that acne can cause.
Acne can be caused by family history, stress, and even certain medications, but is most often caused by hormones. Acne first appears as hormones start to stimulate oil glands to produce oil. This leads to the pores being clogged and the subsequent development of blackheads and whiteheads. Oil will continue to be produced below the blocked pore, and bacteria will turn the oil into free fatty acids. The enhanced pressure within the plugged pore ultimately leads to the rupture of the follicle under the surface of the skin, and the oil and bacteria in the skin will cause inflammation that takes the form of red bumps, pimples, and nodules.
At Golden State Dermatology, we treat acne using topical medications rich in Vitamin A that decrease the clogging of pores, as well as topical medications and antibiotics that reduce the bacteria in the skin. Treatments are always specialized to the individual and will be changed and adapted throughout the course of treatment depending on the individual’s response to each type of treatment. Patients with extreme or resistant acne may also be given an oral form of Vitamin A, which permanently cures a large percentage of patients.
Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy with Levulan is a breakthrough treatment for acne, sun damage, and decreasing Actinic Keratosis (pre-cancerous spots). It is a non-invasive procedure in which a solution called Levulan is applied to the face. Levulan, composed of aminolevulinic acid, is a compound found naturally in the body and causes a chemical reaction that enhances the skin’s sensitivity to light. After the solution is absorbed into the skin for about 30 minutes, the skin is exposed to a high-intensity blue light, which causes a chemical reaction that destroys damaged skin cells. The reaction of the light on the Levulan-treated regions also decreases the amount acne-causing bacteria and Actinic Keratoses.
This procedure often causes a tingling or slight stinging sensation, as well as some reddening in the treated area with dry, scaly, or crusted patches that may peel.
Photodynamic therapy decreases most facial lesions within seven to ten days. In addition to decreasing the number of acne-causing bacteria, the treatment also shrinks the sebaceous glands where acne starts, offering long-term relief from acne. For the best outcome for acne treatment, it is recommended to complete four to eight Photodynamic Therapy treatments, done two to three weeks apart.
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