Acne is the most frequent skin condition in the United States. It is characterized by pimples that appear on the face, back and chest. Every year, about 80% of adolescents have some form of acne and about 5% of adults experience acne.

Acne is made up of two types of blemishes:

  1. Whiteheads/Blackheads, also known as comedones, are non-inflammatory and appear more on the face and shoulders. As long as they remain uninfected, they are unlikely to lead to scarring.
  2. Red Pustules or Papules are inflamed pores that fill with pus. These can lead to scarring.

Causes of Acne

In normal skin, oil glands under the skin, known as sebaceous glands, produce an oily substance called sebum. The sebum moves from the bottom to the top of each hair follicle and then spills out onto the surface of the skin, taking with it sloughed-off skin cells. With acne, the structure through which the sebum flows gets plugged up. This blockage traps sebum and sloughed-off cells below the skin, preventing them from being released onto the skin’s surface. If the pore’s opening is fully blocked, this produces a whitehead. If the pore’s opening is open, this produces blackheads. When either a whitehead or blackhead becomes inflammed, they can become red pustules or papules.

It is important for patients not to pick or scratch at individual lesions because it can make them inflamed and can lead to long-term scarring.

Treatment

Treating acne is a relatively slow process; there is no overnight remedy. Some treatments include:

  1. Benzoyl Peroxide.  Used in mild cases of acne, benzoyl peroxide reduces the blockages in the hair follicles.
  2. Oral and Topical Antibiotics.  Used to treat any infection in the pores.
  3. Hormonal Treatments.  Can be used for adult women with hormonally induced acne.
  4. Topical Retinoids.  Help unplug the blocked-up material in whiteheads/blackheads. They have become a mainstay in the treatment of acne.
  5. Isotretinoin Oral Medication.   Used in persistent or severe acne.

COSMETIC DERMATOLOGY

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SURGICAL DERMATOLOGY

Dr. Kathleen J. Smith has extensive experience in performing surgery of the skin, also called "Dermatologic Surgery". Skin cancers, abnormal moles, cysts, lipomas, and other growths that are either dangerous or symptomatic can be removed surgically in an outpatient setting without the need for general anesthesia.

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MEDICAL DERMATOLOGY

Dr. Kathleen J. Smith is a board certified dermatologist in Atlanta, GA and member of American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. She treats an array of skin conditions and as a leading expert in all medical matters involving the skin.

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Knowledgeable and Experienced, Dr. Kathleen J. Smith Has Been Providing Dermatology Services for Over 25 Years. Dr. Smith is a board certified dermatologist in Atlanta, GA and member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. 

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Dr. Kathleen J. Smith

MD Dermatology

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