Facing Acne

Nearly 50% of Millennials Suffer From This Condition

Acne Scarring.  If you haven’t been an acne sufferer, this will probably seem like just another article on what’s often disregarded as a teenager’s petty pimple problem. Many who haven’t been plagued with the condition think: “It’s not serious; there’s just a few zits and scars.  Get over it.”

Dermatologists, psychologists and acne sufferers, including an increasing number of adult Millennials, have a very different view. Both scientific evidence and personal experience, demonstrate acne and its scarring can have a profound and lasting impact on an individual.

Acne, Prevention & Scarring

Because of the serious impact acne and its scars can have (more on that below), it’s important to understand some basics and gather a few resources for future use.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne is, a “chronic inflammatory skin condition, is characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms.” It can develop at any age.

As for prevention, both the AAD and the Mayo Clinic provide great acne prevention recommendations. Those include guidelines such as cleansing daily; using noncomedogenic, non-acnegenic and oil-free cosmetics; and applying over-the-counter (OTC) acne cream or gel to help dry excess oil.

Effective OTC treatments do exist, especially for minor to moderate acne, (not typically for deep cysts and nodules). But does Proactive really work? Studies and reviews show that high cost equals high quality. So when OTCs fail to work or acne and its scars are interfering with your life, it’s time for professional advice.  Acne is a medical condition, so consult with a dermatologist. Early intervention is the best way to stop acne and prevent scarring.

Scarring occurs when acne lesions damage the structure of the second layer of your skin, the dermis.  If you avoid poking and prodding pimples, that will help to prevent scarring and infection of acne lesions.

Just as there are many types of acne, there are many types of scars. Scars are often permanent with discoloration impacted by sun exposure and appearance heightened by aging skin.  According to a dermatological research paper in the National Center for Biotechnology Information library, doctors often treat scars based on their classifications. This resource is informative, even if a bit technical, and available to the public.

The Impact of Acne & Scarring

Facial appearance represents an important part of a person’s perception of his or her self-image and can seriously impact self-esteem. Unlike the back, the face is typically uncovered, and is the locus of most human interactions. In the era of selfies and FaceTime, this is true perhaps now even more than ever.

In Psychology Today, Ted Grossbart Ph.D., records his research about and clinical experience with individuals who have chronic skin disorders like acne.  In his article, The Emotional Impact of Skin Problems, he says: “Just as signals of psychological and emotional stress can lead to skin disorders, skin disorders often lead to psychological distress.”

In addition to psychosocial impact acne and its scars have on sufferers, the financial costs associated with treatment are high, exceeding $3 billion annually.

Solutions for Scar Sufferers

The good news? A growing number of highly effective treatments for all types of scarring appear or are perfected every year. Thus, dermatologists can deploy these to help alter not only a patient’s appearance, but also to positively shape the way a person feels about him or herself and the lives they lead.

Treatments to reduce the appearance of scars, such as products including topical retinoids and silicon gels, have proven efficacious. Depending on the type of scarring, dermatologic surgeons also have other techniques at their disposal.

Some popular and effective options recommended by the American Academy of Dermatological Surgeons include: chemical peels, dermabrasion, derm fillers, laser/light therapy, laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and non-ablative laser rejuvenation.

Even after a person’s physical scars are gone, psychological ones can remain. It’s the psychological scars that Grossbart and other psychologists and counselors treat in their clinical practices.
Scores of acne sufferers are helped every year by the combined efforts of psychologists and dermatologists. So reach out, if you’re in need. You’ll find the assistance you’re looking for.

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