We all remember our adolescence and the horror of looking in the mirror at a large new pimple on our nose right before some major event. Acne is so common in adolescence as to almost be considered a normal “rite of passage.” It is also far more common in adulthood than most of us realize. While acne is a minor inconvenience for some, for others it can cause lasting harm in the form of lasting scars on the face, chest, or back. Acne can also impart lasting psychological harm, leaving some individuals withdrawn or depressed.
Whenever I see a young man or woman with severe acne outside of my clinic, I wonder if they or their parents are aware of these lasting effects of acne or that it can be treated fairly readily. Acne treatment has come a long way recently. In the distant past, dermatologists would rely on physical draining of large lesions as well as X-ray treatment. These techniques are now antiquated and we instead rely on:
Oral anti-inflammatory agents
Hormonal treatments (for women and girls)
I view Isotretinoin as a miracle drug. It is widely considered to be the single biggest drug advance for dermatology in the last century. However, more commonly, clear skin can be achieved with lesser treatment.
If you have a family member or friend of any age with acne who is not being treated, I would recommend that they be evaluated in our office for an individualized treatment regimen. I will never forget the face of a young man who had just finished his acne treatment, with newly clear skin, looking up and meeting my gaze head-on instead of giving me the downcast look I received when he first came to the office. Successful treatment can make a big difference.
Arthur Ide MD