Acne

A chronic skin condition we can help you control

Like most people, you may develop acne at some point in your life. The condition may cause you distress, pain, embarrassment or leave permanent scars.

IU Health offers treatments that can reduce the number and size of acne inflammations, decrease your distress and improve your self-esteem.

Acne commonly occurs during adolescence and most severely in boys. It occurs in teens because of the hormonal changes taking place during their development. This can cause glands in the skin to produce too much oil that can clog hair follicles. Bacteria trapped inside the hair follicles multiply, causing pus to accumulate. These accumulations of pus grow into inflamed bumps called pimples or boils.

Pimples can develop into bumps or papules. In some cases, they can grow into large inflammations or pustules. You may have just a few pimples scattered over your face, chest, shoulders or back or you may have a more severe condition, with larger areas of inflamed bumps.

Acne Causes

It is not clear why acne affects some people more than others. Genetics, diet and hormones seem to play a role. Even adults can have acne. For example, in women acne can occur in cycles and may relate to regular hormonal changes.

Acne Overview

Acne commonly occurs during adolescence and most severely in boys. It occurs in teens because of the hormonal changes taking place during their development. This can cause glands in the skin to produce too much oil that can clog hair follicles. Bacteria trapped inside the hair follicles multiply, causing pus to accumulate. These accumulations of pus grow into inflamed bumps called pimples or boils.

Pimples can develop into bumps or papules. In some cases, they can grow into large inflammations or pustules. You may have just a few pimples scattered over your face, chest, shoulders or back or you may have a more severe condition, with larger areas of inflamed bumps.

Acne Causes

It is not clear why acne affects some people more than others. Genetics, diet and hormones seem to play a role. Even adults can have acne. For example, in women acne can occur in cycles and may relate to regular hormonal changes.

With the largest network of primary care and specialty physician practices in Indiana, IU Health provides many treatment options in convenient locations for you. Regardless of its severity, your provider will work closely with you to develop your personalized plan of treatment for your acne.

For minor cases, your IU Health dermatologist may encourage you to wash your skin regularly and use over-the-counter (OTC) benzoyl peroxide formulas.
If this does not work, your doctor may suggest the following prescription-strength medications beginning with the first and moving on to the next, if the medication does not give you the results you want:

  • Retinoids
  • Antibiotics
  • Isotretinoin
  • Accutane (This can cause side effects, including dry skin, muscle aches, psychological disorders and severe birth defects in babies carried by women taking it. Because of this side effect, women taking Accutane must commit to using two forms of birth control.)

Treatment

With the largest network of primary care and specialty physician practices in Indiana, IU Health provides many treatment options in convenient locations for you. Regardless of its severity, your provider will work closely with you to develop your personalized plan of treatment for your acne.

For minor cases, your IU Health dermatologist may encourage you to wash your skin regularly and use over-the-counter (OTC) benzoyl peroxide formulas.
If this does not work, your doctor may suggest the following prescription-strength medications beginning with the first and moving on to the next, if the medication does not give you the results you want:

  • Retinoids
  • Antibiotics
  • Isotretinoin
  • Accutane (This can cause side effects, including dry skin, muscle aches, psychological disorders and severe birth defects in babies carried by women taking it. Because of this side effect, women taking Accutane must commit to using two forms of birth control.)

PubMed Health

This website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine features detailed information about acne, including links to specialized information about aspects of acne and its treatment.

Resources

PubMed Health

This website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine features detailed information about acne, including links to specialized information about aspects of acne and its treatment.

Patient Stories for Acne