As the most common skin condition that affects people in the U.S., acne is a common problem for our online Nashville dermatology patients and our patients throughout Tennessee. This condition causes damage to self-esteem, acne scars, embarrassment, and more.

Learn more about what causes acne and how you can change your routine to solve it.

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What is Acne?

The medical term for acne is acne vulgaris. In this case, “Vulgaris” comes from the Latin word meaning “common.” Acne lesions form on the surface of the skin in various forms. Normally, acne isn’t very serious, but certain lesions may become seriously infected on rare occasions.

What Causes Acne?

Incidents of acne are caused by a combination of sebum production and dead skin cells that plug up pores and hair follicles. The way that the pores or follicles get blocked can lead to different types of acne lesions.

Teenagers regularly develop symptoms of acne due to their elevated hormone levels and sebum production. Certain hormones called androgens, become more active during puberty and cause the skin’s sebaceous oil glands to increase oil production. Androgens also become more active during pregnancy, leading to more outbreaks of acne for pregnant women. Summer months in Nashville, TN are hot, and increased sweat and oil production can cause clogged pores and acne flare-ups.

A man performing his skincare routine. Get Started with your treatment at Tennessee Telederm. Schedule an online dermatology appointment.
A man performing his skincare routine. Get Started with your treatment at Tennessee Telederm. Schedule an online dermatology appointment.

Does Diet Cause Acne?

Whatever we eat does have an effect on the health of our bodies. From the current research in the field, there is no evidence that diet actually causes acne. However unbalanced diets with high levels of sugar can make acne more likely to occur.

Read more about the relationship between diet and acne on our blog.

What Are The Different Types of Acne?

The two types of acne that will occur are either inflammatory or non-inflammatory acne.

Non-Inflammatory Acne

Also called comedones, non-inflammatory acne occurs in two forms around pores and hair follicles – most commonly known as whiteheads and blackheads.

Inflammatory Acne

In contrast to non-inflammatory acne, instances of inflamed acne require attention and treatment from an online dermatology professional. Inflammatory acne can occur as papules, pustules, cystic acne, or nodules.

Non-Inflammatory Acne

Also called comedones, non-inflammatory acne occurs in two forms around pores and hair follicles – most commonly known as whiteheads and blackheads.

Inflammatory Acne

In contrast to non-inflammatory acne, instances of inflamed acne require attention and treatment from a dermatology professional. Inflammatory acne can occur as papules, pustules, cystic acne, or nodules.

Non-Inflammatory Acne

Blackheads

Blackheads are instances of acne that occur in open pores and follicles. The open nature of these comedones causes the sebaceous material to oxidize and turn black. 

Washing your face regularly and using a cleanser with salicylic acid are two effective ways to prevent blackheads. However, everyone’s skin is different, so if you need more specific help on treating blackheads then you should set an appointment with Kristen Stirling.

Whiteheads

The other form of comedonal acne; whiteheads are closed acne nodules with a thin layer of skin covering the blockage. Whiteheads will typically resolve and drain on their own after a time. However, depending on the bacterial content of the whitehead, it can develop into an inflammatory type of acne. One of these bacteria is propionibacterium acnes or P. acne

Again, washing, cleansing, and moisturizing regularly will help you deal with and prevent whiteheads. Remember not to pick at any comedones as it can lead to permanent scarring.

Inflammatory Acne

Nodules

The next step up in terms of severity in inflammatory acne, nodules occur deeper in the skin. The infections usually look like small bumps that are painful to the touch. You will need to take oral medication in order to treat nodular acne. Schedule an appointment to get help for nodule acne.

Papules

These appear as a pink and swollen area of the skin due to irritation of the pores or hair follicles.

Pustules

A more developed form of whiteheads, pustules are red and swollen but have whiteheads at the tip. The pus can breakdown the walls of the follicles and pores, which will lead to scaring after the pustule drains.

Cystic Acne (Boils)

Cystic acne is like nodular acne but occurs closer to the surface of the skin so they often appear with whiteheads at the tip. The longer cystic acne goes without treatment the more likely it is to scar. In normal cases of cystic acne, oral prescriptions are the most effective treatment.

We can diagnose and prescribe treatment for cystic acne in a telehealth appointment. However, for extreme cases of cystic acne, the cyst may have to be surgically removed.

Other Causes of Acne

Other dermatology conditions may present symptoms like acne. For instance, rosacea can present small whiteheads in certain cases. 

Repeated touching, over-washing, or irritation of the skin can also cause acne to develop. Certain types of make-up may clog the pores. Some medications can also interfere with the body’s hormone responses and make acne occur more frequently.

Genetics also plays a role in acne. If your family has a history of severe acne symptoms, it is more likely that you will experience severe acne. Pore structure and the oiliness of your skin are also strong factors for the development of acne.

Heat and humidity in Nashville, TN can contribute to ance. Sweating during hotter summer months makes skin stickier and sebum and dead skin cells become trapped inside pores. Increased oil production on the skin can trigger breakouts.

Schedule a Telehealth Appointment

If you have acne concerns, don’t wait to make an online appointment with Tennessee TeleDerm. You don’t have to wait around for it to clear up. Our online dermatology appointments are secure, convenient, and effective. Save yourself precious time and schedule your appointment today. In particular, we serve Nashville dermatology patients as well as all areas of Tennessee. 

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