Acne Problems? Our Seattle Dermatologists Can Treat Your Acne

Have you ever wondered why some of us only get blackheads while others get full-blown breakouts? Seattle dermatologist Jennifer Reichel, MD explains, “Genetics and the immune system definitely come into play. Everyone starts with a pimple, but the body’s inflammatory reaction varies from individual to individual. How the immune system responds determines if acne will progress to more severe cysts and nodules.”

A wide variety of oral and topical antibiotics are prescribed to treat acne, including tetracycline, erythromycin, minocycline, doxycycline and clindamycin. Many factors come into play when choosing the antibiotic, including a patient’s age, allergies and if they are pregnant or nursing. Dr. Reichel explains that minocycline is often her first choice, because “it’s an easy once-a-day dose and it’s well tolerated by most patients.”

Often considered the last resort for treating acne, Accutane is an oral medication that may be the only effective treatment for persistent nodules and cysts. According to Dr. Reichel, “Accutane is the magic bullet for acne that doesn’t respond to other treatments.”

Retinoids go by many names, including tretinoin, Retin-A, Tazorac, Differin and more, but they are all derivatives of vitamin A that affect the way the skin turns over and prevents dead cells from sticking together and clogging the pores. As if there weren’t enough retinoids to choose from, there’s also a prescription called Ziana that combines tretinoin with the antibiotic clindamycin to target bacteria as well. Dr. Reichel often starts acne treatment with Retin-A because “in addition to breaking down comedones, it’s great for older acne patients who are also concerned about aging.”

Stubborn acne needs a multifaceted treatment that covers all of the acne-causing culprits: bacteria, inflammation, oil and clogged pores. A relatively new office-based treatment called Isolaz does just that, using suction to clean out the pores while pulsed light targets oil and bacteria. “Studies show it’s safe and effective for mild to moderate acne,” says Dr. Reichel

Acne on the body isn’t much different than acne on the face, and “we generally recommend the same course of treatment.,” says Dr. Reichel.

There’s also a recently approved topical called Aczone, which features the drug dapsone. According to Dr. Reichel, “This is a fairly potent antibiotic that is often used  effectively for more severe skin disorders. When taken orally it has a lot of side effects, but the topical version doesn’t seem to have these problems. Aczone has strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammation capacity to knock out acne.”  Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center accepts most major health insurance plans.  Our physicians and skin care specialists are here to assist you for all of your skin-related needs. 

 Call Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center today, 206.859.5777, to schedule your appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and get on the right path to clearer skin.

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