Acne Specialist

Mill Valley Dermatology

Dermatologists & Cosmetic Dermatologists located in Mill Valley, CA

Pimples, blackheads, and painful nodules deep in your skin are all characteristic of the most common inflammatory skin condition in the United States: acne. Acne affects people of all ages, and board-certified dermatologist Haydee Knott, MD, uses several approaches to calm breakouts at Mill Valley Dermatology in Mill Valley, California. To find out more about acne and how to prevent a future breakout, call Mill Valley Dermatology or book an appointment online today.

Acne Q&A

What is acne?

Acne is a highly common inflammatory skin condition that many people associate with their teenage years. While acne is common in adolescents because of their puberty-related hormone fluctuations, you can get acne at any age for a number of reasons. 

Each of the tiny pores, or holes, in your skin is connected to an oil gland. The glands produce oils that push dead skin cells toward the surface of your skin. Acne forms when the glands produce too much oil, the pores become clogged, and bacteria infects the clogged pore. Bacteria are what causes the inflammation that you see when you develop a pimple. However, not all bacteria on your skin cause inflammation.

You might get a single pimple here and there throughout life, and they typically go away relatively quickly on their own or with simple home care. If you have frequent or long-lasting breakouts of severe acne that affect large areas of skin, Dr. Knott can develop a treatment plan to help ease the inflammation and alleviate your acne. 

What triggers acne?

Many people who get acne learn to identify their triggers and avoid them to prevent future breakouts or reduce their severity. In some cases, acne triggers aren’t so obvious. A few factors that can kickstart an acne breakout or worsen existing acne are:

Stressful events

If you’re stressed with little or no relief, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol can make your acne worse. 

Sugar and carbohydrates

There are some myths around dietary factors leading to acne. While greasy foods won’t make your acne worse, eating lots of carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, cake, and pasta can aggravate your acne.

Drugs and medications

Certain medications can cause acne or make a breakout worse. You might experience more acne because of corticosteroids, testosterone, or other drugs. 

Hormone fluctuations

One of the most well-known factors leading to acne is hormonal fluctuations. You might see more acne during puberty or pregnancy or while using hormonal birth control.

What are my treatment options for acne?

At Mill Valley Dermatology, Dr. Knott uses her skin care expertise to treat acne ranging from mild to severe. She also helps you avoid lasting acne scars that affect your skin’s texture for years after a breakout clears. Your acne treatment plan might include:

Oral medications

Depending on the severity of your acne, Dr. Knott might prescribe antibiotics to control the bacteria, oral contraceptives to control your hormones, or other medications for acne to take by mouth. 

Topical products

Dr. Knott might recommend topical treatments for your acne, like retinoids, salicylic acid, or topical antibiotics. If you use them as directed, they can help ease your acne and reduce redness.

Steroid injections

For cystic and nodular acne, a steroid injection can calm the inflammation and improve pain quickly.

Chemical peels

Dr. Knott offers salicylic acid chemical peels to exfoliate your skin gently while removing acne and acne scars.  

For more information about available treatments for long-lasting or repeated acne breakouts, call Mill Valley Dermatology or book an appointment online today.