Mohs Surgery
Dermatologist Scottsdale AZ
Scottsdale Dermatologist Dr. LaTowsky


What is acne?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Acne, commonly called pimples, form when your pores become blocked by bacteria, dead skin cells, dirt and/or oil. Acne occurs mainly on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders.

While not a life-threatening condition, severe acne can cause physical pain, emotional distress and scarring of the skin. In fact, depression and anxiety are two to three times more likely in people with acne.

What causes acne?
Pimples form when pores become clogged. Normally, dead skin cells rise to surface of the pore, and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make lots of oil or sebum to keep the skin from becoming too dry, these dead skin cells stick together inside the pore and become trapped below the surface inside the pore. In addition, bacteria that is on the skin can also get inside the clogged pore and multiply quickly, causing inflammation, redness and swelling. The result is an acne cyst or pimple.

While many factors can contribute to acne, certain factors can make it worse, including:
  • Hormone increases in teenagers
  • Hormone changes during pregnancy
  • Starting or stopping birth control pills
  • Heredity (if your parents had acne, you might get it, too)
  • Some types of medication
  • Greasy make-ups

Who gets acne?
Anyone can get acne, and acne can occur at any age. In fact, roughly 40 to 50 million Americans have acne at any given time, including newborn babies and young children.

Did you know?
  • 85% of teenagers have acne.
  • Adult acne is more prevalent in women, and is especially common during menopause.
  • 76% of women check for unwanted facial hair by touch, which can cause acne and other skin lesions due to oils and bacteria on the hands.

Are there different types of acne?
Yes, there are many types of acne. The most common types are:
  • Comedonal: Blackheads and whiteheads
  • Cystic: Deep, painful acne bumps that may be widespread. This type of acne is especially prone to permanent scarring.
  • Hormonal: Acne that becomes worse around a woman's menstrual cycle and may be located along the jawline and chin
  • Inflammatory: Often become red, swollen and painful; may be larger pus-filled acne bumps

How is acne treated?
Almost every case of acne can be successfully treated, no matter how mild or severe. With the help of a Valley of the Sun dermatologist, existing acne can be treated, breakouts can be prevented, and scarring can be avoided or minimized.

Because each case of acne is different and each person responds differently to medications, acne treatment plans are personalized to meet individual lifestyle demands and desired outcomes. Acne treatment plans may include:
  • Medications: Over-the-counter (OTC) and/or prescription topical and/or oral medications
  • Chemical peels: Medical-grade facials which may include just one product, such as glycolic or salicylic, or a combination of solutions to separate and "peel" the outer surface layers of the skin, which usually contain dead skin. This process stimulates the generation of new skin cells.
  • Laser treatments: Generally, a series of laser or light treatments is needed to see results.

In addition, your Valley of the Sun Dermatology provider will review your at-home skincare routine with you and may make suggestions about products to use at home or other tactics you can use to prevent acne breakouts.

For information on treatment of acne scars, click here.  

Dermatologist Scottsdale

Dermatology Associations