Cause of Acne
Acne is caused by overactive sebaceous glands in the skin. The sebaceous glands, triggered by the hormone androgen, produce sebum (oil) in the skin. Although androgen is a male hormone, it is present in both men and women. Production of this hormone is highest during puberty, but it is always present in the body.
When androgen levels increase, the sebaceous glands release sebum. Ordinarily, this oily substance spills onto the skin. When cells from the lining of hair follicles shed too quickly—clumping together and clogging pores—sebum is trapped beneath the skin causing whiteheads and blackheads. Sebum can then mix with the trapped cells and cause Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes)—bacteria normally found on the skin–to grow in the clogged follicles. P. acnes can cause inflammation and pus and can result in papules or pustules. When the follicles expand as much as they can, bumps called nodules are formed under the skin.
Moderate acne may include blackheads and whiteheads in addition to papules —inflamed lesions that appear as small, reddish or pinkish bumps that can be sensitive to touch — or pustules which are inflamed, white-centered bumps that can be red at the base.
Severe acne is characterized by nodules — large, painful, solid lesions that appear as lumps under the skin—and cysts —deep, inflamed, pus-filled lesions that can be very painful. Nodules and cysts are inflammatory and can cause scarring.
What About Accutane?
Why Dr. Pilest does not prescribe Accutane: Prior to Photodynamic Acne Treatment, the best available treatment option for resistant and cystic acne was Accutane (isotretinoin). However, with Accutane-like drugs there are many systemic* side effects including major birth defects if a child is conceived during treatment (women taking isotretinoin are required to use RX birth control and have pregnancy test throughout treatment), liver abnormalities, mood depression, and virtually all patients get extreme comprehensive dryness and night vision changes.
*Systemic treatments are any medications that are taken orally, injected or infused that affect the entire body system. PDT Acne Treatment provides a viable alternative to all types of acne treatment without having negative systemic effects.