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Patients in Milpitas ask a dermatologist, “What causes acne, and how can I prevent it?”


Acne, or acne vulgaris, may be remembered as the scourge of adolescence and the teenage years. While acne is prevalent in puberty, this common skin inflammation may affect patients at any age. Acne is caused by a number of factors and processes. Oil glands, also called sebaceous glands, are activated by a male hormone that is naturally produced in men and women, boys and girls, and they exude an abundance of oil. As the skin sheds dead cells, the hair follicles can become irritated and plugged by the oil and dead skin. When this occurs, the blockage allows bacteria to grow.

Acne may present in various forms, such as:

  • Whiteheads – the plug of oil and dead cells stay within the follicle wall causing the skin to bulge
  • Blackheads – the blockage remains close to the surface and is visible
  • Pimples – the plug becomes inflamed or infected causing raised red spots
  • Cysts – the blockage and inflammation remain deep inside the hair follicle and cause raised lumps

Acne triggers

Certain factors may aggravate acne symptoms, including:
  • Medications – such as androgens, lithium, or corticosteroids
  • Hormones – naturally occurring androgens increase during puberty and hormonal fluctuations due to pregnancy or birth control may cause excessive oil production
  • Diet – some dairy products or foods rich in carbohydrates my increase blood sugar

Patients may develop or exacerbate acne symptoms in other circumstances, such as:

  • Skin contact with cosmetics or oily substances
  • Genetics – a family history of acne
  • Materials rubbing against the skin, like helmets, cellphones, collars, and backpacks
  • Anxiety may not cause acne but it can worsen the condition

At Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery, with locations in Fremont and Milpitas, CA, Dr. Sunil Dhawan and his associates are board certified dermatologists who treat all aspects of skin conditions, with medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology services. With two convenient locations, we care for patients from Union City, Newark, Pleasanton, San Leandro, San Jose, and Hayward, California, and have been serving the Bay Area since 1965.

Because each patient is unique, treatment for acne and acne scarring is custom-designed. We offer a complete range of procedures for patients with acne, from topical ointments, to professional skin care products, peels, medications, and advanced technologies.

For a comprehensive consultation and individualized plan of care, contact Dr. Sunil Dhawan at Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery today at 855-717-1755 Fremont, or 855-717-1756 Milpitas.

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