Duke dermatologists use the latest therapies to treat all types of acne -- from mild and persistent whiteheads and blackheads, to severe cysts and nodules. We evaluate your condition, determine the most effective treatments, and work with you to prevent future outbreaks. Without treatment, acne can cause dark spots and scarring, and lead to depression and low self-esteem. We help you look and feel your best.
Effective acne care
Teenagers may be well-known sufferers of acne, but this skin condition affects people of all ages. From newborns to adults, acne can be a distressing and persistent skin disorder. If left untreated, acne can cause dark spots and scarring, and seriously impact your mental health. Studies show people with persistent acne may experience depression and low self-esteem.
Acne ranges from mild, non-inflamed lesions -- your doctor may call them comedones -- that include clogged pores and blackheads. More serious acne includes inflamed cysts and nodules. In either case, when over-the-counter skin-care products and medicines are not effective, our experienced dermatologists select from an array of prompt, effective acne treatments, and choose the approach that is right for you. We also offer a variety of procedures that improve your skin’s appearance while reducing scarring.
Choose Duke dermatology for your acne treatment because we offer:
- Experience. Our dermatologists are skilled at diagnosing and treating acne in children, teens and adults. We offer the most effective therapies available to treat mild to severe cases of acne, and also work closely with you to identify the sources that trigger your acne to help you prevent future outbreaks.
- Skin care experts. Our specialists include dermatologists, medical aestheticians and facial plastic surgeons who provide the full range of nonoperative skin care therapies, ensuring you receive the most effective treatment approach for your skin care needs. We also offer advice on how to make lifestyle choices that will improve the condition of your skin.
- Your needs are our main concern. We work closely with you to recommend the best treatment to suit your skin care condition. Our medical aestheticians do not receive any commission for the products they recommend, so their recommendations are based solely on your skin care needs.
Kill bacteria on your skin and/or reduce oil build-up. Topical treatments may include a retinoid, which helps the skin slough off dead cells that clog pores; prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide or antibiotics, which kill bacteria; and salicylic acid, which reduces swelling and redness, and unclogs pores.
Severe, inflamed acne may be treated with oral antibiotics that kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. Birth control and other hormonal treatments may also be prescribed for women who have acne flare-ups timed to their menstrual cycle.
An oral retinoid medication derived from vitamin A, which works by unclogging pores and shrinking oil glands. It is typically prescribed for severe acne when other medications have failed. Your doctor will monitor you closely while you take this drug, which is sold under brand names such as Accutane, Claravis, Myorisan, and Zenatane.
Medicines activated by light or lasers, kill bacteria in acne, as well as skin cells. Treats acne and reduces acne scarring.
Chemicals damage the top layer of skin to remove blackheads and solid, raised bumps (papules). Your appearance improves over a series of days or weeks, as a result of the skin’s natural healing process. Often used in combination with laser therapy and dermabrasion.
Large acne cysts may be removed during a procedure called drainage and extraction. This is typically performed when the cyst does not respond to medication. Acne removal can ease pain caused by the cyst, and reduce your chance of scarring.
Reduces acne scars. A rapidly rotating brush is applied to skin numbed by topical anesthetic. Your dermatologist uses the device to carefully damage and remove the top layer of skin. The process may cause your skin to bleed. A scab forms, but, your skin’s appearance improves over several days or weeks, as a result of the body’s natural healing process.
A spray removes superficial skin cells, and promotes healing and the regeneration of clearer skin.
Your doctor will examine your skin to determine the type of acne you have, and grade it from mild to severe. Your doctor will also ask a series of questions to identify the trigger of your acne, and whether it stems from an underlying medical condition, a side effect to medications, or other causes.