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Acne Treatment and Prevention

Symptoms and Causes

Acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. Areas of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and greasy skin are evident, and often times result in scarring once the acne has healed. Genetics is thought to be the cause in 80% of cases. Diet and cigarette smoking as contributors are unclear but it would be prudent to not ignore them.

Chronic acne breakouts are challenging to treat. The individual is required to be disciplined in keeping up with the prescribed acne treatment regimen and this can sometimes require many years of commitment to the treatment regimen. Eventually the commitment and dedication does pay off and you are able to eradicate or get your acne breakouts under control.

acne - open and closed comedones

Understanding the type of acne you are dealing with


Whiteheads are small blemishes with whitish heads which result when hair follicles become plugged with excess sebum and dead skin cells. When hair follicles are plugged they are referred to as comedones.


Blackheads are comedones that appear black in appearance due to the oxidation of the hardened sebum and dead skin cells trapped inside the hair follicle.


Papules is the acne phase beyond whiteheads which are characterized by red or pink bumps and a swollen appearance. They tend to be small to medium sized. The inflammation is caused by the presence of bacteria trapped under the skin along with excess sebum and dead skin cells and is generally sensitive to the touch.


Pustules are similar to papules but with the presence of whitish or yellowish pus along with a red ring around the bump. They may feel painful to the touch.

Severe acne (nodules, cysts, acne conglobata)

Nodules, cysts and acne conglobata are indicative of a more severe medical condition and are generally characterized by a full face of inflamed blemishes which are typically red and large in appearance. Topical over-the-counter treatments will likely not work and you should immediately see a dermatologist for a stronger progr am of treatment and to prevent scarring.

Acne Before and After Treatment Pictures

acne on face and forehead

acne on face

(Results may vary with each individual and are not guaranteed)

Acne Treatment Options

Acne and the resulting acne scars is known to cause anxiety, reduced self-esteem and depression and adds to the burden of dealing with your acne.

The good news is that acne has been around forever and there are many treatment and prevention options available to help you improve the appearance of your acne; along with lifestyle changes and eating fewer simple carbohydrates like sugar.

Depending on the number and type of acne lesions present your acne will be classified as mild, moderate or severe and this will determine the treatment approach that will be considered for you.

You should have a continuing relationship with a dermatologist to monitor your progress if you are on prescription medication. If you are exploring non-medication options then there are chemical peels, lasers specific to acne treatments and acne scar removal, and pharmaceutical grade skin care products for alleviating acne symptoms and speeding up the healing process. This is a skin condition where it helps to have a skin care coach. Much of the treatment success comes from working with an empathetic treatment provider who will encourage you along the way to stick with your treatment regimen.

Click to Schedule a Free Consultation at our Yonge & Finch Toronto Clinic or Call Us at (416) 546-7700