By Jacqueline Le-Guevara, MD
Family Medicine - Board Certified
ACNE is the most common skin condition in the United States. Although acne is not physically disabling, its psychological impact is huge! Acne can result in low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Fortunately, there are lots of options for treatment that are safe and effective and many can be prescribed by your family doctor! 
Some of the main culprits that can cause acne are:
  1. Your Prescriptions - lots of medications can cause or exacerbate acne, steroids being a major offender. Some oral contraceptives (birth control) can cause breakouts as well. Anytime your body has a hormone change, your skin condition can fluctuate drastically.
  2. Your Beauty Routine (AKA Acne Cosmetica) - not cleaning your makeup brushes can lead to bacteria and fungus! Also, rich hair creams and oils and migrate down your face and cause sebum build up.
  3. Your Cell Phone - cell phones are a magnet for dirt and bacteria, and is placed right up against your face everyday! Try and wipe down your phone daily with an alcohol wipe daily.
  4. Using Home Remedies - people have been told in the past to use toothpaste to treat their acne. Formulations of toothpaste with fluoride and whitening agents can actually be quite abrasive to skin and cause irritation, and in turn, more breakouts.
  5. Your Hands - Touching your face can inflame the skin. If you're touching the same area a few times a day, then you might get an increase in oil production. This coupled with the bacteria on your hands makes your face a perfect environment for acne propagation.
Some common treatments for acne:
  1. Benzoyl Peroxide Products
  2. Salicyclic Acid Products
  3. Oral Antibiotics
  4. Topical Retinoids
  5. Topical Antimicrobials
  6. Hormonal Therapy (like birth control pills)
Not all acne will be treated the exact same way. Some treatments would not be safe for those pregnant or those currently trying to conceive. If you have a lot of acne, cysts, or nodules, a medicine that is available over the counter may not be enough. It would be best to be seen by a healthcare provider to see if we can help you!

Dr Le's Primary Care Topics