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ask the expert Ask DR. CRUTCHFIELD:



cne is a very common skin condition that affects over 90% of people at some point in their lives. When adolescents are developing a strong sense of self, self-worth, value, and identity, acne not only may cause low self-esteem, it can also cause long-term and permanent scars on the skin. While almost never life threatening, if it bothers the patient, it should be treated.

What Causes Acne?


cne is a condition that manifests as red, tainted papules and pustules in the skin especially on the face, chest, and back. It is a disorder of the skin’s pores and oil glands. All pores have a small oil gland attached to them at their bottom. When pores become plugged, the natural skin oil has nowhere to go and thus forms a bump in the skin. We also have normal natural bacteria that live on our skin attracted to the oil as a food source. These types of bacteria can also cause inflammation in the skin.

How Common Is Acne?


cne is genetically determined, running in families. As oil glands in the skin become activated by hormones during adolescence, we first start to see acne. Unfortunately, acne doesn’t always disappear when we leave our teens. I treat many patients with acne into their 20s, 30s, and even beyond.

treatments are designed to clear acne up completely. This is one of the biggest concerns my patients express to me. They are using medicine to treat acne, and while they say their condition is better, they still have acne. The treatments make the condition better compared to not using any type of treatment, but they will not necessarily make acne 100% clear. There is one very effective medicine for the total clearing of acne, but it has side effects that need to be monitored carefully under the direction of a dermatologist.

What Action Steps Can Be Taken Now For Addressing My Acne?

• Treat acne as soon as you notice it. • While there are many topical over-the-counter preparations, consult with a board-certified dermatologist to identify the best treatment plan. • Always use very gentle, non-abrasive, non-harsh cleansers and moisturizers. • If problems persist after initial treatment, inform your dermatologist to revise your treatment plan. Treating acne appropriately and early can prevent low self-esteem, discomfort, and scars that last a lifetime. Visit for more information. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter @CrutchfieldDerm.



How Is Acne Treated?


cne can be treated by unplugging the pores, reducing inflammation, reducing bacteria, or actively decreasing oil production. Topical preparations like chemical peels or salicylic acid will unplug follicles, while topical antibiotic solutions will decrease bacteria and certain acne creams can reduce inflammation. Other medications and lasers can also decrease oil production. One of the best kept secrets when it comes to treating acne is that the vast majority of acne treatments are designed to improve acne, but very few

Acne patient treated by Dr. Crutchfield

Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic Medical School and a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Crutchfield is an annual selection in the “Top Doctors” issue of Mpls. St. Paul magazine, and is the only dermatologist to have been selected as a “Best Doctor for Women” by Minnesota Monthly magazine since the inception of the survey. Dr. Crutchfield has also been selected as one of the “Best Doctors in America,” an honor awarded to only 4% of all practicing physicians. Dr. Crutchfield is the co-author of a children’s book on sun protection and dermatology textbook. He is a HETIC member of the AOA National Medical Honor Society, an expert consultant for WebMD and CNN, and a T S AE recipient of the Karis Humanitarian Award from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. L OF APPROVA L SEA

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