Premier Medical Group’s Dermatology division offers many treatment options to help patients get rid of acne and prevent or reduce future outbreaks. We take the time to carefully assess the underlying causes of your condition and design a treatment plan that addresses these factors. Here are just some of the treatment options we may suggest.


  • Topical Treatments: For many patients, topical treatments can be an effective option for getting their acne under control. Unfortunately, over-the-counter brands may not have active ingredient concentrations strong enough to clear the pores and reduce inflammation. In such cases prescription-strength creams may be a viable option.


  • Prescription Medication: Patients struggling with severe acne, like cystic acne, may need a more aggressive form of treatment that involves oral medication.


  • Chemical Peels: Some chemical peels, like the glycolic acid peel, can be very effective as part of an acne treatment routine. These peels reduce acne by exfoliating the skin and unclogging pores.


  • Skin Care Routine: In some cases, the patient’s acne can be partly the result of a poorly-designed skin care routine. To help you treat acne, we can help you assess your current skin care routine and figure out how it can be improved.


Don’t wait to get professional help for your acne. Dr. Mays Al-Shaer is highly experienced in this field and has helped countless patients significantly reduce outbreaks or get rid of acne altogether.

Set up your acne consultation today!  We offer convenient Telemedicine appointments so you can speak to Dr. Al-Shaer from the comfort of your own home using your computer, phone or tablet!

Call (845) 451-7272, or use the appointment request link below:

What is acne? 

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Acne, also called acne vulgaris, is a skin condition characterized by lesions, called pimples, that form on the surface of the skin. Your skin naturally secretes sebum (oil) from your sebaceous glands to keep the skin hydrated. However, acne results when the skin’s pores and skin follicles under the skin become clogged with sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria, trapping all these materials under the skin. The clogged pores result in the lesions that appear on the skin at the place of the acne breakout. Breakouts can occur as pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads depending on the type of clog and your skin type. 

Acne is a common condition experienced primarily by teenagers but can affect others into their 40s or 50s. The pimple lesions most frequently occur on the face, but they can also occur on the shoulders, back, and chest. Acne tends to resolve on its own, but some people may experience more frequent or lasting breakouts. The lasting effects of acne are minimal, but some people may experience acne scars or emotional distress from their acne. 

What causes acne?

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Acne develops as a result of a combination of factors, mainly excess oil production in the pores, bacteria growth, and buildup of dead skin cells. If a person’s skin has one or more of these conditions in their pores, then acne is likely to result.  

Normal skin function consists of the hair follicle shedding dead skin through the opening of the pores and the sebaceous glands producing oil to hydrate and protect the skin. When your pores cannot shed this layer of dead skin, the skin begins to collect and block the pore opening, preventing the dead skin and oil from leaving the pore. When enough material builds up inside the pore under the skin, the pore becomes inflamed, and a pimple forms as the body’s response to the inflammation. The pimple forms and remains on the skin until the body resolves the inflammation and is able to clear away the debris in the pore.

What triggers acne?

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Acne has many triggers that can make an acne breakout worse or more frequent. Triggers occur both internally and externally. Common acne triggers include the following:

  • Hormones: Androgen is the main hormone that triggers acne breakouts. People experience increases in this hormone starting with puberty. Women, too, experience fluctuations in androgen around the start of their period and during pregnancy. 
  • Medicine: Certain medicines like corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium can trigger acne. 
  • Diet: While studies are still inconclusive about the link between diet and acne, some carbohydrate-rich foods may result in acne or make existing breakouts worse. More research is needed to understand and confirm this link, however. 
  • Stress: Stress can make acne breakouts worse and more persistent due to the impact of stress on a person’s hormone levels. 

Other triggers exist like environmental conditions that contribute to larger acne breakouts. Once a person understands their unique triggers, they can try to avoid their triggers to prevent bad breakouts and allow their skin to heal.

What are the types of acne?

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Acne comes in many forms, and the treatment for acne depends on which type of acne you have. The following are the types and characteristics of the main types of acne. You may experience just one type or a combination of many types during a breakout. 

  • Whiteheads: Whiteheads form a small, white, pus-filled bump on the surface of the skin and form when a clogged hair follicle gets trapped beneath the skin. 
  • Blackheads: Blackheads appear black on the surface of the skin when plugged hair follicles reach the skin’s surface and are open. This type of acne is black because the trapped sebum discolors when exposed to the air. 
  • Cystic: Cystic acne is deep, pus-filled lesions. This type of acne can produce painful pimples and often result in scars on the skin. 
  • Papules: Papules appear as pink bumps on the skin that can be tender. The pink color and tenderness are caused by inflammation.
  • Pustules (Pimples): Pustules appear on the surface of the skin with white or yellow pus-filled caps with a red base near the skin. 
  • Nodules: Nodular acne is a severe type of acne that results in large lesions deep beneath the skin. On the surface of the skin, nodules present as hard, painful pimples. People with nodular acne tend to develop scars after this form of acne heals. 


What are symptoms of acne?

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The main symptoms of acne depend on the type of acne you have. To determine if you have acne or another skin condition, you should assess the appearance of what you think is acne to see if your symptoms match one or more of the types of acne. Acne can resemble other skin conditions, so if you are unsure, it is best to consult with your doctor. Symptoms of acne vary based on the acne’s severity. For example, symptoms of mild acne may be a couple small, painless pimples while a severe case of acne may consist of several painful nodules or cysts. 

Acne typically occurs on the face. However, acne also appears on the chest, upper back, and shoulders. The symptoms of acne tend to occur over time as the skin becomes inflamed and works through the growth and healing process. You may notice a cluster of acne breakouts or isolated pimples or cysts. Each person may experience slightly different symptoms.

Are there any risk factors or groups for acne?

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Acne is very common, and the majority of people will experience acne at some point in their life. There are some risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing acne. 

Age: Acne most commonly occurs in teenagers and young adults. Acne can occur at any age, though. 

Family History: People who have a family history of acne are more likely to have acne, showing a genetic link for the skin condition. 

Hormonal Changes or Imbalances: Hormones are one of the main factors that can affect a person’s chances of developing acne. Periods of significant hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy, or a menstrual cycle, all increase a person’s chances of acne. 

How is acne diagnosed?

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Your primary care doctor or a dermatologist can diagnose acne during a physical examination of the skin. They may ask you about your family history to see if acne runs in your family and ask about your stress levels. In addition, for girls, women, or people assigned female at birth, the doctor may ask about the person’s menstrual cycles in relation to when they notice an acne breakout. Other questions may cover the symptoms you notice and any medications you currently take or have recently stopped taking. 

Usually, your doctor can determine the type of acne lesion you are experiencing. However, based on your symptoms and health history, your physician may order lab work to see if there is an underlying health condition that is causing the acne, especially if the acne outbreak was sudden or severe.

How is acne treated?

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Acne treatments aim to prevent new lesions from developing, heal current lesions, and lessen the chances of scarring. You can work with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan that works for the type and severity of your acne. Treatments fall into three main categories: topical medications, oral medications, and therapies. 

Topical Medications: 

  • Azelaic and salicylic acid: These acids work to exfoliate the skin to remove excess dead skin and serve as an antibacterial. 
  • Retinoids: Retinoids work by unclogging pores to prevent new acne from forming. Retinoids take several months to show results and can leave the skin dry and vulnerable to sun damage, so you must use sunscreen when applying retinoids. 
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics work with other active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids to control bacteria levels and reduce inflammation. 
  • Benzoyl peroxide: This active ingredient controls oil production and bacteria growth on the surface of the skin. 

Oral Medications: 

  • Oral antibiotics: Like topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics reduce inflammation and control bacteria growth. 
  • Hormone therapy: This type of medication helps regulate a person’s hormones to ensure that acne-causing hormones like androgen are kept at normal levels. 
  • Oral contraceptives: Contraceptives can be an effective treatment for acne for women and people assigned female at birth. 
  • Isotretinoin: These oral retinoids shrink oil glands and open pores. This medication has serious side effects that you should discuss with your doctor. 

Acne Therapies: 

  • Chemical peels: For this therapy, a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layer of dead skin to smooth skin and reduce acne scars. 
  • Light therapy: Laser and light therapy can promote the production of collagen to encourage skin to regenerate and shed without leaving scars. 
  • Steroid injections: Steroids can be effective to severe acne to reduce inflammation and decrease pain. 


Should you see a doctor for acne?

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Acne is generally not cause for concern and often clears on its own without treatment. However, there are some circumstances when you should see a doctor for acne. If no treatment is working to clear your acne, you can see your doctor for a prescription that will target the cause of the particular type of acne to resolve symptoms. 

If you experience severe acne very suddenly, you should contact your doctor as this could indicate an underlying condition that needs medical attention. In addition, if you use non-prescription acne treatments that cause an adverse skin reaction, you should contact your doctor. Signs of a serious reaction to an acne treatment product include difficulty breathing, tightness of the throat, and swelling of the face, eyes, lips, or tongue. 

What is the outlook for people living with acne?

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Acne is not known to cause any lasting health complications or any threat to your health, so the outlook for acne is positive. There are many treatment options for acne that you can discuss with your doctor. Practicing good hygiene, using gentle cleansers, and protecting your skin with sunscreen and non-comedogenic moisturizers will help your skin stay hydrated and prevent acne.