What Is Acne?

Acne develops when hair follicles in our skin become clogged with sebum (the skin’s oil) and dead skin cells, which together form the acne “plug”. This plug can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and excessive inflammation within the hair follicle, a process which can lead to scarring.

Acne comes in many forms, yet all are called "acne." Acne lesions can be broadly split into two general types:

"inflammatory acne", which is characterized by pimples, cysts, and nodules which lead to scarring and brown spots.

"comedonal acne", which is characterized by blackheads and whiteheads (ie, open and closed comedones).

Most acne has both types of lesions present in varying degrees. Clinical categories of acne range from limited, mostly comedonal acne (such as blackheads on the nose or chin), to widespread severe inflammatory acne.

Facts About Acne

About 85% of people get some form of acne at some time point in their life; 100% of us hate it.

Acne has many causes, including hormone fluctuations, environmental stressors, and genetics. The average course of acne spans 11 years when left untreated, but the mental and physical scars can last a lifetime.

People living with acne often suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Acne can even discourage people from pursuing certain careers or social activities. Thanks to advances in medicine today, virtually every case of acne can be controlled to reduce further breakouts and scarring.

Most notably, treating acne will improve a person's quality of life. When acne is under control, self-confidence grows, and anxiety and depression diminish and often without having to resort to oral medications.

Triggers and Causes of Acne

1. Genetics

The acne you express is predominantly genetically based. Acne may run in your family, or you may seem to be the first in your family to have acne of a certain severity. The combination of genes uniquely given to you by your parents may make you prone to acne in a way that is distinctive just to you.

2. Hormones

Our bodies make more sebum when our hormones surge. This is why puberty is often the onset of acne, and why women notice more breakouts before their periods. Since hormones fluctuate in the years leading up to menopause, many women in their 40s and 50s also get acne.

3. Stress

Stress releases hormones in our bodies, which is why stressful events in our lives—such as taking exams, making presentations, or undergoing difficult life transitions—can result in acne breakouts.

4. Food or medications

While genetics and hormones play the major roles in your expression of acne, occasionally certain medications — and rarely certain foods — can aggravate or induce acne.

5. Age

Sometimes acne can persist or even start in adulthood, although for most people acne improves with age.

Get Medical Help Sooner Than Later

Seeking professional guidance early on will not only relieve you of the frustration associated with acne, but can also prevent the side effects, such as discoloration and permanent scarring.

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Acne is Complex

Because acne is a complex disease. There is no one medication and no single combination of treatments that work for everyone.

Acne treatment must be tailored to each individual, and followed for responsiveness. Generally, You can expect your dermatologist to treat your acne with multiple products from different classes and then, as the condition improves, the program is simplified to one or two products.

10 tips for dealing with your Acne

  • Be patient! Acne can be slow to respond to medications.
  • Follow the program! Acne responds best to combination therapy using several medications from different groups \ After improvement is seen, the regimen can be simplified.
  • Recognize acne is variable! Different types of acne require different medication programs.
  • Be consistent! Acne will only respond if medication is taken faithfully as recommended.
  • Be aware! Acne may change forms over time naturally. Look for programs that include regular monitoring of your condition, and adjustments to your treatment plan if warranted. Get medicall attention if your acne suddenly gets worse.
  • News flash! Acne can present at any age, not just in adolescence! This is normal.
  • Get educated! Genetics plays the biggest role in acne presentation, with hormonal influences (from puberty, stress, menopause, or other) being the biggest influence. External influences, such as food, play a lesser role, if any.
  • Be easy on yourself! Acne has an enormous psychological impact at any age! It is important to remember, there are experts to help you, and acne IS treatable.
  • Be gentle! Use a gentle facial cleanser and don’t scrub; harsh soaps or practices may aggravate acne by stimulating oil glands.
  • Do your best! Try not to pick, and strive to use products (sunscreen, make-up, moisturizers) labeled “non-comedogenic.”

The Choice Is Yours:

Pick Your Acne Path

You can treat your acne the traditional route, and pay for in office visits and use outdated typical oral or topical prescription medications...


You can try self-diagnosing and see how over-the-counter products work...


You can access SkinHappy’s online acne service and get a dermatoogist’s diagnosis and a highly customized, modern, topical prescription program created just for you.

Get Free Diagnosis

Remember: Although acne is extremely common, acne is a complicated disease, and there is a considerable amount of misunderstanding and misinformation circulating in the public realm.

Get an accurate diagnosis and you’ll have the relief you deserve. Dr. Kenner is here to give you the help you need to manage this condition and restore your skin to its natural state of health. Don’t just use any generic acne products.

Prescription Treatments Options for Acne

Multi-Prong Therapies

There are dozens of classes of medications used to treat acne different medications work on different aspects of the disease. International expert panels regularly conclude that the best treatment plans for acne involve using “multi-pronged therapies” (meaning several different medications with different functions) versus “monotherapy” (meaning single drug therapy).

Dr. Kenner explains it like this:“Acne is easier to knock down when you hit it over the head with multiple hammers vs. one or two.”

Beware of Older Medications

Many of the older topical medications for treating acne, such as erythromycin, are no longer effective for acne. And other topicals commonly in use are also showing lack of efficacy especially when used by themselves. Older generic medications are not formulated well and tend to be drying, irritating, stinky, or not mix well with other products such as make-up, resulting in poor compliance.

Risks of Oral Medications

Oral medications, particularly oral antibiotics such as doxycycline and minocycline, have long been used to treat acne — most often to calm inflammation and reduce bacterial load. Unfortunately, this widespread practice has led to dangerous rates of drug resistance around the globe. Beyond developing resistance, the risks to using oral medication for a topical, non-life threatening, disease can in rare situations include severe and sometimes fatal drug reactions.

Staggeringly high rates of medication failure plague acne sufferers, either due to ineffectiveness, non tolerance, dangerous side effects, or lack of proper instruction.

  • Dr. Kenner’s philosophy has always been to use leading edge blended ingredients, in elegant base formulas.
  • Dr. Kenner takes great care to write down explicit instructions on use, and gives tips and expectations throughout the treatment course.
  • Dr. Kenner’s average patient is 50% improved by 6 weeks.
  • Once your acne is under control, Dr. Kenner will transition you to a maintenance program, using a minimal set of products.

Clinical Treatments for Acne

Medical Grade Facials (Hydrafacials)

The Hydrafacial MD is a professional level facial treatment using vortex extraction of surface dead skin, blackhead plugs, and dirt/pollution buildup, followed by infusion of therapeutic and rejuvenating serums.

Medical MicroNeedling

Medical microneedling uses a unique combination of techniques to painlessly and effectively rejuvenate the skin at all levels: stratum corneum, epidermis, and upper dermis. Especially effective for scar repair, medical microneedling can return skin riddled by acne to beautiful health.

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