Dermatology Information and Resources


Acne Vulgaris is a  very common chronic, inflammatory skin condition characterized by the presence of bumps, redness, cysts, nodules, or possible skin discoloration.[1] Acne is most likely to appear on the upper body areas, particularly the face, chest, back, neck, and arms.

Common symptoms: Breakouts occur when pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, or cysts appear on the skin. Itchy skin, oily skin, or dry skin may also become noticeable. Pain from cysts or pimples is common.

Causes: Acne occurs due to clogged pores in the skin. Pores can become clogged due to dead skin cells and/or excessive sebum (a natural oil produced by the body). Most people experience at least mild acne in their lifetime with occasional pimples, blackheads, or pustules. Cosmetics, skin products, certain medications, and certain foods can also cause acne flare ups and bad reactions. Cystic acne is a common condition resulting from the bacteria that gets inside clogged pores, but can also be triggered by hormonal birth control, supplements, and certain imbalances. Acne is most associated with teens and young adults experiencing hormonal changes that occur during puberty between the ages of 12-24 however, acne can occur in all age groups.[2]

Treatment: Treating mild acne can be done with a range of over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to clear the skin, reduce breakout size, and remove excess oils. For severe acne, seeking out a dermatologist can help determine the cause of excess acne and offer prescription-strength options to keep breakouts at bay.

Common Acne Medications:

  • Hormonal birth control (for women)
  • Retinoids
  • Antibiotics
  • Isotretinoin (the only treatment that works on all that causes acne)[3]


The most common oral antibiotics prescribed for acne treatments are:

  • Erythromycin
  • Tetracycline
  • Minocycline
  • Doxycycline

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