II. Management: Exacerbating factors to avoid

  1. Medications that exacerbate acne
    1. Androgenic steroids (e.g. Danazol, Testosterone
    2. Corticosteroids
    3. Lithium
    4. Oral Contraceptives
    5. Isoniazid
    6. Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  2. Environment
    1. Hot
    2. Greasy (fast-food kitchen, garage)
    3. Tobacco smoke exposure
  3. Oil based Cosmetics (Acne cosmetica)
    1. Cosmetics with Lanolin or petroleum jelly
    2. Oil based Shampoos or Sunscreens
  4. Emotional Stress
  5. Physical Pressure (acne mechanica)
    1. Tight chinstrap
    2. Helmet
  6. Refined Carbohydrates (high Glycemic Index foods)
    1. Sweets, chocolate and pizza do in fact worsen Acne Vulgaris, despite prior dogma
    2. fiedler (2017) acta derm venereol 97(1):7-9 +PMID:27136757 [PubMed]
    3. mahmood (2014) J Drugs Dermatol 13(4): 428-35 +PMID:24719062 [PubMed]

III. Management: Myths (non-causes of Acne Vulgaris)

  1. Acne is not a result of poor hygiene
    1. Constant washing does not improve acne
    2. Scrubbing dries and irritates skin further

IV. Management: General recommendations

  1. Do not squeeze lesions
    1. Forces pus into Dermis
    2. Causes inflammation and scarring
  2. Limit washing face to 2-3 times per day
    1. Avoid abrasive soaps
    2. Gear soap to skin condition
      1. Skin dry: Purpose soap
      2. Skin oily: Dial soap
  3. Change cosmetics from oil-based to water-based products (prevent Acne cosmetica)

V. Management: Medications

  1. See Topical Acne Vulgaris Management (Moderate Acne Vulgaris Management)
  2. See Systemic Acne Vulgaris Management (Severe Acne Vulgaris Management including Cystic Acne)
  3. See Adjunctive Acne Vulgaris Management
  4. Comedones
    1. Patients often present already having used Benzoyl Peroxide (OTC)
    2. Start with topical Retinoids (e.g. Retin A) at bedtime
  5. Mild Inflammatory Papules and Pustules
    1. Start with Benzoyl Peroxide in am AND Topical Retinoids (e.g. Retin A) at bedtime
  6. Moderate Inflammatory Papules and Pustules
    1. Start with Benzoyl Peroxide in am AND Topical Retinoids (e.g. Retin A) at bedtime AND Oral antibiotics
    2. If effective, then maintenance with topical Retinoids with or without Benzoyl Peroxide (and antibiotics if severe)
    3. If ineffective, then advance to Isoretinoin (Accutane)
  7. Moderate to Severe Inflammatory Acne with Nodules
    1. Start with Benzoyl Peroxide in am AND Topical Retinoids (e.g. Retin A) at bedtime AND Topical antibiotic
    2. If effective, then maintenance with topical Retinoids (with Benzoyl Peroxide and antibiotics if severe)
    3. If ineffective, then advance to Isoretinoin (Accutane)
  8. Other measures
    1. Combined Oral Contraceptives with Spironolactone
      1. See Adjunctive Acne Vulgaris Management
      2. Consider if Menstrual Cycle associated acne or Hyperandrogenism related findings

VI. Management: Skin of Color (e.g. black, asian, hispanic)

  1. Skin of Color is more susceptible to scarring, Keloids and Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation
  2. Be aware of skin and hair products (e.g. cocoa butter, olive oil) that may exacerbate acne
    1. Many of these products are used more commonly in Skin of Color communities
  3. Start acne topical medications at less irritating, lower concentrations
    1. Increase dose slowly to reduce Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation
    2. Retin A 0.025% cream every other day (instead of 0.05% gel daily)
    3. Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% (instead of 5-10%)
    4. Azelaic Acid (Azelex, Finacea) may be indicated if Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation is already present

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