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Acne Treatments for Men

Acne in men is on the rise, but acne treatments are better than ever

Acne-like problems

Men also can develop an acne-like disorder known as folliculitis, Rahimi tells WebMD. Frequently, this comes from the tiny nicks caused by shaving too closely. Bacteria enter the follicles and cause infection.

“One way to distinguish a follicular pimple from acne is that with a follicular pimple you often can see the hair shaft at the center of the lesion,” Rahimi says. “The pimples sometimes contain pus, and they may crust over or become surrounded by an area that’s red and inflamed. The infection may itch or be somewhat tender, but it usually isn’t painful.” Deep folliculitis, however, which affects the entire hair follicle, can cause large, painful, pus-filled bumps that may leave scars, he adds.

Folliculitis is more common among Hispanics and African-Americans, Rahimi says, because their hair tends to curl up under the skin and cause a pocket of infection. The best treatment is to switch to an electric shaver.

“The electric shaver doesn’t give as close a shave as a blade, but it causes fewer problems with irritation and inflammation around the hair follicle,” Rahimi says. “Also, I have [men with folliculitis] use salicylic acid or glycolic acid to unclog the pores, and then retin A once a week. The key is to use different medicines from different families to control bacteria, clear the pores, and bring inflammation down.”

Another type of facial inflammation known as rosacea is sometimes confused with acne because it produces small pimples and redness across the nose and cheeks. “Acne rosacea,” as it’s known, involves the follicles, but is not caused by sebum or oil. Although the cause is not known, some dermatologists believe the condition is caused or aggravated by common mites known as Demodex folliculorum, which inhabit follicles and are found in far greater numbers in people with rosacea. Treatment for rosacea differs from treatment for typical acne vulgaris.

Treatments for acne, as well as for rosacea, have improved in recent decades, and they continue to get better, dermatologists say. Harmon predicts an even clearer future for men’s faces: “In 10 years we’ll have new topicals and new oral agents, and more innovations involving the use of oral vitamin A derivatives,” he says.

Reviewed on January 06, 2008

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