Acne Treatments for Men
Acne in men is on the rise, but acne treatments are better than ever
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.