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Now is the time to take your skin health to a higher level with ZO Medical� Products. These treatment protocols and daily skincare solutions by Dr. Zein Obagi provide continuous skin health for all skin types. Ask your SSDP dermatologist about the ZO Medical� solution that's right for you. Phone 508.535.3376 or email us from the Contact page on the SSDP website to schedule your next appointment.

SSDP home page

SSDP's new website contains valuable information for all of your dermatologic needs. Visit us online at
www.southshorederm.com to read about SSDP's high quality medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology services, download important patient forms, and discover helpful information about caring for your skin.



Leera M. Briceno, MD
By Leera M. Briceno, MD
In honor of the recent National Healthy Skin Month, we continue our series on caring for one's skin at different stages of life. In this issue, we examine common questions about adolescent acne.

Pimples. Cysts. Blackheads. Whiteheads. No matter what you call them, the signs of teenage acne are unsightly and often, embarrassing. They may also lead to perma-nent scarring. Luckily, preteens and teens have many effective options for treating troubled skin.

What exactly is acne and what causes it? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is a skin condition that consists of "pimples, deeper lumps (cysts or nodules), and plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and even the upper arms." It usually starts at puberty and is caused by many factors, including:

> Overproduction of oil by enlarged oil glands in the skin;
> Blockage of the hair follicles that release oil;
> Growth of bacteria, called P.acnes, within the hair follicles.

Although some people believe that acne is caused by poor hygiene, the truth is washing one's face too often or scrubbing too aggressively can make acne outbreaks worse. That's why I and my colleagues at South Shore Dermatology Physicians (SSDP) recommend  cleaning acne-prone skin with warm water and a gentle face wash twice a day, in the morning and at night, and after perspiring heavily. Apply the cleanser with your fingertips and do not scrub. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry.

Mild acne outbreaks can be treated with an over-the-counter (o-t-c) product containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. These products are effective, but they may take 4-8 weeks to work and require continued use even after the initial outbreak clears. When choosing a moisturizer or cosmetics, look for non-comedogenic (oil free) products.

Help for persistent acne If your acne doesn't respond to o-t-c treatment or if the condition is severe, one of SSDP's board certified dermatologists can evaluate and treat the condition. There are many effective acne regimens available today including topical medications, antibiotics, and oral isotretinoin (Accutane). At SSDP, we find Blu-U� Light Therapy and chemical peels are increasingly popular for people with moderate and hard-to-control acne. FDA-approved Blu-U Light� kills acne bacteria in the skin and produces noticeable improvement after just a few treatments. Chemical peels may be used to unclog pores and reduce inflamed acne bumps as a supplementary treatment for stubborn acne. Your SSDP dermatologist works with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan best suited to his or her needs.

Sunlight and acne Some people believe that sun exposure makes acne better. In fact, there is no proven effect of sunlight on acne. In addition, some acne medications may increase the skin's sensitivity to ultraviolet light, resulting in greater risk of burning or skin rashes from sun exposure.

I recommend avoiding sun exposure and protecting your skin with a non-comedogenic sunscreen when you go outside to prevent acne outbreaks and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Learn more about teens and tanning in the SSDP blog at www.southshorederm.com
Explore SSDP's treatments for teen acne by visiting the Medical/Surgical Services and Cosmetic Services pages of the SSDP website.

Leera M. Briceno, MD, is a board certified dermatologist at South Shore Dermatology Physicians (SSDP). To schedule your next appointment at SSDP, phone 508.535.3376 or email us from the Contact page on the SSDP website.