If you spent your teen years battling blackheads, whiteheads, or painful red zits, you may have longed to reach adulthood -- when you could finally put skin problems behind you for good (at least until you began to develop wrinkles). But as you may have unfortunately discovered, aging out of your teens doesn't necessarily mean an improvement in your skin. For those who find themselves still dealing with embarrassing acne outbreaks well into their adult years, surgery may be a viable option to help permanently remove the debris holding your pores open or minimize the appearance of scars from past acne experiences. Read on to learn more about this procedure and how to know whether it's the best choice for you.
What is acne surgery?
While most acne can be treated using over-the-counter washes or lotions that remove debris and dry up excess oil (or prescription medications that change the chemistry of your skin to make it more resistant to blemish-causing bacteria ), in some cases you may need a more physical option. Having stubborn pimples surgically drained or excised can quickly remove them without the risk of scarring you'll run when trying to pick at them yourself, while removing multiple blackheads or whiteheads through a process known as comedo extraction can allow your pores to heal and close, preventing further debris buildup.
During an excision or comedo extraction, a surgeon will use a scalpel to create a precise incision around the problematic blemish or whitehead and then use sterile tools to remove any pus, dead skin cells, or other debris contained within. Comedo extraction of blackheads shouldn't require an incision as the debris will have formed a "cap" on the surface of your pore, but will take some careful maneuvering by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to avoid pushing any bacteria deeper into your skin.
These surgical procedures are minor and are usually performed on an outpatient basis with only local anesthesia, allowing you to go home and recover on your own after surgery. Your recovery time should be brief, and any discomfort during the first couple of days after your procedure can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.
When may this surgery be your best treatment option?
Because acne surgery is much more invasive than most other treatment options, it should generally be reserved for blemishes that continue to recur in the same places or don't respond to other treatments. If you've already tried over-the-counter medications and facial washes, you may want to consider microdermabrasion as a way to remove dead skin cells and unclog your pores before resorting to surgical excision.
However, if you're a woman of childbearing age and the only acne treatment that has ever provided you with much relief has been prescription acne medication, you may want to consider surgery instead. Many of the most popular acne medications on the market are contraindicated for use during pregnancy and carry serious warnings about potential birth defects when taken by women who later become pregnant -- on the other hand, the minor local anesthetic used to numb your skin for surgery should have no major impact on your ability to conceive and won't harm a developing fetus.
Acne surgery should also have a longer-lasting effect than acne medication, as this medicine's effects may wear off quickly once you lower your dose. For those who are still weighing their options, a brief consultation with a dermatologist who specializes in the treatment or excision of stubborn blemishes can help you get a better idea of the most likely outcomes you'll be able to expect when choosing to undergo acne surgery. For more information, contact a business such as Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists of Moreno Valley.