SkinCare in Wellesley, MA

Most patients will deal with acne at some stage of life, especially during the teenage years. While often manageable, there are many different types of acne with a variety of causes, making it confusing to treat effectively at-home. Dr. Rashel Goodkin is a Harvard-educated dermatologist who has a high-level understanding of skin conditions including acne, and has helped countless patients treat their acne, prevent future breakouts, avoid scarring, and restore their confidence.

What is Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition in which there is inflammation and bacteria around oil glands and hair follicles producing excess dead skin and oil. There are several types of acne, including comedonal (whiteheads, blackheads) and inflammatory (pimples, papules, nodules, and cystic acne lesions).

Whiteheads are closed plugged pores. Blackheads are open plugged pores, which darken as the material within the pore is exposed to oxygen. Treatment for whiteheads or blackheads is often similar.

Papules are small red bumps on the skin which may be tender. A pimple, or pustule, forms when a papule develops pus at the tip.

Nodules are lumps or bumps under the skin which tend to be large, painful, and solid.

Finally, cystic acne or cystic lesions are similar to nodules, but contain pus.

Sometimes, acne is confused with conditions such as rosacea or perioral dermatitis, so seeing a dermatologist is often important to treat the skin condition effectively. Dr. Goodkin has years of experience in diagnosing and treating acne, and can recognize a condition that mimics acne but requires a different treatment plan.

Who Should See a Dermatologist for Acne?

Most people will face acne at some point in their life, and often, mild acne is easily treatable with drugstore products or a simple skincare routine. However, persistent or severe acne may require a trip to the dermatologist to effectively treat. If you face acne that is not responsive to over-the-counter treatments such as creams containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, seeing an experienced dermatologist such as Dr. Goodkin can help you understand how to effectively treat your acne. Another sign it’s time to see a dermatologist is when acne begins to affect other areas of your life, such as being self-conscious or avoiding social situations.

Finally, it’s best to seek treatment from a dermatologist if your acne is painful or leaves scars, even if you do not pick or pop nodules. This can be a sign of cystic acne, which is difficult to treat without the help of a professional. Dr. Goodkin can evaluate your skin and determine an effective treatment plan that relieves painful cystic acne.

How Do Dermatologists Treat Acne?

Dr. Goodkin will first diagnose your acne to determine what type of acne you have and how it will best be treated. She will also take note of where the acne appears, what at-home or professional treatments you have already tried, how long the breakouts have been present, and other factors.

In many cases, Dr. Goodkin will prescribe a topical medication for acne. These may include retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, salicylic acid, antibiotics, or other medications.

In other cases, primarily for patients facing acne nodules or cystic acne, Dr. Goodkin may prescribe oral medication. This can include hormonal therapy for women or Isotretinoin, also known as Accutate. Antibiotics may also be recommended for these patients.

Other professional therapies may be used to complement these treatments. Options include corticosteroid injection, especially for painful or more severe breakouts.

Finally, Dr. Goodkin will advise an effective skincare routine for you to follow at home that’s suited to your unique skin type and needs. She may also advise you to eat a healthy and balanced diet or change certain behaviors that can be contributing to your acne.  

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an acne treatment appointment with Dr. Goodkin, call 781.227.7977 or request your first appointment through our online form.