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Why do I Still Get Acne and What Can I do About it?

Although most people experience acne during puberty, many of us must deal with this issue throughout our lives. Dr. Willis and our knowledgeable, compassionate team at North Carolina’s Open Water Medical can show you the best options to curb acne at any age.

What causes acne?

Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that produces spots and pus-filled pimples on the face, back, shoulders, and elsewhere on your skin. More than 50 million Americans each year face this skin disease, which involves the stimulation of oil glands at the base of the hair follicles. Although male hormones produced by the adrenal glands promote acne, it occurs in both males and females. Its severity depends upon such risk factors as:

What are the various forms of acne? 

Acne comes in many shapes, sizes, and levels of severity, including:

Adult versus teenage acne

While acne can be even more frustrating for an adult than for a teen, their causes are quite similar, including:

Excessive sebum. Our glands produce an oily liquid called sebum, which transports dead skin cells from the hair follicles to the surface of our skin. If these follicles become blocked, oil pools beneath the skin, and bacteria promote swelling. As this area breaks down, pimples form. 

Abundance of Propionibacteria. Certain bacteria, known as Propionibacteria, live on the skin, contributing to acne. Fortunately, another strain of these bacteria exists that actually helps keep skin clear.

Hormonal changes. During puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause, excessive hormonal activity may trigger breakouts. This explains why more women than men tend to suffer from acne beyond the teen years. Various female-related hormonal conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, can also produce acne.

Treating adult acne

Treatments for acne may vary depending upon age and severity, especially since an adult’s skin tends to be less oily than a teenager’s. Our team at Open Water Medical evaluates your skin to decide which treatments will work best for you. These may incorporate:

In addition, we treat acne scars using the CynoSure® Icon™ laser, which breaks down scar tissue and stimulates healthy skin growth using rapid light pulses. We can also discuss your best at-home skin care, which may include changes to your cleansing routine, exfoliation, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Moisturizers, for instance, containing at least 10 percent aloe vera or witch hazel, boast soothing, anti-inflammatory properties that may calm acne. Never pop your acne pimples, or bleeding and scarring may occur. 


Our caring medical team at Open Water Medical teaches you the proper ways to manage acne during any stage of life. Simply book your appointment by phone at 252-728-5737 or through our online scheduler for our locations in Beaufort, Morehead City, and Zebulon, North Carolina. 

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