Acne Treated by Board Certified Dermatologists in Baltimore


Acne is a condition in which oil and dead skin cells clog skin pores, forming pimples. This video shows the different types of pimples and common treatments for them.

The doctors of Dermatology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, treat a wide variety of skin conditions. Our dermatologists are experienced in the care of acne and helping patients choose the best treatment options for the severity of their condition.

About the Condition

Acne is a common skin condition experienced by most people to some degree, but can vary widely in severity. Acne is primarily a hormonal condition that is common in teenagers, but can also affect adults.

Acne occurs when there is an excess of oil, known as sebum, produced by sebaceous glands of the face, chest, shoulders and back. As the excess oil exits the body, it can build up with dead skins cells, clogging hair follicles and creating an environment where bacteria can thrive.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Acne can form as several different types of lesions on the skin, commonly found on the face, chest, shoulders and back. The severity of your symptoms can vary greatly and may include the following:

  • Comedones – Clogged hair follicles, known as comedones, that are open at the skin surface are commonly referred to as blackheads because of the dark appearance of the plugs in the hair follicles. When comedones are closed they become slightly raised, skin-colored bumps, known as whiteheads.
  • Papules – Papules are small raised bumps that signal inflammation or infection in the hair follicles. Papules may be red and tender.
  • Pustules – Commonly referred to as pimples, pustules are red, tender bumps with white pus at their tips.
  • Nodules – Nodules are large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin formed by the buildup of secretions deep within hair follicles.
  • Cysts – Cysts are painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin that can cause scarring.
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Treatment for acne typically begins with topical and oral medications. Over the counter medications, such as benzoyl peroxide, target surface bacteria that cause acne, while others may work to reduce inflammation. Prescription medications and antibiotics may aim to limit oil production and/or increase cell turnover. A combination of medications may be necessary to treat mild acne.

To treat severe cases of acne, dermatologists at Mercy Medical Center may utilize medication known as isotretinoin, also known as accutane. This type of treatment is very effective in treating deep cysts and other types of severe acne that have not responded to other medications. While isotretinoin has proven to be effective, it may cause side effects that must be closely monitored by your dermatologist. The doctors of Dermatology at Mercy will help determine what medications are right for your treatment.