Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Acne forms when hair follicles become plugged with oil, dead skin cells and sometimes bacteria.

One common myth is that the best way to treat acne is to let it run its course. Contrary to popular belief, foods don’t have much effect on acne and it’s not just restricted to teens. Today, more and more women are developing acne in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.

Don’t pick or squeeze blemishes. This can cause infection or scarring. To eliminate zits, wash problem areas with a gentle cleanser and apply lotions that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

Acne scars are stubborn, and no single treatment is best for everyone. However, various procedures can improve your complexion. To determine what’s best for you, discuss the pros and cons of each procedure with your dermatologist. Here are a few to consider:

  • Laser treatments. 
In laser resurfacing, a laser beam destroys the outer layer of skin. As the wound heals, new skin forms. Less intense lasers cause less damage, but are also less effective.
  • Dermapen® 

This micro-needling procedure creates small micro-channels into the dermis layer of the skin. Following the treatment, the body begins to heal by creating new collagen and stimulating the elastin, which results in smoother skin.

  • Dermabrasion. 

This procedure involves removing the top layer of skin with a rapidly rotating brush. Surface scars may be completely removed, and deeper acne scars may appear less noticeable.

  • Chemical Peels. 

These are used to treat wrinkles, skin discoloration and scars — typically on the face. A chemical peel can be done alone or in combination with other cosmetic procedures.

  • Light Therapy. 

The redness and swelling that can occur with acne is caused by a type of bacteria that can be killed by exposing your skin to different types of light. Before the procedure your doctor might apply a medication to your skin to make it more sensitive to light.

  • Steroid Injections. 

Typically used as a temporary or occasional fix for stubborn cysts and nodules. After injections, the lumps flatten and allow the skin to clear. Steroids can come with side effects, however.

  • Surgery. 

In some cases, surgery to remove deeply indented acne scars is an option. A minor procedure, called punch excision, cuts out individual acne scars. Stitches or a skin graft repairs the hole left at the scar site.

For the best acne treatments, seek medical attention from a dermatologist.