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Acne in Marin & San Francisco, CA

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About Acne

The term acne refers to the blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. Seventeen million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While it affects mostly teenagers, and almost all teenagers have some form of acne, adults of any age can also have it. Acne is not life-threatening, but it can cause physical disfigurement (scarring) and emotional distress. To bring the skin back to a healthy, glowing appearance, board-certified dermatologist Tracy Evans can offer numerous treatment options, ranging from customized daily skin care regimens to medications and laser treatments. Schedule a consultation at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco & Marin & Marin with Dr. Evans or one of our board-certified dermatological physician assistants. 


In our skin, we have sebaceous glands that are attached to hair follicles (or pores) on the face, neck, back, and chest. They produce an oily substance called sebum, which normally reaches the skin's surface through the opening of the follicle. When follicles become plugged, the sebum cannot reach the surface of the skin. This blocked sebum promotes the growth of bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes) beneath the skin, which in turn produce chemicals and enzymes that attract white blood cells, causing inflammation. Eventually, the follicle wall breaks down, and the sebum, skin cells, and bacteria erupt to form lesions or pimples. These are the visible effects of acne. A "flare-up" of acne can occur for a number of different reasons, including hormonal fluctuations associated with puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. In addition, certain medications and drugs (such as the birth control pill) can cause acne, as well as stress and a poor diet. 


Acne symptoms vary in conjunction with the type of acne you have and its severity. Blemishes are a common, obvious symptom of acne and come in many different forms, such as blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, pustules, papules, and nodules. Each type of blemish will need to be treated based on its level of severity. Studies have shown that acne can also create emotional symptoms, like low self-esteem and depression. Other symptoms associated with acne are dark spots on the skin and permanent scars.

Treatment Options

Important scientific studies have shown that store-bought drugs are not able to significantly address the causes or symptoms of acne. At Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco & Marin & Marin, we are able to provide several types of acne therapy. For less severe cases of acne, we may prescribe topical creams that contain retinoids, salicylic acid, sulfur, or benzoyl peroxide. Additionally, there are oral antibiotics, such as tetracycline, minocycline, or doxycycline, which are helpful for many patients. For more aggressive or severe acne, our treatment options include: 

  • Laser resurfacing
  • Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion
  • Dermal fillers and fat transfer (to reduce scarring)
  • Subcision for rolling and boxcar scars
  • Punch excision surgery for "ice pick" or pitted scarring

The treatment for acne varies, depending on the type and severity of your blemishes, your skin type, and your age and lifestyle. On average, our patients see results in 6 – 8 weeks. It is important to note that individual results do vary on a case-by-case basis.

Clear Your Complexion

If you are frustrated with your acne, we encourage you to call Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco & Marin today. You do not have to continue covering your acne with makeup or enduring the physical pain, embarrassment, and emotional affliction that can develop from this condition. During your consultation at our San Francisco, CA location, we will provide a thorough skin analysis and create a tailored treatment plan to help clear up your complexion as quickly as possible.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.