How To Manage Acne Effectively
Many people—young and old, male and female—suffer from acne. Breakouts range from mild inflammatory bumps and papules, to more severe inflammation with deep, red, protuberant cysts. If you have acne, there are specific things you can do to minimize inflammation and begin to clear up your skin.
Manage Acne with the Basics
- Product: Commonly used over-the-counter products are frequently ineffective, and tend to dry out the skin, causing rebound oil production rather than cure the underlying source of the breakout. Medically directed skincare provides a proven advantage over these over-the-counter options because they get deeper into the skin. These products are purchased with a medical license and have a higher percentage of active ingredient to treat the area of concern.
- Cleansing: For all skin types, Clarisonic has an at-home ultrasonic cleansing brush which helps with deep pore cleansing. For dry or sensitive skin, cleanse with an mild cleanser, followed by a beta-hydroxy (salicylic acid) preparation in the form of a toner or lotion, and moisturize with a vitamin B hydration lotion. Confused? We carry each of these products in our office and are happy to answer any questions you might have about them. For very oily skin, the amount of acid in your wash can be increased. If your breakouts are isolated to just the forehead or shoulders, it may be a reaction to a hair product. It may also be pityrosporum, which responds to anti-fungal treatment.
- Makeup: If you have acne, it’s best to avoid wearing makeup if you can. But if you must, choose a makeup with a mineral base, such as zinc and magnesium, which have a calming effect on the skin. When you buy makeup, ask if it’s preservative-free, so that it soothes your skin and doesn’t clog your pores.
Office Acne Treatments
- Skin Rejuvenation: If acne is not resolving with the above measures, a combination of Silk Peels and chemical peels are the next step. Both treatments help your product get deeper into the skin by removing the dull and dead cells on the surface and uncovering the skin follicles. These two treatments can be done together for a more immediate response, but the resulting dryness and peeling will be more noticeable. Tip: Always remember when treating acne that it may get worse before it gets better. Two days after a chemical peel, the skin will flake and acne can flare for about two weeks. A skin cycle is 28 days, so you won’t see the full effect of any treatment for about one month. Click here to watch videos about these acne treatments.
- Light Therapy: If you have more severe acne inflammation, or significant cyclical breakouts, you can try light-based therapies. There are two types of light therapy that we offer at Timeless Skin Solutions. Often, I suggest a series of blue light treatments that absorb a by-product of the bacteria in the skin. In our office, we call this treatment the Curelight. Treatment is extremely comfortable and has been compared to lying on the beach. Another option is Photodynamic Therapy. Following this treatment, the skin will redden, peel and flake for about 3-7 days. Acne may flare after the first treatment, but a series of 3 treatments usually results in permanent changes to the skin. This treatment is also effective for cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions.
Pharmaceuticals for Acne
- Prescriptions: Prescription topical or oral antibiotics can be effective with used in conjunction with topical treatments. Commonly used antibiotics include clindamycin, erythromycin, and minocycline. Azaleic acid also has antibacterial activity and can improve hyperpigmentation that sometimes occurs with acne. Topical retinoids, such as Retin-A™ and Differen™ are also often prescribed. Oral contraceptives and Spironolactone can regulate hormone-related breakouts. Note: Accutane™ is reserved only for the most severe cases of acne that haven’t responded to other therapies. This is a drug with potentially serious side effects, and all the facts should be considered before initiation of this regimen.
I know that having acne can be frustrating. By learning to manage your acne, the clear skin you dream of can be reached. It’s important to be patient and keep up with your regimen to see results.