Acne occurs when a person’s pores become plugged. Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules), occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. Acne can cause stress, affect self-confidence, and when it is severe and untreated, may lead to permanent scarring. To avoid acne scars, early acne treatment is important.
As each person’s skin responds differently to medication and treatment, SkinSpeaks offers an arsenal of medical grade products and cosmetic dermatology procedures to help you find the best acne treatment for your skin type.
Prescription topical antibiotics, retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide in the form of creams, gels, or lotions help unblock the pores and reduce bacteria that cause acne. These products may cause some drying and peeling but are highly effective forms of acne treatment.
Chemical peels rapidly exfoliate the skin, allowing dead skin cells to shed more effectively. By keeping dead skin cells and excess oil from clogging the hair follicle, pore blockages (comedones) and pimples can be drastically reduced. Because the outer layer of the skin peels off after the treatment, it may also help to reduce acne scars. The effectiveness of chemical peels as a form of acne treatment seems to depend on the type of acne, the severity of the acne or scarring, and your skin type. Chemical peels generally work best on fair-skinned people as darker skin may be more prone to discoloration after the peel. If there’s a history of keloids or excessive scarring in your family, a chemical peel may not be the best acne treatment plan for you.
People with blackheads and other non-inflammatory blemishes often find regular facials help reduce the number of breakouts they experience. An acne facial is a deep-cleansing facial that generally incorporates a combination of thorough steaming, deep cleansing, extractions to remove pore-clogging sebum, and a healing mask and moisturizer. Salicylic and glycolic acids aimed at managing and thwarting acne flare-ups are often utilized. By extracting these impactions, the pores are cleared of excess oil and cellular debris, and as a result, blemishes are less likely to form. You can expect better results from this form of acne treatment if facials are performed regularly—every 4 to 6 weeks.
Kenalog (cortisone) injections can be performed to control an acne flare up. Injection into individual inflamed acne cysts will rapidly improve individual blemishes within 24-48 hours. Kenalog injections are available in our dermatology clinics if you have an outbreak at a sincerely inappropriate time and need to have your skin at its best in a hurry. See Same Day Dermatology appointments for more details!
Antibiotics, such as Tetracycline, Doxycyline, Minocycline, or Bactrim, may be taken orally for acne treatment. Medication is often prescribed for moderate or severe cases, especially when acne is seen on the back or chest.
Photodynamic therapy is used to treat resistant acne as well as older acne scars, leaving skin smoother. A topical photosensitizing agent called Levulan (aminolevulinic acid) is applied to the skin, then activated with specific wavelengths of light. The Levulan agent targets all acne glands and acne rosacea (redness) on the skin. This treatment decreases skin oiliness, and the appearance of pores is minimized. 3-4 treatments are recommended at 2-3 week intervals to obtain optimal results. Because PDT is a topical procedure, there are no systemic side effects.
The Fraxel Dual is the leading technology considered pigment solution for patients suffering from melasma, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and significant sun damage. Groundbreaking pigment eradication—reaching the depth of 1927nm, eliminates pigmentation. In addition, the Fraxel Dual Laser Treatment has a built-in cooling device that works simultaneously during skin care treatment to offer patients more comfort.
Spironolactone (an anti-androgen) medication is used to target hormonal-related acne in females. Androgens stimulate the production of oil which creates a favorable environment for the bacteria that causes acne to grow. By decreasing androgens, oil production is decreased which reduces acne breakouts.
Isotretinoin (formerly known as Accutane) is used for acne that does not respond well to other treatments. Patients require education on the side effects of isotretinoin, and monthly follow-up visits are necessary to monitor the side effects caused by this particular acne treatment. This drug can cause severe birth defects if taken during pregnancy.