Acne occurs when the 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 scarring, early acne treatment is important. Treatment takes time. SkinSpeaks: Advancements in Dermatology Spa M.D. has an arsenal of acne treatments because every patient’s skin responds differently. If your acne has not improved after 6 to 8 weeks, we may need to change your treatment.
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.
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 scarring. The effectiveness of chemical peels for acne 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 because darker skin may be more prone to discoloration after the peel. If there’s a history of keloids or excessive scarring in your family, you may not be a good candidate for a chemical peel.
People with blackheads and other non-inflammatory blemishes often find regular facials help reduce the amount of breakouts they experience. An acne facial is a deep-cleansing facial, which 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. Blemishes are less likely to form. Best results are achieved and maintained if acne facials are performed regularly—every 4 to 6 weeks.
Kenalog (cortisone) injections can be done to get an acne flare up under control quickly. Injection into individual inflamed acne cysts will rapidly improve individual blemishes within 24-48 hours. Kenalog injections are available in our clinics if you have an outbreak at a sincerely inappropriate time and need to have your skin at it’s best in a hurry.
Antibiotics, such as Tetracycline, Doxycyline, Minocycline, or Bactrim, may be taken orally. 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 and only technology considered a 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. Plus, the Fraxel Dual has a built in cooling device that works simultaneously during treatment to offer 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 and, as a result, improves acne.
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. Monthly follow-up visits are necessary to monitor side effects. This drug can cause severe birth defects if taken during pregnancy.