Dr. Eric Schweiger - acne treatment centers

Are Oils Actually Good for Acne Prone Skin?

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oils that clear acneIn a strange twist of beauty fate, it turns out that oils might be good for acne-prone skin after all. Skin oils are all the rage in the beauty world. Although it may seem that oils are a new trend, the therapeutic use of essential oils for protecting, hydrating and curing the skin has been around since ancient Greek times. With so many consumers wanting to adapt a more natural skincare regimen, it makes perfect sense that skin care oils are everywhere.

If you have acne-prone skin, you’ve most likely been taught to avoid any skincare product containing oils like it has the plague. But it might be time to re-teach yourself that not oils are created equal and some are actually beneficial to oily, acne-prone skin. Studies have found that tea tree oil, which has natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, to be as effective at treating acne as benzoyl peroxide. Peppermint oil is another oil that is known for treating oily skin types, as it helps to keep oil production in check. If you want to contract your pores and remove oil from your skin, then lemongrass oil is another ingredient to look out for. Lavender oil is known for reducing redness and soothing the skin. Use bergamot oil as a spot treatment and it will help dry up active acne blemishes.

Even though these essential oils may have some benefits for oily, acne-prone skin, you do want to avoid proven pore-clogging oils, such as coconut oil, cottonseed oil and soybean oil. As with any new ingredient you’re using on your skin, tread lightly and go with a little dose before diving into it. And if you’re trying to clear your skin, then we suggest incorporating proven acne-fighting ingredients, including salicylic acid, sulfur and benzoyl peroxide into your regimen.

Laser and Light Treatments for Adult Acne

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Woman With AcneThe adult years are supposed to be a time of clear, beautiful skin, right? Well think again. More and more adults are spending their 30s and 40s battling acne and are dealing with the frustration and embarrassment. While teenagers with acne typically have blocked oil glands and an overproduction of sebum to blame for their breakouts, adults can thank their hormones or hypersensitivity for their bumps. Adult acne can really get in the way of a job search or for single adults, dating. Who wants to show up on a first date with a huge pimple on their cheek?

The good news is that there are effective treatments for the older population of people dealing with acne breakouts. While benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are two very common–and effective–ingredients for teenage acne, they tend to be a bit harsh for adult skin. Some great topical treatments are green tea, retinol and sulfur to treat adult acne.When using retinol, the skin tends to become very sensitive and sometimes irritated. For this reason, we suggest “sandwiching” your retinol treatment in between applications of a moisturizer. This will help the skin tolerate the retinol.

As far as in-office adult acne treatments, they tend to differ from the treatments teenagers receive to treat their pimples. The best adult acne procedures include photodynamic therapy, blue light therapy and the Isolaz laser.  Many adults do not want to go on antibiotics to treat their acne, as they do not want to add any systemic treatments to their regimen, which may already include other types of medications or hormones. The key to treating acne in adulthood is preventing future acne scars, which can commonly occur if active acne is not treated properly. The good news for adults fighting acne is that it is very rare to breakout in your 50s. Something to look forward to!

New Guidelines for Acne Treatments in Children and Teens

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Elementary school class outsideTeenage Acne
As any teenager–or parent of a teenager–can attest, dealing with severe acne can be a very difficult and devastating process. When you have acne–whether it be moderate or severe, your self-esteem plummets and your overall outlook on life becomes dismal and depressing. A new report in Pediatrics, the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has just come out with a set of recommendations culled from pediatricians and dermatologists in regards to treating children and teenagers with acne.

Causes of Acne in Teens and Children
While acne is typically thought of as a teenage skin issue, children as young as babies can have pimples. In fact, 20% of newborns have acne. Acne breakouts are brought on by a multitude of factors, many of which are related to an influx of hormones. An acne lesion occurs when a hair follicle gets plugged up with oil and dead skin cells. The androgen hormone, which typically goes into overdrive during puberty, can be responsible for an overproduction of sebum, which leads to breakouts. Children as young as nine and ten are now presenting with acne breakouts, thanks to the trend of kids entering puberty at younger ages.

Acne Treatments for Pediatrics
“Currently, detailed acknowledged guidelines for the diagnosis and management of acne in pediatric patients are lacking,” state the authors of the new report. “Recognizing the need to address special issues regarding the diagnosis and treatment of acne in children of various ages, a panel of experts consisting of pediatric dermatologists, pediatricians, and dermatologists with expertise in acne was convened under the auspices of the American Acne and Rosacea Society. The expert panel was charged with developing recommendations for the management of pediatric acne and evidence-based treatment algorithms.”

Acne and Mental Health in Teens
Anyone who has seen an acne-afflicted teen fail to make eye contact or do poorly in school, understands the effects acne can have on the self-esteem. The article states: “Adolescents with substantial acne are reported to have high rates of mental health problems, affective isolation, social impairment, depression, and suicidal ideation. In the cases where the impact on the psychosocial health of the patient is particularly burdensome, effective treatment of acne may result in improvements in self-esteem, affect, shame, embarrassment, body image, social assertiveness, and self-confidence”

The New Acne Treatment Recommendations for Babies, Children and Teens
The May issue of Pediatrics contains the new recommendations and guidelines for treating acne in children of all ages. Their recommendations are to first treat acne with over the counter (OTC) treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. If the acne does not show enough improvement from those ingredients, they advise to move on to prescription treatments such as Retin-A and Differin. For severe acne, they recommend oral antibiotics and Accutane. The bottom line is that children and teens do not just have to live with acne, there are numerous treatment options that can help them obtain clear, acne-free skin.

 

 

 

Do Skin Powders Live Up To Their Acne-Fighting Promise?

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In the beauty world, face powders are the new black. Which may seem odd, since “powdering your nose” is something our great grandmothers did. But in today’s issue of The New York Times, beauty journalist Alix Strauss covers the latest and greatest powders that are promising to do a lot more than their powder predecessors. From powders that claim to clear up acne to those that say they will take years off the complexion, there’s a whole host of new wave powders to know about.

The new SkinClearing Mineral Powder from Neutrogena contains 0.5% salicylic acid to target acne breakouts. Neutrogena offers other color cosmetics with salicylic acid as well, including their SkinClearing Liquid Makeup and their SkinClearing Blemish Concealer. But is it really necessary to use makeup containing salicylic acid if you’re already fighting acne breakouts with other skincare ingredients? “The most important thing to make sure of, in terms of makeup, is that it is oil-free and non-comedogenic,” says Clear Clinic founding dermatologist Dr. Eric Schweiger. “As long as you are treating your acne with skincare containing proven acne-fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or sulfur, there is no real need to use makeup containing these ingredients.”

As far as acne-fighting ingredients go, more is not always good. When you’re using too many products containing actives such as salicylic acid, you could actually be doing more harm than good. While salicylic acid is very effective in treating acne, it also has the tendency to irritate your skin. If you are going to use color cosmetic products containing these actives, it’s a good idea to apply a gentle moisturizer before hand. A technique Dr. Schweiger refers to as “sandwiching.” The bottom line is not to over-treat your skin and be weary of makeup that claims to clear up your complexion, leave that task to the right combination of prescription medicine, in-office procedures and over the counter treatments.

 

Treatment for Chest Acne

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Dealing with Chest AcneChest acne may not be discussed as much as acne on the back or acne on the face, but it is quite common.  Both men and women experience chest acne, usually during their adult years.  Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Chest acne does not always respond well to over-the-counter acne treatments.  For this reason, we recommend visiting your dermatologist as soon as you begin to notice chest acne.  Acne on the chest can develop at any time during life, but it is most commonly seen during the later teenage years and early adult years.”


The best treatments for chest acne includes both prescription medications and in-office treatments, including laser and light-based therapy.  Depending on the severity of chest acne, your dermatologist may prescribe your oral medications, in addition to topical formulations.  At-home treatments, such as the Clarisonic brush, can also be helpful when treating chest acne.  The Clarisonic brush removes excess oil and debris from the pores of the chest much more effectively than regular cleansing.


In-office treatments, such as the Isolaz acne laser and Photodynamic Therapy, can help to deliver a more effective treatment for chest acne.  These treatments not only kill the acne-causing bacteria, but also clean out the pores and decrease excessive oil production from the sebaceous glands.  Laser acne treatments tend to work more quickly than prescription treatments alone.


Click here to read more about acne on the body.

Acne vs. Rosacea

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Acne and rosacea may be similar looking, but the fact is they are two skin conditions that often require different kinds of treatment. Many confuse inflammatory acne for rosacea since they share similar characteristics.  For rosacea, the most common treatments are topical medications such as azeleic acid (Finacea), metronidazole (Metrogel), and sodium sulfacetamide/sulfur combination facial cleansers. Rosacea can also be treated with laser therapy to decrease the appearance of generalized redness and capillaries on the skin from rosacea. One way to determine if you have rosacea is by monitoring how your skin reacts when you consume spicy foods or alcohol as they are the most common triggers.

Your acne treatment options.

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Many suffering from acne aren’t aware of the wide variety of treatment options. If you’re just looking to remove a big pimple before a big date, a simple cortisone injection will be your best bet. If you’re a person who suffers from severe acne breakouts on a regular basis, it might be best to consult with your doctor about a prescription cream and laser treatment regime. Regardless, there are always quick and effective acne treatment options available.

If you are unable to visit your dermatologist’s office on the day of a surprise acne flare, you may be able to use some of your prescription medications as spot treatments.  Ask your dermatologist to tell you if any of your topical medications can be used more than once daily to stubborn spots and new breakouts.

Do I Need to Stop Using Acne Medicine While on Vacation?

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acne-medicine-while-on-vacationIt’s spring break time, so many people are wondering if they need to stop using acne medicine while on vacation.  Some acne medicine does make you more sun sensitive, so it is a good idea to discuss this topic with your dermatologist.  Most medicine can be continued during your beach vacation, as long as the proper sun protection measures are taken.

The most commonly used oral acne medications that may cause sun sensitivity are doxycycline and isotretinoin (Accutane.)  We recommend checking with your dermatologist regarding whether to continue these medicines while on vacation.  For most patients, it is very safe to do so, as long as proper sun protection is used.

Topical acne medications can also cause sun sensitivity.  The topical acne medication most likely to make your skin sensitive to the sun is one from the prescription retinoid family.  This includes tretinoin, Retin-A Micro, Tazorac, Atralin, Differin, Ziana, and Epiduo.  These medications remove excess sebum and dead skin cells from the pores, which is helpful for treating acne, but exposes the newer, healthier skin to the sun’s rays.  If sunscreen and other sun protective measures are used, most people can safely continue retinoid use during their vacation.

The best way to protect your skin from sun exposure, particularly while using acne medicine, is to avoid direct sun exposure.  This means wearing a hat to protect your face and staying in the shade during the midday hours.  Even if you avoid direct sun exposure, it is important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 during your vacation, and reapply every two hours or after going in the water.

Many Adult Acne Treatments Are Available

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If you’re an adult suffering from acne don’t drive yourself crazy. You’re not alone. Surprisingly, more adults suffer from acne than you would think. Luckily, there are many steps one can take to prevent breakouts and if one were to spontaneously occur, there are many treatment options available. Between over-the-counter remedies to high-tech laser procedures, there’s no need to feel hopeless and ashamed because of acne. Perhaps one day there will be a cure, but for now, be sure to stay up to date on preventative routines and effective new treatments for acne.

Prevent Dark Spots From Acne

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prevent-dark-spots-from-acneDark spots left behind from old acne can make it appear that blemishes still exist, long after acne has resolved.  Dark spots, called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, can occur on any skin color.  However, the most commonly develop on skin of color.  NYC acne expert Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is frustrating and can be tricky to treat on your own.  The best way to fight dark spots from acne is to prevent them from forming in the first place.  Ask your dermatologist about prescription retinoids, such as Tazorac, which have been shown to light post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation while simultaneously treating and preventing active acne from forming.”

Tazorac, and other prescription-strength retinoids, work by regulating skin cell turnover.  For the purpose of treating active acne, they help to keep pores clear of excess oil and debris that could otherwise attract acne-causing bacteria.  At the same time, they help to turn over the pigmented cells of the skin, which contribute to the appearance of dark spots from acne.

If dark spots do form from acne, there are treatments that effectively remove them from your skin.  At-home prescription medications (such as hydroquinone), chemical peels, and laser resurfacing treatments (such as the Fraxel laser) help to even out skin tone and remove dark spots from acne that have formed on the skin.

Click here to learn more about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

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