- Topical antibacterial medications - These prescription medications include topical antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide.
- Topical retinoids - Retinoids regulate skin cell turnover, to clean out clogged pores and prevent the formation of a microcomedone, which can attract acne-causing bacteria.
- Oral medications - Examples of oral medications include oral antibiotics, anti-androgen medications, oral contraceptive pills, and isotretinoin.
- Laser and light-based therapies - These in-office treatments can clean out the pores and kill acne-causing bacteria quickly. Examples of these therapies include Blue Light Therapy, Photodynamic Therapy, and the Isolaz Laser.
- In-office treatments - These treatments, which include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and medical extractions, help to prevent acne and improve the appearance of marks from old acne lesions.
- Monthly fee based on the needs of your skin
- A personal acne coach that you will be able to contact at your convenience with questions or for prescription refills
- Guaranteed same day appointments
- Home delivery of prescription medications
- Greatly reduced prices on acne and acne scar treatments at the Clear Clinic
- Cortisone shots: A tiny injection of a medication similar to cortisone is place directly into the pimple. The anti-inflammatory effect of this medication flattens out the pimple within 24-48 hours.
- Photodynamic Therapy: This light-based treatment kills the p. acnes bacteria on the skin, which can otherwise lead to the development of acne.
- Isolaz acne treatment: The Isolaz treatment utilizes two mechanisms simultaneously; a gentle vacuum opens the pore and cleans out oil and debris, while a broad-spectrum light kills the p. acnes bacteria inside the pores.
- Chemical peel: Chemical peels can address both acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the dark spots left behind from old acne lesions.)
- Benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics are still mainstays of topical acne treatments. Older antibiotics, like erythromycin, are now facing bacterial resistance and losing efficacy; clindamycin is more commonly used to fight acne in 2013. Dr. Schweiger's favorite topical antibiotic formulation combines clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide, for the most effective antibacterial effect. Use these medications with a gentle moisturizer to prevent dryness.
- LED Light Therapy and Photodynamic Therapy are both effective in-office treatments for battling acne. This is a great options for patients who want faster results or patients who have tried many prescription medications without improvement.
- The Isolaz laser for acne simultaneously cleans out the pores and uses a broad-spectrum light to kill acne-causing bacteria. A series of treatments helps to treat active acne and prevent future acne.
- Chitosan, an ingredient derived from shellfish, may play a role in killing the acne-causing p. acnes bacteria. A recent study showed that benzoyl peroxide was more effective when combined with chitosan, than when used on its own to treat acne. More research is needed before this ingredient is seen in prescription medications.
- Bacteriophages are viruses, which someday may be able to be used to kill p. acnes bacteria on the skin. Like chitosan, more research is necessary before this becomes a real acne treatment.
- Cleanse before bed - even if you only have time to use a cleansing wipe, it is important to remove oil and grime from the day before going to sleep.
- Change your pillowcase - hair products and oil from past nights' sleep can accumulate on your pillowcase and clog up your pores.
- Don't touch your skin - dirt and oil from your hands can transfer onto your face.
- Pay attention to hair care - if you start to break out after using a new hair product, consider switching it to something else. Hair products can clog the pores on your skin and cause acne.
- Visit a dermatologist - if you're experiencing acne, do not wait to visit a dermatologist until it gets serious. Even mild acne can be quickly treated with prescription medications.
- Manage your stress - increased stress causes hormones to be released into your system, which can lead to the development of acne.
- No bathroom surgery - popping pimples in front of your bathroom mirror leads to increased inflammation on the skin, which can keep the pimple around longer and may result in more acne scars.
- Wear sunscreen - even people with oily skin need to wear a sunscreen during the daytime. Acne medications and treatments can make your skin sun sensitive. It is important to protect it against damage from the sun. Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection, that is labeled non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic.
- Clean your cell phone - Oil from your skin deposits on your cell phone all day long; it is important to keep this oil from returning to your skin to clog your pores.
- Consider a cleansing brush - Cleansing brushes, such as the Clarisonic, remove 6 times more dirt from the skin than traditional cleansing methods. Keep your pores clean and improve the texture of your skin with daily use of a cleansing brush.
Here is our quick guide to classifying your acne scars:
Ice Pick Scars: Ice pick scars are very deep scars, with sharp borders. They look almost as if they have been poked into the skin with an ice pick.
Boxcar Scars: Boxcar acne scars have a sharp border, but they are much wider than ice pick acne scars. They appear as round 'pits' on the surface of the skin.
Rolling Scars: Rolling acne scars do not have sharp borders, they appear as indented 'wavy' patches of the skin.
Hypertrophic Scars: Hypertrophic acne scars are not indented at all, they are actually firm bumps raised above the surface of the skin. This type of acne scarring is most commonly found on the chest and back.
Discoloration: While not truly an 'acne scar', discoloration can appear just as dramatically on the skin as acne scarring. There are two main types of discoloration after acne, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and post-inflammatory erythema (reddish spots.) Both of these types of acne marks can be addressed with topical medications, chemical peels, and in-office laser treatments.
Click here to learn more about classifying your acne scars.
- Topical acne medications: Most topical medications should be applied first, directly onto clean, dry skin. This allows the medications to be absorbed into the skin and to work in the most effective manner possible. The exception to this rule is with retinoids, which can sometimes be applied after moisturizer is applied, in order to prevent the development of dryness and irritation on the skin.
- Moisturizer: Moisturizers should be applied after the application of acne medications. The use of a moisturizer often allows the acne medications to better penetrate the skin, and prevents medications from drying out your skin.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen should be applied after both acne medications and moisturizer. It is important to apply a moisturizer with broad spectrum protection (which means protecting against both UVA and UVB rays) and an SPF of 30 of higher.
- Visit your dermatologist for a cortisone injection. This tiny anti-inflammatory shot can flatten out pimples within 24-48 hours. At Clear Clinic, we leave openings for last minute cortisone shots every day.
- Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are both available in OTC formulations, and can be applied twice a day to pimples as they come up. These medications help to kill acne-causing bacteria and clear out clogged pores respectively, and are easily found at any drugstore.
There are a few methods used to treat keloid acne scars. Depending on the location and appearance of the acne scar, we may recommend a series of cortisone injections or a laser resurfacing treatment. Dr. Schweiger explains that, "It is common for keloidal scars to be present in the same area as pitted acne scars and pigment changes from acne. For this reason, we often recommend treatment with the Fractional CO2 laser, which addresses all of these issues. The laser works by stimulating healthy collagen production to replace the scarred skin."
Cortisone injections can also be used to treat keloidal acne scars, particularly when the scars are very thick and firm, and only a few of them are present. This situation often occurs with keloidal scars on the chest and back. A short series of cortisone injections is usually sufficient to flatten out the keloidal scar, though the redness of the scar can remain. The best treatments for keloidal scars include cortisone injections and fractional CO2 laser resurfacing, your dermatologist will recommend which of these treatments is most appropriate for your scars.