Many people have heard that there is a simple way to get rid of a pimple quickly, called a cortisone shot. However, not everyone is familiar with what a cortisone shot actually is! So, what is a cortisone shot? Dr. Schweiger explains that, "A cortisone shot is a short treatment performed in a dermatologist's office. A tiny, diluted steroid medication, similar to cortisone, is injected directly into the pimple. This steroid medication is anti-inflammatory, so the result is the inflammation is decreased within 24-48 hours. Since inflammation of the skin is one of the factors leading to the pimple in the first place, the result is that the pimple is flattened within 24-48 hours. There is no down-time after a cortisone injection, the pimple simply flattens out."
At the Clear Clinic, we leave same-day appointments available for our patients who need cortisone injections. The tiny injection feels like a small pinch and there is no 'downtime' after the treatment. Many patients stop by on their lunch hour, or on the way into the office. You may apply makeup immediately after the cortisone injection appointment, so no need to head straight home after your visit.
Visiting the Clear Clinic for a cortisone injection is the best way to get rid of a pimple quickly.
Click here to learn more about cortisone shots and why your pimple needs it.
According to NYC acne expert Dr. Eric Schweiger, there are a few reasons why we tend to break out in the same spot over and over. He notes that, "Different areas of your face and body develop acne for different reasons. For example, some people find that they only break out on their forehead, which may be a result of having bangs that hang over their forehead or wearing a helmet during sports."
Here are a few reasons for why we tend to break out in the same spot repeatedly:
As Dr. Schweiger mentioned previously, having bangs that cover your forehead can deposit excess oil onto the skin, which clogs up your pores. It is important for people with bangs to wash with a salicylic acid cleanser, to clean out their pores, and to pin their bangs back off of their face while exercising.
Acne mechanica is a condition that results in the development of acne from rubbing. This can result from rubbing of exercise clothes on the back or a football helmet on the forehead and chin.
Hormonal acne, often seen in 20-40 year old women, typically presents along the chin and jawline. Oral contraceptive pills and an oral anti-androgen medication may be helpful in treating this type of acne.
Popping pimples can result in the formation of future acne at the exact same site. When you pick at your skin, it causes inflammation of the skin, which can attract the acne-causing bacteria to congregate in this area and cause future breakouts.
You made it all of the way through high school without a single pimple; so, why are you experiencing acne breakouts as an adult? Adult acne is a common condition, and can present for the first time at nearly any age. It is important to visit your dermatologist for treatment of adult acne, as it can result in scarring if left untreated. Additionally, adult skin may be less oily than teenage skin, so it is important to visit an acne expert who is experienced in treating adult acne.
Acne is a multifactorial condition, meaning that it is caused by a combination of multiple factors, which results in the development of acne. The main causes of acne are excess sebum (oil) production, acne-causing p. acnes bacteria, and irregular shedding of dead skin cells in the follicles. Dr. Schweiger explains that, "Adult acne is often caused by hormonal fluctuations. Increased androgen hormone activity can causes increased sebaceous gland activity, which results in increased sebum in the follicles. This excess sebum attracts the p. acnes bacteria, and inflammatory acne lesions can develop."
Treatment of adult acne often includes a combination of prescription medications and in-office therapy. In-office therapies for adult acne include the Isolaz acne treatment, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), and Red and Blue Light Therapy. These treatments are very effective for the treatment of adult acne and often work more quickly than prescription medications.
Prescription treatments for adult acne include topical retinoids (which are also anti-aging!), oral antibiotics, and oral anti-androgen medications.
Click here to learn more about adult acne causes and treatments.
If we breakout during the summer months because of excess sweating and heat, then why do we get acne in the winter? Why does acne sometimes worsen during the months when we are neither sweating or hot? Dr. Schweiger explains that, "Every patient that we meet with is different, but we often find that our patients do not stick with their normal skin care regimen during the winter months. The result is worsening acne breakouts, in addition to dull-looking skin."
After speaking to many of our patients at the Clear Clinic, we have realized that during the frigid winter months, its difficult to stick with your normal skin care routine. After returning home from a cold evening, many people prefer to avoid washing their face with potentially cold water, and simple put on their coziest pajamas and get in bed. The result is a buildup of sebum (oil) and grime from the environment that becomes trapped in the follicles, which in turn can attract acne-causing bacteria.
Another winter skin care 'no-no' that we see is the urge to over-moisturize dry skin during the colder months. It is important to find a great moisturizer that is appropriate for acne prone skin. If you use your acne medications properly (usually only a pea-size amount is necessary to treat the entire face!) and moisturize regularly with an appropriate lotion, there is no need to slather on an acne-causing greasy cream. However, when skin gets dry it can be tempting to pile on layers of your thickest moisturizing cream. The truth is that not all of these creams have been tested to be non-comedogenic, and many of them can actually contribute to the development of acne.
Click here to read more about acne during the winter months.
We often recommend that our patients at the Clear Clinic undergo a session of medical extractions with a chemical peel. Dr. Schweiger explains that, "Medical extractions alone are an excellent way to clean out comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and help to clear acne more quickly. However, when combined with a chemical peel, medical extractions are an even more effective treatment against acne."
Chemical peels are applied to your skin in order to deliver an ingredient directly into your skin and often promote peeling of the skin. Depending on the type of peel being performed, this process can have many different uses. When using chemical peels for acne, the peeling agents help to unclog blocked follicles that may otherwise turn into acne lesions.
Medical extractions are an important part of the acne treatment process. During medical extractions, a medical esthetician will steam your skin to open up your pores, and then extract any clogged pores, comedones, and inflammatory acne lesions on the skin. This process works well when performed immediately before a chemical peel, because the chemical peel helps to further clean excess sebum and debris from the follicles of your skin, which results in clearance of active acne lesions and the prevention of future acne lesions from forming.
Chemical peels that are commonly used, in conjunction with medical extractions, for the treatment of acne include salicylic acid peels, glycolic acid peels, and Jessner peels. Depending on the individual needs of your skin, we will help you to determine which chemical peel is most beneficial for your skin.
Click here to learn more about chemical peels for acne.
Blue Light therapy and Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) are both effective therapies for the treatment of acne. However, they are often confused with each other - and for good reason! Blue Light therapy and PDT both use a blue LED light as a major part of the treatment process. So what is the difference between blue light therapy and PDT?
Dr. Schweiger explains that, "Many of our patients ask us 'how is blue light different than PDT?' Once we understand how each treatment works, it helps our patients to understand the difference between the two treatments, and why we often recommend a series of treatments including both blue light therapy and PDT."
Blue Light therapy utilizes a blue LED light, which is focused directly on the skin for a set amount of time. Blue LED light is proven to be antibacterial and to reduce the acne-causing p. acnes bacteria on the skin. Blue light therapy is sometimes combined with red light therapy, with decreases inflammation on the skin.
Photodynamic Therapy, or PDT, uses blue LED light in a different way. A light-sensitizing medication, called aminolevulinic acid, is applied to the skin and allowed to absorb into the follicles. The blue LED light is then used to activate the medication. This process not only kills the acne-causing bacteria, but it decreases excess sebum (oil) production on the skin. PDT is one of the few acne treatments that can actually decrease the activity of the sebaceous glands (the oil producing glands.)
Click here to learn more about in-office treatments, such as PDT and Blue Light therapy, for acne.
Over the past few years, researchers have shown that diet does indeed play a role in the formation of acne. This notion was previously unproven and patients were often on their own when trying to determine which foods correlated with their acne flares.
A recent study, performed in Italy, was published in the December 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. The study showed that consumption of dairy products, particularly skim milk, had a strong correlation to the development of acne. Other recent studies have shown that foods with a high-glycemic index may also contribute to the formation of acne.
Dr. Schweiger notes that, "What is interested about the recent Italian study is that it suggests some foods that are protective against acne. They found that regular consumption of fish can actually protect against acne to some degree. Additionally, males with a lower body mass index were less likely to have acne than women."
While diet is proving to be a factor in the development of acne, it is still important to treat your acne in other ways. Dietary changes alone may not deliver fast improvement of acne, which may cause permanent scarring when not treated promptly. Your dermatologist will discuss the best ways to treat your acne, while making helpful suggestions for incorporating a healthy 'anti-acne' diet into your skin care regimen.
Click here to read more about the influence of diet on the development of acne.
Pregnancy and acne can often go hand in hand. Particularly during your first trimester, as your hormones are rapidly changing, new acne lesions can sprout up. Dr. Schweiger notes that, "During pregnancy, it is very important to treat your acne with the help of a dermatologist. It is not safe to try over-the-counter treatments for your acne, as many of them have not been proven to be safe for use during pregnancy. Your dermatologist can recommend prescription medications that have been studied for use during pregnancy, and in-office treatments that will not cause any harm to your baby."
Here are the basics to keep in mind when facing acne during pregnancy:
Speak with your dermatologist - even over-the-counter acne treatments can be unsafe for using during pregnancy
Practice good skin care - wash your face in the morning and the evening with a cleanser formulated for acne-prone skin. We often recommend that our mothers-to-be use the Clarisonic Cleansing Brush with their cleansers, in order to deeply clean out clogged pores and prevent acne.
Ask your dermatologist about treatments that are safe during pregnancy. We like the Isolaz acne treatment and Blue/Red LED light therapy for our patients who are expecting. Both treatments kill the acne-causing bacteria, without using medications that aren't safe for the baby.
Consider extractions for clogged pores. A medical facial with extractions will help to clean out clogged pores and get rid of blackheads and whiteheads that occur during pregnancy.
How can the red marks left behind after adult acne be removed?
Post-inflammatory erythema, or the red marks left behind after acne, can be treated with the KTP laser. Two or three treatments with the KTP laser are usually sufficient for the removal of post-inflammatory erythema.
Are acne treatments anti-aging?
One of the benefits of using a topical retinoid medication to treat acne is that it also helps the skin retain a youthful look. Topical retinoids regulate skin cell turnover while helping remove the acne-causing microcomedone from the follicle. Simultaneously, the same medication is increasing collagen production in your skin, which leads to smoother skin and fewer fine lines in the future. Retinoids are an important part of many acne regimens. Patients receive the anti-aging benefit of the medications at the same time. When combined with a great sunscreen and moisturizer, retinoids provide a fantastic anti-aging regimen with no extra effort.
Does adult acne scar?
Adult acne, particularly inflammatory acne, can lead to the development of pitted acne scars.
How can acne scars be prevented?
It is important for even mild acne to be treated promptly by a dermatologist. Starting an acne regimen early can eliminate the acne lesions before they lead to scarring. It is also helpful to avoid picking at acne and popping acne at home, as this type of manipulation may increase the likelihood of scarring.
What is the best treatment for scars left behind after adult acne?
Laser resurfacing treatments, such as the Fraxel and Fractional CO2 Laser, are the most effective treatments for reducing pitted acne scars. These lasers poke microscopic columns in the skin’s surface, which stimulates the production of healthy collagen to fill in the pitted scars. Other treatment options include chemical peels and microdermabrasion for milder scarring.
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