iPledge was introduced in March, 2006, as a distribution program for isotretinoin (Accutane.) The goal of iPledge is to prevent pregnancy in patients taking isotretinoin, therefore preventing fetal exposure to the teratogenic medication. While Accutane is a safe medication for most patients, it can cause birth defects in a developing fetus. For this reason, all female patients taking isotretinoin are required to log into the iPledge website each month and document two forms of contraception. In addition, prescribers must perform a pregnancy test each month for their female patients and document that it is negative prior to giving the isotretinoin prescription to their female patients. Male patients must also enroll in iPledge, though they are not required to follow many of the stringent guidelines of which women of childbearing potential must comply.
Dr. Schweiger tells us that, “Isotretinoin is an excellent medication; with proper oversight and compliance with iPledge, nearly all patients do very well with the medication. While there are potential side effects that we discuss with all of our isotretinoin patients, we rarely see any serious side effects. The iPledge system can be confusing at first, but most patients get the hang of it quickly.”
Covering up is a key element to feeling good about yourself while you are treating it. Here, Clear Clinic’s four steps to a perfect concealer application:
Step 1) Prime the skin with a good skin primer. This is a necessary step because you want the skin to be as even as possible. A pimple adds texture to the skin and can make it difficult to apply makeup on top of. A primer works just like paint primer, it preps the skin for an even application of makeup.
Step 2) Find a concealer and foundation that exactly matches your skin tone This may take some legwork on your end. Our suggestion is to do this in person, not online. The best way to see if a foundation or concealer is the same color as your skin is to apply it onto your face and head outside with a mirror. Sunlight is the best possible light for checking out how makeup actually looks on your face.
Step 3) Expertly conceal the zit Use a makeup brush specifically made for concealing small spots and blemishes. The trick is to cover redness, but not to create a mountain out of a molehill. In other words, you do not want to call even more attention to a pimple. Press the brush onto the zit and then twist it (the brush, not the zit). Lightly tap the concealer in with your finger to blend it into the zit. Now dip your finger into a skin-matching loose powder. Gently dab that on top of the concealer to set. Do not apply foundation on top of the concealed zit.
Step 4)Set it. Gently press some pressed powder on top of the concealed pimple, to set the concealer and make it last.
It is easy to confuse the bumps of a condition called pityrosporum folliculitis with the bumps of acne. Both conditions are commonly found on the face, chest and back, they both can present as pinkish bumps and pustules, and they both are undesirable as summer approaches. Dr. Scheiger explains that, “the bumps of pityrosporum folliculitis appear ‘monomorphic’, which means that they all look uniform. These bumps will not respond to traditional acne treatments. They often appear suddenly and can be quite frustrating to treat if not diagnosed correctly.”
Acne specialists at the Clear Clinic in NYC routinely identify this condition and can formulate a treatment plan for pityrosporum folliculitis along with your acne regimen. These monomorphic bumps form as a result of the yeast that regularly resides on your skin getting trapped in the hair follicle. Anti-fungal medications are the mainstay of treatment to get rid of these frustrating bumps for good.
Imagine being able to get a vaccine that would prevent you from ever breaking out. Well, you may not have to dream anymore. The world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines recently inked a deal with the University of California, San Diego, to create an acne prevention vaccine. As we know, the bacteria responsible for causing acne is calledPropionibacterium acnesor P. acnes. The company producing the vaccine, Sanofi-Pasteur, says the vaccine will “target the specific neutralisation of P. acnes factors in inflammation.” While there are many effective treatments available now that will help alleviate acne breakouts, some acne remains chronic. A vaccine would be of particular help to those suffering from the chronic breakouts.
Many people are bothered by the appearance of their pores. They often try numerous over-the-counter treatments before visiting us at the Clear Clinic in NYC. Regular use of retinoids, the Clarisonic cleansing brush and microdermabrasion can help to make pores appear smaller. However, the Fraxel Laser can actually decrease the size of pores permanently. The Fraxel Laser pokes tiny holes in the skin’s surface. This action stimulates the production of healthy collagen to fill in the treated area. After a series of treatments, pores may appear much smaller and the results are permanent. Feel free to throw away the magnifying mirror once the Fraxel unveils your smoother, healthier skin.
At the Clear Clinic, we see many patients in their 30’s who want to not only clear up their acne, but prevent aging at the same time. A common complaint we hear is that, “At my age I should be worry about wrinkles, not pimples!” The great news is that there are prescription acne medications that acne both isues.
Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Topical retinoid medications regulate skin cell turnover; this helps to remove the microcomedone, that leads to acne, from the follicle. Simultaneously, the same medication is regulating collagen production in your skin. Increased collagen production 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 little extra effort.
Our acne patients with skin of color have unique concerns when it comes to treating their acne. They can easily form post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (ie. dark spots) on their skin after inflammatory acne lesions heal. In addition, many laser and light treatments must be performed carefully in patients with skin of color. Clear Clinic specializes in acne treatments for all patients and has extensive experience in the treatment of acne in skin of color.
Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Laser and light treatments can be safely performed in patients with skin in color, if performed by an experienced acne specialist. Photodynamic therapy and the Isolaz laser can be used to treat acne in all skin types. Some medications, like the retinoid Tazorac, have been shown to lighten dark spots while helping to improve active acne. We often use these medications to treat acne in skin of color.”
During a woman’s menstrual cycle, she undergoes a hormonal roller coaster. It’s been proven that hormones can be a major cause of acne breakouts. A study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that 63% of acne-prone women experience premenstrual acne breakouts. The breakouts usually occur about seven to 10 days before the period and then subside as soon as it ends. So what are the best ways to help keep skin clear during that time of the month?
Make sure to cleanse face well with an acne fighting wash the week before your menstrual cycle, which is when sebum production increases and can lead to breakouts.
Avoid touching your face with your hands as much as possible. You don’t want to introduce more bacteria onto the face.
Cleanse your cell phone with an alcohol swan to clear it of any bacteria.
Relax as much as possible the week prior to your period, stress hormones could exacerbate any breakouts.
Don’t try and pop any pimples that do pop up. Spot treat them with acne medication or make an appointment for a cortisone injection if the pimple is inflammatory.
There are several chemical peels that are helpful for acne-prone skin. Chemical peels are peeling agents that remove the superficial layers of the skin. In patients with acne-prone skin, chemical peels can clear out clogged pores, reduce comedone (blackhead and whitehead) formation and even help to improve the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Dr. Schweiger mostly commonly recommends Jessner’s Peels, Salicylic Peels and Glycolic Acid Peels for patients with acne. Though these chemical peels are used to treat acne, patients will also see an improvement in their fine lines and sun damage.
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