Parents often ask us if it is too soon to bring their teenager in to receive treatment for their acne. The answer is that it is never too soon. Even the mildest acne can be treated effectively with prescription medications and in-office treatments, such as Photodynamic Therapy and the Isolaz acne treatment. Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Earlier treatment of acne is ideal, as these patients will avoid scarring that can occur with even mild breakouts. Often patients with mild acne can see huge improvement with a simple at-home prescription regimen and maybe a few in-office treatments.”
There is often confusion between acne and rosacea. Rosacea often resembles acne, but its is a different condition that requires a different treatment regimen. Dr. Schweiger tells us that, “Rosacea is an inflammatory condition that can present as pinkish, acne-like, bumps or redness and visible blood vessels. We don’t know exactly what causes it, though we know that there are many environmental triggers that can make rosacea worse. Spicy foods, extremes of temperature and alcohol are a few of the most common triggers.”
Rosacea can be treated in a variety of ways. There are prescription medications available, such as Oracea, Metrogel, Finacea and Sumadan wash, which help the pinkish bumps of rosacea. Erythema (redness) and blood vessels are not easily treated with prescription medications. Lasers are the best treatment for the redness and blood vessels of rosacea. One treatment with the KTP laser can yield significant improvement in blood vessels and a few treatments can help to control the appearance of generalized redness. This laser treatment is relatively painless and does not require any downtime.
New studies are showing that diet may have something to do with acne after all. While there has not been a conclusive study showing a link between junk food and diet, many of our patients tell us that their acne improves when they improve their diet. Dr. Schweiger notes that, “A recent study showed us that low-carbohydrate diets, similar to the South Beach Diet, may help to improve acne.” The exact influence of diet on acne is unclear at this point, but the newest information is telling us that a healthy diet helps not only your waistline, but also your skin.
As any consumer knows, a new skincare product pops up on the market every week. Many claim to do things such as fight wrinkles and get rid of acne with new “revolutionary” ingredients. While some of these new ingredients may in fact prove to be effective, we think it’s best to go with the ingredients that have been tried and tested, especially when it comes to fighting acne. We are excited to learn more about thyme as an acne-fighting ingredient, but until we see real clinical studies proving it’s efficacy, we suggest sticking to salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, rescorcinol and tea tree oil.
Patients sometimes ask us if sweat causes acne. Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Sweat does not directly cause acne. The sweat glands are not the same as the oil producing glands, so sweat alone does not attract the p. acnes bacteria.” A condition called acne mechanica does exist in athletes. This type of acne results from the combination of heat, friction and covered skin. We sometimes see this in our patients who often wear helmets or tight exercise clothing. Our recommendation is that patients exercise in cotton clothing and shower soon after finishing their workout.
Many of our patients undergo treatment with the Isolaz laser acne treatment. This acne-fighting laser treatment has become one of the most popular acne treatments available. At Clear Clinic, we often combine it with photodynamic therapy, though the Isolaz is very effective on its own. It combines a vacuum that dislodges all of the material stuck inside your pores with a broad-spectrum antibacterial light that kills that p. acnes bacteria.
Dr. Schweiger notes that “The Isolaz is a great treatment for acne; it not only treats active acne, but it prevents future acne from forming.” There is no downtime with the Isolaz Laser treatment and many patients feel that their skin is immediately smoother and more radiant. Acne specialists at the Clear Clinic can determine the best Isolaz regimen for you.
The news media has pounced on the story of actress Salma Hayek having acne in her twenties. She told Lucky magazine that her acne caused her severe depression and also prevented her from getting jobs in Hollywood. She said she could barely get work as an extra. So Salma took action and went on Accutane to clear up her blemishes. Accutane has gotten a bad rap in recent years, but it is truly an effective option for those who suffer from the kind of severe acne Salma had. There are many other ways to clear up your acne, such as Blue Light Therapy, Isolaz and Photo Dynamic Therapy, so never give up on trying to find a solution. Contact Clear Clinic and we will help guide you in the best regimen tailor made for your specific skin.
A recently published British study tested the effect of thyme, marigold and myrrh on the p. acnes bacteria that causes acne. The study found that thyme was quite effective in killing the p. acnes bacteria; it showed to be more effective than benzoyl peroxide, a commonly used ingredient in both over-the-counter and prescription acne medications. Dr. Schweiger feels that, “This is an exciting study. Any new options for the treatment of acne are welcome. However, this is just one study based only on thyme killing p. acnes bacteria. We don’t yet know how thyme will work when applied to the skin of acne prone patients. Exciting things are on the horizon for acne treatments and hopefully this will lead to the development of new medications in the future.”
Click here to read about the study on thyme for the treatment of acne.
Clear Clinic Acne Tip of the Day: Don’t touch your face!
It’s pretty simple–your hands and fingers carry a whole host of bacteria. The last thing you should be doing is introducing that bacteria back onto your face. We suggest keeping hands off as much as possible. But for those times you need to scratch an itch or before you apply makeup, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. If you are out and about use a hand sanitizer.
Find out more information on Clear Clinic’s Clear Club.
The Fractional CO2 Laser is an excellent treatment for deep acne scars; it needs only one treatment and results are seen quickly. However, not everyone can stomach that three to five days of downtime that it requires. For these patients, the Fraxel re:Store laser is the best treatment option. Dr. Schweiger explains that, “The Fraxel laser pokes tiny holes in the skin, which stimulate the production of collagen. The difference between the Fraxel laser and the Fractional CO2 laser is that the Fraxel doesn’t ablate the superficial layers of the skin. This means that downtime is minimal and healing is quick. Patients are only needing the weekend to recover, and don’t even need to stay home during that time.” After the Fraxel laser treatment, patients experience approximately two days of mild redness and swelling (similar to a sunburn), but may wear makeup and leave their home. We often perform Fraxel laser treatments on Fridays, so that patients are able to return to the office on Monday. Four Fraxel laser treatments are generally needed to treat deep acne scars.