Schweiger Dermatology Group

What Makeup to Use on Acne Prone Skin

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makeup tips for acne prone skinMany women can’t leave the house without it. And we spend hours and hours of our lives reading about it, applying it and buying it. We’re talking about makeup. And there’s a reason it is a billion dollar business. But if you have acne-prone skin, navigating the tricky world of color cosmetics and deciding what to wear on your skin can be very confusing and can even be detrimental if you don’t know what to look for–and what to avoid.

Acne-prone skin is also sensitive skin. When deciding what makeup to use on when you have breakouts, it’s important to take great care in reading the ingredients and making sure the makeup won’t clog the pores or create further irritation.

Makeup Ingredient No-No’s for Acne-Prone Skin
The ingredients on our watchdog list for acne-prone skin can do anything from clog pores to cause sensitivity. When looking at makeup ingredients in general, we advise going with the less is more approach, meaning the fewer ingredients present, the better. Avoid makeup with parabens, mineral oil, fragrance, lanolin oil, coconut butter or lauric acid. These ingredients can clog pores or allergic reactions.

Ingredients to Look For
If you have acne-prone skin, chances are you also battling oiliness and shine. Acne is a byproduct of an overproduction of sebum, which makes our skin super-oily. One way to combat shine and oil is to use a foundation or a makeup primer with silicone. A great ingredient for absorbing oil, silicone also has a very low incident of allergic reactions. Some outstanding primers include Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 and Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector.

Summer AAD Meeting Addresses Early Onset Acne

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tweens with acneOne of the hot topics covered at this past week’s annual summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatologyin New York City was the news of dermatologists treating very young patients with acne. The information, which was presented at the meeting by a leading pediatric dermatologist, who also co-authored the recently published guidelines on the treatment of pre-adolescent acne. While it’s not news to hear of teenagers suffering with acne, it is surprising to learn that a number of children ages 7-12 are also battling this embarrassing skin condition. The fact that many young people are hitting puberty much earlier on in life is the cause behind these acne breakouts. Once the hormones kick in, along come the acne breakouts. Children’s skin should be treated different than teenagers or adults, so with that in mind, the new set of guidelines were put forth.

What You Should Know About the New Acne Guidelines for Children

  • The most common form of acne in this younger age group is mild and tends to present only on the T-Zone are (forehead, nose and chin). The breakouts typically include whiteheads and blackheads, as opposed to the more severe cystic acne breakouts experienced by teens and adults.
  • The recommended initial treatment for pre-teen acne is an over-the-counter (OTC) benzoyl peroxide product. If that does not work, then a topical combination treatment containing benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic and a retinoid is the next step.
  • Pre-teens with more severe acne breakouts respond well to age-appropriate oral antibiotics as well as isotretinoin.

Dr. Zaenglein, the pediatric dermatologist delivering the information, urges parents to take action as soon as they notice their child is breaking out. “Acne at any age can be frustrating, but it can be especially distressing for kids and parents when it develops sooner than expected,” she says. “It is important for parents not to put off treatment thinking acne will go away on its own, especially if a child has severe acne or any scarring. Puberty lasts several years, as does acne, so proper treatment is essential.”


How to Properly Wash Your Face

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washing acneWhen you have acne, learning how to do something as basic as washing your face can actually make a difference in your success at beating your breakouts. The first thing you need to do is remove any makeup with a gentle makeup removing product and cotton balls. We suggest using a an oil-free cleansing cloth, such as Neutrogena Deep Clean Oil-Free Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes ($6.99). The reason why you want to remove any makeup before using your daily and nightly acne-fighting cleanser is because makeup can take a lot of cleansing to remove and you don’t want to waste the great active ingredients in your face wash on removing the makeup. You want those actives to also do something for your skin!

Now that you’ve got a blank slate to start with, you can let the real cleansing begin. At Clear Clinic, we have a very focused skin cleansing regimen. Our soon-to-be launched line of products offers a few different cleansers, tailor made for different skin types. Whichever cleanser you use, it’s very important to dampen the face first with lukewarm water. Water that is too hot will irritate the skin, yet you want warm water to help exfoliate and open the pores. After splashing the face with warm water, begin working the cleanser into the skin in gentle circular motions. Rub in the cleanser for about 30 seconds and then let it sit on your skin for two minutes to allow the active ingredients to get absorbed.

To remove the cleanser, you will want to splash the face again with the warm water and then use a clean cloth to pat it dry. It’s very important to use clean washcloths each time you cleanse the skin, as bacteria can get trapped in dirty washcloths and then get reintroduced back to the skin when you use them again. It’s important to get all of the cleanser off the skin, as cleanser that is not removed can irritate and dry out the skin. You are now ready for your treatment products!

Is Acne Effecting Your Teen’s Self-Esteem?

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acne and depressionAs the age young people become afflicted with acne becomes younger and younger (there’s even a new set of guidelines on how to treat younger children with acne), the more parents have to worry about how this skin issue is effecting their children’s self-esteem. Junior high school and high school are tough enough to navigate. Add embarrassing acne lesions on the face into the mix and you have a recipe for low-self esteem and negative feelings. So what are the best ways to tell if your child is having emotional problems related to acne? Our on-staff psychologist suggests talking to them frankly to find out how they’re feeling.

The 5 biggest signs that your teenager (or tween) is depressed are:

1. Constant fatigue or lack of energy.

2. Withdrawal from friends and activities they used to love

3. Constant tears and crying.

4. A lack of appetite.

5. Anger or irritability.

The good news is that depression is very treatable, but the bad news is that statistics show only one in five depressed teens get the help they need. As soon as you start to realize your child might be suffering fro depression, make an appointment with a mental health professional. It is actually very common for adolescent acne patients to suffer from depression. Help your teen focus on the positive things going on in their lives and make sure that you have helped them get on an acne regimen developed by a dermatologist or other skincare professional. The most effective acne regimens consist of a combination of oral, topical and in-office treatments.

The Top 5 Mistakes Made by People With Acne

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You have acne and you don’t know why. You seem to be doing everything within your power to get rid of it. But maybe your daily habits are actually doing more harm than good to your skin. Here are the top mistakes made by people with acne. If you’re doing one of these no-no’s, it’s time to break the habit now.

Mistake 1: Picking or Popping Your Acne
Put your hands down and walk away from the mirror! Picking or popping your pimples leads to increased inflammation, which in turn means a greater risk of scarring. Also, you may think you’re doing a service to your skin by getting rid of the offensive blemish, but you’re actually pushing the bacteria deeper into the dermis. More bacteria means more pimples. Not good!

Mistake 2: Stopping Your Acne Regimen Too Soon
Acne can take up to two months to respond to medication or a new skincare regimen. Just because you don’t see results right away, don’t assume your new regimen is not working. Allow for at least eight weeks before moving onto another regimen.

Mistake 3: Using Too Many Acne Treatments
When you overload your skin with too many acne treatments, you’re actually doing more harm than good. We recommend that our patients who are using prescription acne medications use a very gentle cleanser and moisturizer in their regimen. Using too many active ingredients, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, will irritate and inflame the skin.

Mistake 4: Avoiding Accutane at all Costs
Accutane is a necessary and actually wonderful acne medication for the right patient. Many patients walk into our office and proclaim: “There is no way I will ever go on Accutane!” While Accutane is not the first line of therapy, it is a viable option for severe acne that is not responding to other treatments. We recommend our patients to stay open to this possibility. Accutane is the closest thing we have for an acne “cure.”

Mistake 5: Waiting to See a Dermatologist or Skincare Professional
We often see patients with severe acne scarring, who have never been to a dermatologist. Had they seen a dermatologists earlier in the course of their acne, much of the scarring could have been avoided. A dermatologist or a skincare professional will help guide you in making the right choices for your skin. Acne should be left in the hands of a professional.

In the News: Fighting Body Acne

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treating back acneBody breakouts can ruin even the most toned physiques. That is the complaint of The New York Times scribe Tatiana Boncompagni, who shares her chest and back acne story with readers in this week’s paper. After logging hours of cardio time at the gym, Boncompagni wanted to show off her newly toned upper body with a racerback tank top, only to have her husband come home and pop a zit on her back. Embarrassing! Boncompagni is not alone in her quest to end body acne. Many Clear Clinic clients come in to our offices when the weather begins to warm up to seek treatment for their back and chest acne.

One of the big back acne no-nos is using a loofah or a back brush on the already inflamed area. It may seem like it makes sense to reach the area with an instrument such a brush or loofah, but you’re only adding insult to injury. The answer for exfoliation when your skin is broken out is to use a chemical exfoliant, such as salicylic acid, so the skin is not being physically injured. But exfoliation when you have acne prone skin is very important. As Boncompagni explains in the Times: “Exfoliation helps keep pores from getting clogged with dead skin cells, which can trap naturally occurring Propionibacterium acnes ( or P. acnes) bacteria with oil or sebum in an anaerobic environment. The bacteria uses the oil as a nutrient for growth, producing fatty acids and triggering an inflammatory response as the body sends white blood cells to the area to combat the infection. (Blackheads and white heads, by contrast, are clogged pores that haven’t triggered the inflammatory response.”

Another ingredient that has proven to be very effective in fighting acne is benzoyl peroxide, which can be used in higher strengths on the back area, as it has thicker skin. But what exactly can cause back breakouts? The culprits can be range from stress and pore-blocking hair products and sunscreens to body-fitting clothes, that can trap sweat in and clog the pores. Unconventional thinking says that a high-glycemic diet may be to blame. Sticking to fruits, veggies and fish may help fight acne breakouts, but there’s not quiet enough science around that theory to completely back it up. Along with the proper treatments and products, make sure you give your acne time to clear up. Most acne regimens take six to eight weeks to really show results. While summer may be over by that time, the good news is that it stays warm through October these days!


Seeing the Light on Laser and Light Acne Treatments

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Admitting that you have acne is the often the first step in seeking out an effective treatment. It’s essential to go beyond the traditional over the counter remedies if you want to truly achieve clear skin. Most patients who come to Clear Clinic come to us after trying various other measures to rid of their acne breakouts. We have heard countless complaints from our patients that their drugstore brand of acne products only made their skin worse. The best treatments for acne-free skin are a combination of the correct products and in-office procedures. Whether you’re a teenager suffering from severe breakouts or an adult with random pimples popping up, trying a laser or light therapy will make major improvements to your skin.

Isolaz Acne Therapy
Isolaz is one of the most exciting new acne treatments on the market. A combination of vacuum-like suction and blue light therapy open up the pores and kill the P. acnes bacteria lurking inside. The results are amazing and there is absolutely no downtime, in fact most patients love the rosy glow they get from this treatment.

Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive treatment that utilizes a blue light to activate a medication called 5-aminolevulinic acid. PDT works to reduce acne by two separate mechanisms. First, it shrinks the sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands) of the skin. This reduces acne by decreasing the amount of oil in each pore (remember, p. acnes bacteria live to eat oil.)  Photodynamic therapy also directly targets the P. acnes bacteria that lives on the skin surface and causes acne breakouts. After PDT treatments, the overall texture of the skin is usually improved. In addition, PDT helps post-inflammatory erythema and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the red and brown marks that linger after acne lesions).

Photofacials for Acne Scars
Photofacials (also known as IPL) use a broad spectrum of light to target melanin (the pigmented cells forming sun spots and pigmentation after acne lesions) and hemoglobin (the red cells that are found in blood vessels and redness that remains after acne lesions.)  Red and brown marks on the skin can be greatly reduced after a series of IPL treatments.  A series of three or four treatments is generally required for the best results.  The treatments should be spaced three to five weeks apart.



Finding the Right Topical OTC Treatment for Acne Scars

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Acne’s Aftermath
Even if your days of battling acne breakouts are behind you, there’s a good chance you have acne scars leftover as an unfriendly reminder. Acne scars present on the skin in two different categories: the pitted acne scars, which are textured and leave indentations on the skin. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done about those scars except for laser treatments (which work serious wonders). But for those of us with post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (PIH) issues (ie red and brown marks where the acne once lived), there are–thankfully–some topical products that help even out the complexion.

Seeing Spots
Dark spot correctors are a hot skincare category these days, with everyone from Estee Lauder and Dior to drugstore brands features a dark spot corrector in their line. But why would someone who has acne scarring need a dark spot corrector? When you have residual acne scarring, a dark spot corrector will help rid of the extra melanin created after an acne inflammation. PIH happens when a pimple causes skin inflammation, triggering the skin to produce too much melanin (melanin is what gives skin its color. ). This abundance of melanin discolors and darkens the effected area and remains discolored even after the acne lesion has healed.

Best Ingredients for Acne Spots
While the gold standard in skin lightening is hydroquinone (it’s the only ingredient recognized by the FDA as a skin lightening agent), there are a few other ingredients that have also shown impressive results in the lightening and brightening department. Kojic acid, vitamin C (at 15%), retinol, arbutin, glycolic acid and niacinamide all help with pigmentation issues. And the single best thing you can do to prevent more dark spots from forming? Wear a broad spectrum SPF 30 daily.

Get Rid of Pimples

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best way to get rid of a pimplePimples No More

When you have acne-prone skin, it can feel like a daily battle when trying to get rid of pimples. Those that suffer from acne sometimes make mistakes when it comes to daily skin care and anti-acne treatments. When you want clear, blemish-free skin, there are some simple rules to follow and some professional treatments that will help do the job.

A Healthy Diet May Eliminate Pimples

It sounds confusing, but what you eat may actually play a role in whether or not you develop zits. The thinking that food plays a role in acne breakouts was chalked up as a myth, but new research in this area is actually showing some evidence that is to the contrary. A high-glycemic diet, which means complex carbohydrates and sugary foods, may in fact lead to acne breakouts. Foods that rate high on the glycemic scale, which includes white bread, white rice, candy bars, cakes, cookies and donuts, may increase the insulin in your body and cause hormones to surge, leading to inflammation and pimples. So if you want to get rid of acne, be on the safe side and stick to a diet filled with whole grains, protein, and leafy greens.

Pimple Myths Debunked

Have you ever heard of someone putting toothpaste on their zit? It’s one of the most common acne myths, right up there with sun exposure being beneficial in clearing up acne. It’s important to know what’s the truth and what’s false when it comes to clearing up your skin. Many patients believe that their acne is improved when they have a suntan, so it is difficult for them to understand when we tell them the real answer that a suntan will not help your acne in the long term.  While a tan may temporarily camouflage discoloration from old acne breakouts and can sometimes dry up excess oil on the skin, these effects are only temporary and the risk of direct sun exposure outweighs the benefits of a temporary suntan. For patients who think their skin gets clearer in the summer, an in-office or at home blue light therapy may be a great choice. Toothpaste, while it’s great at fighting cavities, is not so great at fighting pimples. In fact, toothpaste contains many ingredients that might worsen your acne. The best spot treatments to use on active acne breakouts are products containing salicylic acid or sulfur.

Adult Acne Versus Teenage Pimples

While the same causative agents that lead to acne formation form both adult acne and teenage acne, the treatment plans can differ greatly. Teens with acne tend to have oilier skin overall, whereas adult skin is typically drier. For that reason, it is best to avoid treating pimples with high percentages of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Adult acne sufferers do well with retinoids, as they fight acne and wrinkles at the same time. Teenage acne sufferers can tolerate prescription medications better and will sometimes go on Accutane.

Hiding Pimples with Makeup

You may be tempted to cake on the concealer when trying to cover up an acne lesion, but less is more when it concealing a pimple. The first order of business is covering up any redness by gently dabbing concealer over the red area, being careful not to cover the raised area. You will want to use a clean finger to gently press the concealer into the pimple. Do not use a brush or sponge, as this will only wipe off the concealer. The next step is lightly pressing on powder to set the concealer. Using makeup to conceal and get rid of pimples—or at least their appearance—will help you feel better about yourself.

The Top Acne Treatments for New Yorkers

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acne treatment nycSavvy New Yorkers have no qualms in turning to the experts for help in all things related to health, beauty and fashion. With the best of the best at our fingertips, New York City residents have the advantage of top experts to aid them in everything from fitness to fashion, such as personal trainers and personal shoppers. Thanks to Clear Clinic, New Yorkers now have acne experts to turn to when their skin is not behaving. Enter the Personal Acne Coach, skincare specialists devoted to the clearing and healing of the skin from acne breakouts and acne scarring. Our Personal Acne Coaches are like trainers for your skin, helping you get on the right regimen and treatment plan to get your skin clear and gorgeous. Our Personal Acne Coaches will help explain each and every treatment and procedure offered at Clear Clinic and whether it’s right for your skin type and lifestyle. They are also on hand to answer any questions along the way. Some of our top acne treatments include photodynamic therapy, signature medical facials, and cortisone injections. We recommend in-office procedures in combination with at-home care as the ideal prescription for clear skin. One of the main goals of in-office procedures such as cortisone injections and medical extractions is to prevent acne sufferers from picking and popping their acne. We refer to this as “bathroom surgery” and it can be incredibly harmful to the skin. In fact, when you try and pop a pimple, the majority of the bacteria re-enters the skin, with only a very small percentage of it coming out. If you are serious about healing your skin and saying goodbye to pimples forever, then it’s crucial to seek out the best acne treatments in NYC.

Click here to read more about the most effective treatments for acne for New Yorkers.

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