While many people falsely believe that washing their face more frequently will help clear up acne, proper face washing is instrumental in getting the most out of your skin care products. At Clear Clinic, we know that it’s more about quality time spent washing your face than quantity. Meaning that when you do wash your face, the technique should be meaningful and well executed. Firstly, it’s important to use a cleanser containing acne-fighting ingredients. The next step is making sure you have applied cleanser to all areas of the face. The most important step is massaging the cleanser in for at least one minute. We recommend investing in the Clarisonic handheld device, which is excellent at helping people massage in their cleanser. The device also stays on for exactly one minute so you know you have gotten a deep cleanse. You are now on your way to a clear complexion!
The most important feature of a makeup is the inclusion of the phrase “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic” on its label. These phrases indicate that the makeup has been tested and shown not to contribute to the formation of acne. Dr. Schweiger reminds us that, “No matter which makeup you choose to wear, it is important to cleanse your skin in the evening prior to applying nighttime acne medications.” Many of our patients like tinted moisturizers that contain SPF, for a simple morning regimen that goes well with their morning acne treatments.
As if acne breakouts weren’t bad enough, dealing with their aftermath in the form of acne scars can be equally as frustrating. The best way to treat acne scarring all depends on the kind of scars you have. Chemical Peels work great at getting rid of pigmentation (brown marks) left behind after an acne lesion has cleared up. During a chemical peel treatment, a peeling agent, such as glycolic acid, is applied to the skin for a brief amount of time to treat and remove the top layer of skin. By removing that top layer, the acne scar is also lifted away. Patients who have received peels for acne scar treatment might have slight redness after the treatment, but other than that there is no down time.
Even patients with the most porcelain skin are interested in clearing up their clogged pores. We all have them; it’s just a matter of figuring out the best way to clear them out. Spa facials and home extractions can be damaging to the skin. Many patients actually cause more harm than good when they try to extract their clogged pores in the bathroom mirror.
So what is the best way to get that smooth skin you are looking for? Dr. Schweiger explains, “There are a few great options for clearing out clogged pores. The fastest treatment is a medical facial; at Clear Clinic we have an esthetician who specializes in the treatment of acne. She can perform a medical grade facial that safely extracts the comedones and clogged pores immediately. The Isolaz Laser Acne treatment helps to keep pores clear; it uses a vacuum to loosen up the material in your pores, in order to prevent the formation of acne. The Clarisonic brush is a great at-home option for keeping your skin clean. Its oscillating pattern keeps your pores clear without causing irritation.”
Here at Clear Clinic we are constantly being asked about the best ways to get rid of acne. The truth is that every patient responds to treatments differently, but there are some general rules when it comes to fighting acne breakouts. Here, our top 10 ways to control–and get rid of–acne:
1) Commit to a skin care regimen with products containing acne-fighting ingredients.
2) Use a Clarisonic device to ensure a deep cleanse.
3) Don’t pick at your skin! Trying to pop your own pimples or even just prodding at your breakout can lead to infection and scarring.
4) Avoid wearing tight helmets, headbands or other constraining apparatuses. Sweat and friction can lead to breakouts.
5) Keep your weight within the healthy range for your body type. Turns out that diet may actually play a role in clear skin.
6) Book an appointment with a dermatologist. Acne is a condition that is best treated in the hands of a medical professional.
8) Invest in an at-home acne-fighting device.
9) Find the right prescription topical medication for your skin.
10) Don’t give up. Finding the right combination of treatments may take a little while. When you do, you will begin to see results after approximately 4 to 6 weeks.
We are often asked if it is okay to get a suntan as a means of treating acne. 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 answer – no, a suntan will not help your acne in the long term. A tan may temporarily camouflage discoloration from old acne breakouts and can sometimes dry up excess oil on the skin. However, these effects are certainly temporary and the risks of direct sun exposure absolutely outweigh the benefits of a temporary suntan.
Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Patients should speak to their dermatologists about safe and effective treatment plans for acne. Sun exposure has not been shown to improve acne to any significant degree; in addition to causing premature wrinkles and pigmentation on the skin, sun exposure increases your risk of skin cancer. There are many safer and more effective acne treatments available, such as prescription medications and laser treatments that improve both acne and scarring.”
The answer is yes, absolutely. Many patients with acne prone skin skip moisturizing because they feel that the more they “dry out” their skin, the fewer acne lesions they will have. The truth is that some acne patients do have excessive oil production from their sebaceous glands; however, this does not result in moisturized skin. Many acne medications, even over-the-counter spot treatments can be irritating, so it is important to keep acne-prone skin hydrated.
Dr. Schweiger notes that, “Once patients with acne prone skin realize that they need to be moisturizing regularly, they often have difficulty finding the best moisturizer for their skin type. It is important that patients with acne-prone skin look for moisturizers with the phrases “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic” on the label. These phrases indicate that the moisturizer has been proven not to contribute to the formation of acne.” Many of our patients prefer the moisturizing sunscreen Elta UV Clear for daily use and Cerave lotion for evening use. Both products have been proven not to contribute to the formation of new acne.
Our patients often ask us what is the best way to spot treat new pimples at home. We’ve heard it all: toothpaste, honey, elaborate home extraction methods. Unfortunately, many of these home remedies only lead to irritation, which can be more difficult to cover with concealer than the pimple itself. The best treatment for an unwanted pimple is a steroid injection here at the Clear Clinic; we are even open on some Saturdays.
However, not everyone can get into the office in time to get rid of their unwanted breakout before a big event. Dr. Schweiger recommends “Applying either prescription or over-the-counter Benzoyl Peroxide medications. Benzoyl Peroxide is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, both attributes that can help diminish a pimple promptly. The important thing is to use the spot treatment sparingly; less is more, and applying too much of the medication does not make it work better.” Salicylic Acid spot treatments are also readily available and can be helpful to use on an unexpected pimple.
As most acne sufferers know, breakouts often appear on places other than the face. When you breakout on your back or chest, it’s easy to cover up with clothing, but with the warmer weather around the corner, wearing a turtleneck will no longer be an option. Acne is caused by many different factors and body acne is no different. There is something called acne mechanica, which is a form of acne caused by heat coupled with covered skin and friction. If you are seeing breakouts on an area on your body that is usually covered by straps on a backpack or if you wear a lot of tight clothing, then try wearing your backpack or clothing looser until the acne clears up. Cleanse body with a medicated acne wash or try blue light therapy on the back to clear up acne before summer time.
Many patients ask us if over-the-counter retinols are effective for treating their acne. The answer is, probably not. Retinols are derivatives of retinoids, but they have not been studied for efficacy in treating acne. Retinols are converted to retinoids when they are applied to the skin, but the concentration of retinoid that they become is significantly lower than a prescription retinoid preparation.
Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Retinoids must undergo rigorous clinical testing in order to prove their efficacy. Over-the-counter retinol products are not studied in the same way; we are not seeing the same efficacy in over-the-counter retinol formulations that we do when using prescription retinoids for the treatment of acne.” Over-the-counter retinols play a role in anti-aging products, particularly for those who cannot tolerate more irritating prescription formulations, but they have not been proven to improve acne. Retinol and retinoid sound very similar, but their results are much different.