Avoid candy and ice cream: Recent research suggests that foods with a high glycemic index and dairy products may influence the development or worsening of acne on your skin.
Don't pop that pimple: Popping or picking at your acne may make it stick around longer and may increase the likelihood of acne scar development. Better to schedule a quick visit to your dermatologist for a cortisone shot, which flattens that pimple within 24-48 hours.
Less is more when it comes to acne medications: Use only a pea-size amount of topical acne medications. Many topical medications should be applied only three times a week initially, and can be following by a moisturizing cream to make otherwise drying creams more tolerable.
Go to yoga class or do an activity that relaxes you: Increased levels of stress can lead to the release of a hormone that causes the development of acne. Keep stress levels low to prevent an acne flare.
Leave your Clarisonic brush in the shower: The Clarisonic cleansing brush is an excellent addition to any acne-fighting regimen. Many people don't know that it is waterproof, and can be left in the shower. By using it while showering, you can also clean your chest and back with the Clarisonic brush, to prevent breakouts on the body.
Sunscreen is important: Many acne medications and treatments can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. It is a misconception that sun exposure improves acne in the long run; do your best to protect your skin with daily use of a sunscreen.
Topical prescription medications for acne are a mainstay in acne treatments. Although laser treatments for acne and oral medications for acne may seem to be more effective, topical medications play a very important role in the treatment of acne. Topical medications can fight a variety of the factors that lead to the development of acne. Additionally, there are some things that are better treated with topical medications that oral medications. Here is a closer look at the top acne topical prescription medications:
Acanya: Acanya is a combination of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin. Together these ingredients have a synergistic effect, meaning that they work better together than the sum of their parts. Acanya kills the p. acnes bacteria that leads to the development of acne.
Tazorac: Tazorac is one type of retinoid. Retinoids stimulate skin cell turnover, to clean out clogged pores and eliminate the dead skin cells and excess sebum that build up in the pores and attract acne-causing bacteria. Tazorac can also help to stimulate the turnover of skin cells with excess pigmentation, which helps to lighten the dark spots on the skin from old acne.
Epiduo: Epiduo is a combination of adapalene and benzoyl peroxide. Adapalene is a gentle retinoid, which stimulates skin cell turnover to clean out the pores. Benzoyl peroxide kills the acne-causing p. acnes bacteria.
Atralin: Atralin is also a retinoid; it is unique because it is delivered in a hyaluronic acid gel. Hyaluronic acid is moisturizing, which makes Atralin very tolerable and less drying than other topical retinoids.
As new treatments for acne are introduced, we feel that it is important to stay on the cutting edge of technology. By embracing the newest treatments for acne, we are able to provide patients with the best treatments for their acne. In-office laser and light-based treatments have proven to be very effective for the treatment of acne; however, it is sometimes difficult to understand what each treatment does and how it helps your skin. For this reason, we have compiled a guide to the difference between blue light and Isolaz laser treatment for acne.
What is the treatment?
Blue light therapy is an in-office light-based therapy. During the treatment, you will lay in a reclined position, while the blue light is directed at your skin.
Isolaz is an in-office laser acne treatment. During the treatment, you will lay in a reclined position. You will feel a gentle suction on your skin, as the Isolaz opens your pores, and then a mild sensation of heat as the broad-spectrum light kills acne-causing bacteria in your pores
How does it get rid of acne?
Blue light therapy kills the p. acnes bacteria that leads to acne.
Isolaz has two mechanisms; it uses a gentle vacuum to clean out the pores, and a broad-spectrum light to kill the p. acnes bacteria.
Is there any downtime after the treatment?
Neither treatment produces any downtime. You can return to work or social engagements immediately after your visit.
According to acne scar expert, Dr. Schweiger, "Pitted acne scars do not resolve on their own. We have many options for getting rid of acne scars, but there is no one treatment that is best for every patient. I feel that the most effective permanent treatment for acne scars is laser resurfacing. This can be performed either with ablative lasers, such as the Fractional CO2 resurfacing laser, or non-ablative lasers, such as the Fraxel laser. Other treatments for acne scars include injection of dermal fillers, subcision, and chemical peels."
Fraxel is an effective treatment for acne scars, which is safe for use on patients of all skin types. During your initial consultation, we will determine the best treatment for your acne scars, and review the benefits of that treatment. Below is a short list of the main benefits of Fraxel for acne scars.
Minimal downtime - Fraxel treatments do not require planning for a full week of downtime, like the more aggressive Fractional CO2 laser. Most patients have only 2-3 days of swelling and redness after their treatment, which means that the treatment can be performed just before the weekend, so minimal time needs to be taken off from work. After the 3 days of redness, a mild redness may persist, but this is similar to a light sunburn appearance.
Effective for acne scars - Most importantly, the Fraxel laser treatment is effective for treating pitted acne scars. For most patients, 4 treatments (spaced at approximately 1 month intervals) are required for optimal improvement.
Improves other marks too - In addition to stimulating collagen production to improve the appearance of acne scars, the Fraxel helps to get rid of brown spots from old acne (called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) and red spots from more recent acne.
The Tria blue light device, called the Skin Perfecting Blue Light, uses blue light to kill the acne-causing p. acnes bacteria on your skin. It is most effective when used in between office visits for in-office blue light therapy. In-office blue light provides a more aggressive and effective treatment, though the Tria blue light device can be used at home to make your in-office treatments even more effective.
It is important to know the correct way to use the Tria blue light. The Tria blue light should be used for five minutes each day. The five minute session can be performed in a single session, or split into a two and a half minute session in both the morning and the evening. Prior to using the Tria blue light, we recommend cleansing your skin with a gentle cleanser. The device should then be applied to your clean, dry skin for the desired amount of time. Some patients prefer to treat their entire face, though we often recommend that patients concentrate on the areas of active acne flares. Treatments with the Tria blue light can also be performed on the chest and back.
Studies conducted by Tria have found that 70% of areas affected by acne were clear after just two weeks of treatment, and that 93% of study participants had overall milder acne and fewer acne flares after two weeks of treatment.
The Tria Skin Perfecting Blue Light is an excellent adjunct to in-office laser treatments, but can also provide a "boost" to patients who want to do more for their skin than simply using prescription medications, but are unable to visit the office for regular treatments.
Click here to learn more about the Tria Blue Light.
The Isolaz acne laser treatment is a unique in-office treatment, used to treat and prevent acne on both the skin and body. Since many of our patients have not had in-office laser or light based treatments before, and may not know what to expect, here is our guide to what to expect during Isolaz acne laser treatment.
Upon arriving in the office, we will ask that you cleanse your skin, to remove makeup, creams and debris from the skin. The Isolaz acne laser treatment works best when treating clean skin.
You will then lay down in one of our reclining exam chairs, and protective goggles will be placed over your eyes.
The treatment is now ready to begin. During the treatment, each area of the face will be wet with a gentle spray of water and then the Isolaz handpiece will be applied to the skin. Once the handpiece is applied to the skin, you will feel a gentle suction (like a soft pinch) and feel a warm sensation. This is the opening and cleaning of your pores and the firing of a broad-spectrum light to kill the p. acnes bacteria that causes acne.
The treatment itself takes approximately 15 minutes. After it is completed, we will clean your skin and give you a moisturizing sunscreen to apply.
If you wish to apply makeup prior to leaving the office, you may do so at this time. There is only minimal redness of the skin immediately following the treatment, which resolves by the time you leave the office, for most people.
Many women in their 20's and 30's have to learn how to deal with hormonal acne. Even women who never experienced acne as teenagers may experience acne during their adult years. Dr. Schweiger explains that, "Hormonal acne is usually a result of an increased androgen hormone influence; a stronger androgen influence leads to great production of sebum from the sebaceous glands. Sebum is the oil produced by the skin, which can clog up the pores and attract acne bacteria on the skin. The result is an increase in acne breakouts on the skin."
Women with hormonal acne tend to experience acne flares on the lower face, jawline, back and chest. They may notice that the acne flares correlate with their menses, or they may not see any pattern. Hormonal acne should be evaluated and treated by a dermatologist, who will check any necessary labs and begin the appropriate treatments.
Hormonal acne responds well to a multi-faceted treatment approach. For most patients, this includes prescription topical medications and oral medications, in addition to in-office treatments when appropriate. In-office treatments for hormonal acne include the Isolaz acne laser, Photodynamic Therapy, Red and Blue light therapy, chemical peels, and medical extractions. Oral medications specific to the treatment of hormonal acne include oral contraceptive pills and an anti-androgen medication called Spironolactone. These pills require a consultation with your dermatologist or dermatology PA to determine if they are appropriate for the treatment of your hormonal acne.
Click here to learn more about how to deal with hormonal acne.
Acne expert Dr. Eric Schweiger explains that, "Treating acne if you have sensitive skin can sometimes be challenging. Even over-the-counter acne treatments can cause excessive dryness and irritation to the skin, making the treatment of acne at home a difficult task. All patients with acne should visit a dermatologist for prompt treatment of their acne, but patients with sensitive skin will particularly benefit from discussing non-irritating acne treatment options with their dermatologist."
Here are our tips on how to treat acne if you have sensitive skin:
Use prescription acne medications sparingly - It is important for patients with even the most sensitive skin not to avoid using topical medications. Topical acne medications can be very effective and, when used properly, nearly all patients can tolerate their use. We recommend using only a pea-size amount of all topical medications for the face. After applying the medication, a thin layer of moisturizer should be applied on top. Additionally, when a new medication is introduced, we recommend using it only three times a week (rather than every day), and increasing the frequency of use as tolerated.
Think about laser and light-based acne treatments - Laser and light-based acne treatments can produce a dramatic improvement in acne, without causing irritation to sensitive skin. Treatments such as the Isolaz acne laser and Red & Blue light therapy are effective acne treatments that are appropriate for patients with very sensitive skin.
At-home devices can help - At-home devices, such as the Clarisonic brush and the Tria Blue Light, can be used to cleanse the skin and kill acne-causing bacteria without causing irritation to sensitive skin.
Retinoids for the treatment of acne are nothing new. For many years now, dermatologists have been recommending the use of retinoids (such as Retin-A and Differin) for the treatment of acne. But, did you know that there is a reason why dermatologists turn to retinoids more than other topical acne medications? Below is a list of the benefits of using a retinoid for acne treatment.
Retinoids working by stimulating skin cell turnover. This means that the dead skin cells, which become trapped in your pores, are expressed from your skin. This process prevents acne-causing bacteria from being attracted to your pores and causing acne.
By getting rid of dead skin cells that would otherwise stick around, retinoids can uncover the glowing skin that you desire. Many of patients tell us that they feel like their skin is dry and ask us for suggestions. Our first suggestion for an at-home product is to add a retinoid to get rid of all those dead skin cells, which cause your skin to look dull.
They are not only fighting acne, but retinoids are anti-aging. By stimulating skin cell turnover, they also stimulate the production of collagen in the skin. The result is smoother skin, with fewer fine lines and wrinkles, but now and in the future. Retinoids can also shrink the pores somewhat after longterm use.
Retinoids have been shown to decrease post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the dark spots on your skin from old acne), while simultaneously preventing new acne from forming on your skin.
The Clarisonic brush is one of the most popular and effective cleansing brushes available. Cleansing brushes are used with a gentle cleanser to clean the skin, preventing the buildup of oil and debris in the pores. In fact, the company that makes the Clarisonic brush has published a study stating that the Clarisonic brush removes up to 6 times more makeup than traditional face washing!
Dr. Schweiger recommends, "Leaving your Clarisonic brush in the shower, so that you can use it to cleanse your face, chest and back. The device is waterproof and does not require frequent charging, so by leaving it in the shower, you are making certain that you don't forget to use it! A small amount of gentle cleanser, such as Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser, is sufficient to apply to the Clarisonic when washing your face and body. Many of our acne patients find that adding the Clarisonic brush to their skincare routine provides a boost to their acne regimen and helps to clear their skin faster, and keep their skin clear for the long term."
When excess sebum (the skin's oil produced by sebaceous glands) and debris build up in the pores, it can form a microcomedone, which is essentially the precursor to acne. This attracts the acne-causing p. acnes bacteria to the pore, which can result in the formation of acne. By cleansing the skin thoroughly, the Clarisonic brush helps to prevent formation of the microcomedone, and prevent the formation of acne lesions on the skin. Additionally, the gentle exfoliation of the Clarisonic brush makes the skin appear healthier, smoother, and brighter by getting rid of dead skin cells that can otherwise cause a dull appearance of the skin.
Click here to learn more about how the Clarisonic can help acne-prone skin.
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