With the right treatment, you can keep acne under control. But what’s the best acne treatment for you? Many options are available, including prescription creams and antibiotics, which target the various causes of acne. But even with the wide range of acne treatments, chronic breakouts may still be difficult to treat. Promising new acne may be effective acne treatments when combined with other traditional treatments.
Each hair follicle is connected to sebaceous glands, which secrete an oily substance known as sebum to lubricate the hair and skin. As physicians understand it, acne happens when oil (sebaceous) glands come to life around puberty, when these glands are stimulated by male hormones that are produced in the adrenal glands of both boys and girls. The oil glands, which are located just beneath the skin, continuously produce and secrete oil (sebum) through openings in the skin. The oil lubricates and protects the skin. Under certain circumstances though, cells that are close to the openings of the oil glands block the openings. This causes a buildup of oil underneath the skin. When your body produces an excess amount of sebum and dead skin cells, the two can accumulate in the hair follicle and solidify as a soft plug. As the plug grows, the follicle wall can rupture, allowing more oil and skin cells to accumulate. This is the underlying cause of acne. Normal bacteria that live in everyone’s skin feeds on the oil. They start to multiply, and cause the surrounding tissues to become inflamed and infection results in complications of acne.
Laser- and light-based therapies reach the deeper layers of skin without harming the skin’s surface. Some laser systems are thought to damage the oil (sebaceous) glands, causing them to produce less oil. Other laser and light therapies target P. acnes, the bacterium that causes acne inflammation. These therapies can also improve skin texture and lessen the appearance of scars, so they may be good treatment choices for people with both active acne and acne scars. We will use the laser we feel most appropriate for your condition. Most patients require approximately 5 monthly treatments to see the desired improvement. Periodic re-treatments will be required as acne flares.
Several types of laser and light therapies are used for acne treatment. These include:
Chemical peels and microdermabrasion may be helpful in controlling acne. These cosmetic procedures — which have traditionally been used to lessen the appearance of fine lines, sun damage and minor facial scars — are most effective when used in combination with other acne treatments.
Combination therapies, for example, using prescription creams and oral antibiotics, target all the causes of acne, which makes the treatment plan more successful. Several combination therapies have been shown to be effective in controlling acne:
Acne scars are stubborn, and no single treatment is best for everyone.
Acne usually begins in the teen years, but can reappear at any age. It gradually worsens and after a time improves. How long you have acne is impossible to predict. Acne will periodically flare up and then improves. There is usually no explanation for these ups and downs, so do not assume that because your acne gets worse you have done something wrong. In women, acne frequently worsens about the time of their menstrual cycle.
Dirt does not cause acne, despite what you may have been told. The oil on the skin surface does no harm. Your face should be washed with a gentle nondetergent cleanser and plain water only as much as you need to keep it clean. Too much scrubbing of the skin can cause irritation and make the acne situation much worse. Never pick, squeeze, or otherwise manipulate your pimples, as this can cause long-term scars. Instead, our aestheticians can gently perform extractions on whiteheads, blackheads, and inflamed acne lesions.
If you’re interested in new acne treatments, make a consultation appointment so we can help you create a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Regardless of the treatment you use, be sure to keep realistic expectations. Acne can’t be cured, only controlled. You won’t start seeing improvements from most treatments for six to eight weeks, and your acne might appear worse before it gets better. But if you stick to your treatment regimen, your patience usually pays off with clearer skin.