What is Acne?
Acne is a skin condition that involves the pilosebaceous unit, which includes the oil gland and hair follicle. Various factors such as genetic predisposition, hormones, diet, stress and hygiene can contribute to excess oil production, an increase in bacteria, and plugging of dead skin cells that lead to inflammatory acne lesions. It mostly affects teenages and young adults, but acne can certainly be found at any age. Luckily, there are many great treatment options! Below is a look into the current mainstay of acne treatments.
Common Treatments Used to Help Treat Acne
Your dermatologist will likely go through your skin care routine and recommend a regimen. Cleansing your skin twice a day is a great gentle way to help your complexion. A gentle cleanser or a medicated antibacterial cleanser may be recommended depending on your skin type and other active ingredients they might have prescribed for you.
Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are used in many over-the-counter medications for acne and can be very effective starting points for someone newly experiencing acne or more mild acne. BZP has antimicrobial effects and SA helps decongest the skin. Clindamycin and azelaic acid are often prescribed topical drugs that have antimicrobial and pore-clearing properties as well.
*Systemic and Topical Retinoids
Retinoids are prescription medications that are vitamin-A derivatives and can work amazingly on the skin on many levels. Tretinoin is a common topical formulation that helps exfoliate and clear the skin (also loved for its anti-aging properties!) and Accutane is a type of retinoid that’s taken orally to help with resistant and more severe acne patients with long-term results.
Oral antibiotics may be recommended to help jump start an anti-acne regimen; help with acute breakouts or if topical treatments aren’t working well. Minocycline and Doxycycline can help with oil production of the skin and bacteria reduction and are more commonly prescribed. In general, this will be a temporary prescription.
Spironolactone is an oral medication that helps clear up hormonal acne by controlling oil-production and blocking acne-causing androgen receptors. Winlevi is a topical formulation that also works to target androgens.
Extractions may be recommended for stubborn comedones and perfectly paired with a pore-clearing Diamond Glow acne facial by our amazing trained Nurses. This can be a great addition to jump start your anti-acne regimen.
Painful nodular cystic breakouts or that sudden purge before a special event may benefit from an intralesional injection with a mild anti-inflammatory steroid.
*Theraclear and Aviclear
Both cosmetic treatments, Theraclear targets P. acnes and reduces skin inflammation while suction unplugs the skin’s congestive debris to help with acute breakouts to quickly calm and clear the skin, while Aviclear is a laser treatment that gets rid of abnormal sebaceous glands–a root cause of acne production–to see longer term results over time. These can be paired with your acne regimen or used to reduce your routine needs.
While the influence of diet on an individual’s acne can vary greatly from person-to-person, there are some common offenders that may play a role–sugary sweets, milk and fatty meals. Healthy whole-food choices and staying well-hydrated certainly can’t hurt and may have skin-clearing benefits!
Clearing acne is a very individual journey which may consist of one or more combinations of therapies to best work for you. Your dermatologist will help determine your recommended path based on type of acne, lifestyle, or failure to respond to other treatments. We’re happy to help!