Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. About 40 to 50 million Americans have acne at one time. Even so, people are often misinformed about what acne is and how to manage it. Acne should not be allowed to “run it’s course”. There are many things that you can do to prevent dark spots and permanent scars from acne. Prevention is key.
WHAT IT IS
Acne affects mainly teens and young adults, but it is also prevalent among middle-aged women. Acne occurs due to clogged skin pores. While it is most common to appear on your face, it can also appear on your back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms, and buttocks.
Your skin is constantly renewing itself. Skin cells slowly move outward to your epidermis as new skin cells are formed in the dermis. This usually takes about four weeks. The skin in your epidermis eventually sloughs off in another two weeks. Normal skin secretes an oil called sebum (see-bum) that helps keep our skin from drying out. Sometimes the sebum and dead skin cells stick together inside the skin pore and become trapped.
Bacteria, p. acnes, that live on our skin can also become trapped inside the skin pore. Unfortunately, this creates a perfect environment for the bacteria t multiply. The pore becomes red and swollen. If the inflammation goes deep in the skin, an acne cyst or nodule appears.
Acne is not just pimples. Any of the listed blemishes are associated with acne:
- Pustules (or pimples)
SIDE EFFECTS OF ACNE
- Dark spots on the skin
- Scars, sometimes permanent
- Low self-esteem
GRADES OF ACNE
This superficial acne is non-inflammatory, so there is no redness associated with it. This includes open comedones (blackheads). The blackheads are not dirt filled pores, but pores filled with oxidized sebum.
With moderate acne, there are more types of blemishes, including blackheads, whiteheads (closed comedones), papules, and pustules. There is also a degree of inflammation. The involvement is often deeper into the dermis. White papules and pustules indicate the presence of bacteria.
With this stage of acne, the blemishes occur in large numbers and the inflammation can be quite severe. Rather than just the pore being infected, an entire area of skin can be infected.
At this stage, there is severe inflammation and deeper cystic blemishes that look similar to boils. Nodules are hard, painful bumps caused by inflammation, but do not contain fluid or bacteria. This type of acne has the greatest risk of causing scarring.
After three treatments with laser
At Aria Aesthetics and Wellness, we offer skin care products and medical treatments that can help treat and control acne. These treatments inhibit sebum production, limit bacterial growth, and encourage shedding of skin cells to unclog pores.
TIPS FOR MANAGING ACNE
- Wash your face twice a day, and after sweating.
- Use gentle pressure with your fingertips to apply a non-abrasive cleanser. Avoid using anything that can irritate your skin or scrubs your skin (washcloth, sponge, etc.).
- Use gentle products that are alcohol-free. Dry skin makes acne appear worse
- Use lukewarm water instead of hot water to rinse your face
- Shampoo your hair regularly; daily if you have oily hair
- Avoid the temptation to pick, pop, or squeeze your acne. Let your skin heal naturally as this will decrease your change of scarring
- Keep your hands off your face, as touching your face can cause flare-ups
SKIN CARE REGIMEN
When you have acne, you should choose topical treatments that will cleanse the skin and destroy the bacteria, but can also maintain proper moisture levels. Skin requires oil to stay soft and lubricated, so the goal of treatment is to subdue the inflammation, not strip your face of oil. We offer products from VI Aesthetics® as well as PCA Skin® that are designed specifically for acne patients.
Cleanser: The VI Derm® Cleanser is an aloe vera based product that will gently remove cellular buildup, residue from makeup and the environment without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. After using the VI Derm® Cleanser your skin will be refreshed, revitalized and radiant.
- Aloe Vera: Softens, hydrates and soothes skin
- Azelaic Acid: Antibacterial to help further cleanse the skin
- Willow Bark Extract: Helps to exfoliate and unclog pores
Retinol: Retinol Complex 0.5 by SkinMedica. Renews skin and diminishes the appearance of fine lines.
Enhances skin tone, texture, and resiliency. Diminishes appearance of fine lines and coarse wrinkles. Enhances skin tone and texture.
Moisturizer: The VI Derm® Complete Care Oily Skin helps reduce skin oiliness for fresher, clearer skin. It also works to repair skin damage, improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin texture while protecting against future damage.
- Vitamin A (Retinol): Suppresses pigmentation and stimulates elastin production
- Green Tea: Antioxidant – Helps protects against UV damage
- Coffee Berry: Antioxidant – Helps minimize fine lines, evens skin tone and suppresses pigmentation
- Vitamin C: Antioxidant – Photo protectant and skin brightener
- Salicylic Acid: Reduces skin surface oiliness
- Glycolic Acid: Helps strengthen skin structure and exfoliates
- Azelaic Acid: Helps suppress future pigmentation
Sunscreen: We carry SkinMedica, a sunscreen with a touch of color. It has a lightweight formulation and gives you the highest level of UVA protection available, along with UVB coverage in a mineral shield that’s gentle to your skin. It is appropriate for post procedure and sensitive skin types.
Protecting your skin from the sun is essential to the long-term success of your acne treatment program, especially if you have Asian, brown, or black skin. The darker your skin is, the greater potential you have for long-term discoloration of your skin.
- Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide: provides broad spectrum UV protection by reflecting, scattering and absorbing UV rays.
We offer microneedling as well as two specialized medical grade peels to help treat your acne.
Not only does microneedling help treat acne scars, but it can also help treat and stop acne. How exactly it helps acne is not well understood but it seems to be due to the fact that microneedling results in a reduction in sebum production and makes the skin less oily.
For more information: MICRONEEDLING
MEDICAL GRADE PEELS
VI PEEL®: This peel contains a combination of tricyclic acid (TCA), retinoic acid (vitamin A), salicylic acid, phenol, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). This synergistic blend helps improve tone, texture, and clarity of your skin. It is also very effective on acne, as it unclogs pores. It is safe for all Fitzpatrick skin types. It is approved for age 13 and above.
ARIA FLAWLESS: Salicylic acid peels have been used to treat various skin disorders for more than 2,000 years. It is particularly effective for skin with acne and is safe for use in Fitzpatrick skin types I – III, and in lower concentrations can be used in Fitzpatrick skin types IV – VI. Salicylic acid helps unclog pores to resolve and prevent lesions. It does not have any effect on sebum production and does not kill bacteria. There is no down time with this peel.
At Aria Aesthetics and Wellness, we want to provide our patients with safe and effective treatments for acne. We do not prescribe oral antibiotics, oral contraceptives, or isotretinoin (Accutane). When taking these types of medications, you need to follow closely with a dermatologist. The treatments that we offer at Aria Aesthetics and Wellness can often be combined with the therapy you receive at a dermatology office.
For further reference about acne:
American Academy of Dermatology. Get expert insights into the care and treatment of your skin, hair, and nails for a lifetime of healthy habits
A good site that has acne treatment reviews, product reviews, articles, and a skin type test.