June is Acne Awareness Month

We are in an age where we are bombarded with photos on social media, but it is important to know that 99% of those photos are RETOUCHED. Many patients draw comparisons and feel self-conscious about their skin but they are not alone. Everyone is trying to achieve clear skin and now, if you've dealt with acne in the past or are currently dealing with it, there are treatment options  related to your skin's imperfections to help give you that clear, glowing skin. 

Acne is a chronic problem for many people beginning in their teenage years. As an Aesthetic Nurse I see many cases beyond puberty and into adult acne on a weekly basis. It is an issue that women and men actively battle with through their 20’s, 30’s 40’s and beyond.

My patients have expressed their embarrassment about acne/acne scars and the shame that often follows. The first thing I discuss with my patients is their diet! Dairy can be a contributing factor to the congestion in the skin. So, we walk through their daily diet pinpointing the foods and liquids that could trigger acne. Secondly, we discuss their skin care habits like how often they clean their cell phone, pillow cases and if their boyfriend/spouse has a beard.  Once I have established the basics,  we speak about the best treatment options. 

I prefer to take the holistic approach for acne using modern medicine. The first step in a holistic treatment includes a Deep Pore Cleansing Facial, Blue LED light, a series of 3-6 VI Peels or Jessners Peels which are done monthly. Facial products with Salicylic Acid and perhaps an additional spot treatment like the popular Mario Badescu drying lotion.

If the holistic route is not as successful, then I refer my patient to a Board Certified Dermatologist. A typical western medicine approach to acne is usually an oral antibiotic such as Doxycycline, or an androgen blocker such as Spironolactone, in addition to a topical treatment like Vitamin A and, if all of the above methods fail then Accutane may be needed.

For patients dealing with acne scars from the past, residual redness, rolling acne scars and hyperpigmentation, I typically suggest chemical peels and the lasers treatment. The VI Peel is known to clear current and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, while the 20% TCA peel will help the texture and reduce the appearance of the scars.

If the patient has rolling and boxcar scars, these are addressed with a series of treatments which include alternating Microneedling with PRP and Pixel Laser resurfacing to help stimulate collagen and re-texturize the skin. With both of these procedures a manual subcision is incorporated into the depressed cutaneous acne scars which help to release the scar tissue and make the Pixel Laser resurfacing or Microneeding treatment much more effective. The good news is acne and acne scars can be improved over time.