Acne: Know Your Opponent
As someone who’s been acne prone since my teens and still to this day, I know all too well about the seemingly never ending battle with acne. To stand a fighting chance against acne you first need to know what you’re dealing with. That means figuring out which type of acne you have so you know it’s weak points and what tools you’ll need to fight against it.
In the cases of mild to moderate acne there can be two forms: Comedonal Acne & Inflammatory Acne
What I typically see in clinic is that people tend to lean towards one more than the other but in some cases you can have a fair dose of both types of acne. Being able to identify which type of acne you have will start you off on the right path, so here are a few notes to keep in mind:
- Blackheads/Open Comedones present as small bumps on the skin and typically have a darkened center (which is excess sebum that’s been oxidized).
- Whiteheads/Milia/Closed Comedones present as small white bumps on the skin that have skin covering it, meaning they are closed.
Comedonal acne is best treated with topicals containing star ingredients such as retinol and salicylic acid
And of course I’m going to preach combination therapy, so pairing the right skin care with the right treatments is key to optimizing your acne fighting plan. With comedonal acne there’s nothing that beats good old manual extractions to decongest the skin. Extractions should be done by a professional who has all the tools to get the congestion out easily and safely as to avoid unnecessary scarring or further irritating the skin making it worse. A fully equipped esthetician will have a steamer, magnifying lamp, comedone extractors, lancing needles and most importantly a set of well trained fingers at their disposal. A good extraction session should not be underestimated and can do wonders for alleviating comedonal acne. I don't recommend self extraction as more often than not this causes more harm than good. Even as a well seasoned extracting pro myself, I still call on help for my skin because there are just some areas you can’t get to on yourself without doing damage... trust me, I’ve tried and without success.
In addition, other exfoliating treatments such as Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion, Microneedling and Dermal Infusion treatments are key as they will clear pores allowing congestion to expel and also prevent new acne from forming.
- Papules present as raised lesions that are pink/red coloured
- Pustules present as raised lesions with fluid inside and a white or yellow head
If you're up against inflammatory acne look for these key ingredients in topical acne fighters: Benzoyl Peroxide, Sulfur, Retinol and Tea Tree Oil. This type of acne requires an approach that focuses on killing P. Acnes bacteria and soothing the skin to reduce inflammation. The right skin care program will help to slow down your acne opponent but to really debilitate the acne you'll need to attack from every angle and this can be done with facial treatments.
An exfoliation treatment (Chemical Peels or Dermal Infusion) should be combined with light therapy Blue Light, Red Light and Broad Band Light for maximum efficacy.
Starting with an exfoliation treatment will clear the skin of pore clogging factors and open up the skin to allow for light therapy treatments to penetrate more effectively. Blue Light kills acne bacteria and shrinks the sebaceous glands resulting in less sebum production. Red Light reduces inflammation and nutrifies the skin to be healthier/stronger. While Broad Band Light reduces inflammation, kills acne bacteria and reduces sebaceous activity.
With chronic acne don't get ready, be ready!
At Skin Worthy, we value educating our patients on their skin concerns, if you are looking to address your acne concerns or would like to learn more, we encourage you to come in for a complimentary consultation. We will discuss your goals, assess your skin and decide the best plan of action for your specific needs.
call Skin Worthy 647-350-7546 to book your consultation today!
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