Acne is a skin condition that, unfortunately, most people are all too familiar with. Although it tends to strike in adolescence, many adults remain plagued with red painful bumps, or even scarring on their faces. There are several treatment regimes that can address adult acne, or once it subsides, the residual scarring that may be left behind.
Not all acne is the same
Active acne is characterized by blackheads (comedones), small white heads (papules), pimples (pustules) and nodules that may be reminiscent of cysts. These are all formed by blockages of the follicles in varying intensities. Sebum, which is naturally occurring oil in the skin and dead skin cells are the primary contributors of said blockages. Fluctuation of sebum levels are related to hormone levels in the body. Accordingly, while most acne is most aggressive during adolescence, it can also resurface during each menstrual cycle as well as around menopause.
Steps for reduction and prevention
First and foremost, clear away any dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and eliminate any bacteria. If your skin is still going through breakouts, using a cleanser that contains salicylic acid is recommended. Otherwise, a gentle cleanser is best. A highly touted cleansing device is the Clarisonic ® cleanser. It removes dead skin cells, dirt and makeup from the surface 6 times better than cleansing with your hands alone. Not only does this work to clear the skin of any bacteria forming agents, it also preps the skin for optimal absorption of the products that are applied after cleansing.
Keeping in mind that acne is an inflammatory condition; the next step is to reduce existing inflammation by using a hydrating agent after cleansing in the morning. Ask your doctor about products that contain hylauronic acid or B5 agents. Finally, protect your skin from any outside factors that are able to cause further inflammation. The primary culprit of such inflammation is the sun. We recommend using a zinc oxide based sunscreen every day. For those who are suffering from adult acne, working with a good product line containing retinol has multiple benefits. Applied at night, the benefit of retinols reaches beyond reducing acne. Retinol is able to target and reduce pigmentation, which often remains from prior breakouts. It is also able to work on the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. However, it is important to note that this is a long term treatment, and while the acne may appear worse before it is better, if you stick with it, results should be apparent after 6-8 weeks of consistent application.
Aside from being diligent with your skincare routine at home, visiting a skin care center that is certified to perform medical grade facials can also help get breakouts under control. Unlike home care, they are able to utilize different methods to drive products into deeper layers of the skin, yielding a more aggressive treatment.
Once active acne is gone, acne scaring may still remain. There are different laser options to address acne scaring, however, this should only be done once all active acne is finished and the scars are no longer red in color. Lasers are used to resurface the skin at different depths. The deeper the laser goes, the more aggressive the treatment will be and more downtime will be required. By resurfacing the skin, you are removing the layers of the scar and promoting the growth of fresh skin. Usually more than one treatment is required for optimal results. Most of these lasers can be done once every 6 weeks.
Did you know?
Whether you or someone you know is plagued by current acne or the scars that remain from past breakouts, DeNova research frequently has trials that may help, and often at no cost to you! Past studies have included the use topical and oral medications as well as light therapy treatment. DeNova is always in search of breakthrough treatments and strives to stay on the cutting edge of new solutions. If you are interested in staying in the know, sign up to secure a spot on the DeNova Dish newsletter list below!