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I get many questions asking me about acne skin care treatments. Lately someone asked if there’s anything new they should be aware of in that field? There are some interesting lasers in works. Until then , here’s your best options to keep acne under control.
Firstly, some context: What causes acne?
Acne is caused by problems in the oil glands (sebaceous glands). The gland gets plugged with thick sebum, that hardens and oxidizes and bacteria accumulate, which then causes the body to attack the area with inflammatory cells (the red bump, tender and pus). The key is preventing the glands from getting clogged deep down and controlling bacteria. Superficial cleaning helps minimally because it doesn’t get to any of the deep clogs.
What are the best acne skin care treatments available?
There are lasers in development (not yet FDA approved) which should help to keep the oil gland from getting clogged deep and growing bacteria in the first place. Until then, we have to rely on acne therapy with gels, creams, antibiotics, spironolactone, Accutane (and generics), the Clarisonic, light peels, microdermabrasions, etc. These are all quite effective in all but the worst cases. BUT, it does take consistent use of meds and work to keep it that way! So be diligent in your routine. See my in-depth article about all these acne treatments here . It would be nice to have a gentle laser that works. We’ll see what the future holds there. For my recommendations on acne products you can use, see my handpicked selections on the shop here . Dermaquest Algae Polishing Scrub is a great facial scrub you can use once or twice a week (my favorite in a test group we did to find the best one)
Acne skin care is really different depending on if it’s mild, moderate or severe acne:
Severe acne that is causing a lot of discoloration or actual scars (pits of any size in the skin) needs to be seen by a doctor, preferably a dermatologist ASAP. The goal here is to prevent permanent scarring that a young person then has to live with for life! We spend a lot of time at my office helping people try to correct this type of scarring with lasers (here’s my laser recommendation to a reader with scarring from acne.) It’s much better to prevent it in the first place! And of course, avoid picking to lessen chance of avoidable scarring.
For more of my answers to readers about acne, see here