How To Treat Acne

What is acne?

All acne starts with 3 things: P. acnes bacteria, a pore, and sebum. When a pore becomes clogged with sebum (and dirt, debris, and dead skin), this provides an opportunity for P. acnes bacteria to clog the pore. The result is inflammation in the skin that is commonly referred to as a pimple. We refer to clogged pores as comodones when they are not inflamed. These comodones are what we know as blackheads and whiteheads. These can also become inflamed and turn into pustules.

3 factors that contribute to acne:

1. The pores are cleaned out regularly via cleansing (at home and professional facials) and the skin is kept in a clean environment.

2. Topical ingredients that break down and prevent excess sebum build up are being used regularly.

3. Systemic factors are controlled to ensure the body is not producing too much excess sebum.

Types of Acne

Acne can present in many different forms:

  • Cystic acne
  • Hormonal acne
  • Open comodones (blackheads)
  • Closed comodones (whiteheads)
  • Pustules
  • Papules
  • Fungal Acne

How To Treat Acne

  1. Keep a clean environment. This may sound redundant, but keeping a clean pillowcase, clothes, and phone are all crucial in preventing acne from worsening. Change out of sweaty clothes right away if you have body acne. Most important of all, never sleep with makeup on!
  2. Ensure your cleansing technique is correct. Have you ever really paid attention to how you wash your face? Technique is important here, and it can make a huge difference! When cleansing your skin, you want to make sure you have clean hands and a clean towel ready. Pump a quarter sized amount of cleanser in your hands and rub your hand together to activate it. Use only your finger tips to cleanse in small circles, ensuring you cover the entire surface area of your face. Spend at least 45 seconds on this. Then, rinse your face with cool or lukewarm water, and repeat! That’s right, do it twice! With the second cleanse, you will get a better lather and the cleanser will be able to penetrate the pores better, especially after makeup has been removed with the first cleanse.
  3. Use AHA’s and BHA’s OR Benzol Peroxide.AHA’s and BHA’s (Alpha-hydroxy acids and Beta-hydroxy acids) are a group of acids that work to chemically exfoliate the skin by causing dead skin cells to shed. This. is very helpful for acne as it unclogs the pores. AHA’s work on the skin’s surface, and BHA’s work deeper. These ingredients work in combination to effectively treat acne and brighten the skin. Look for: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, mandelic acid in your products). Blemish and Age Defense by SkinCeuticals is one of our top BHA products for keeping the skin clear and bright. Benzol Peroxide on the other hand, works by depriving the P. acnes bacteria of Oxygen, so it acts as an antiseptic on the skin. Benzol Peroxide can be drying and irritating on sensitive skin, so we recommend trying either Benzol Peroxide OR AHA’s/BHA’s to see what one works best for you. Our favourite Benzol Peroxide lotion works well for many people when applied nightly before moisturizing!
  4. Adjust Your Vitamin C Serum. Silymarin CF by SkinCeuticals is a Vitamin C serum specially formulated for oily and acne-prone skin. It is proven to reduce oil production and is combined with the wonderful antioxidative power of Vitamin C.
  5. Start using a Retinoid.Retinoids (retinol, tretinoin, etc) work similarly to AHA’s/BHA’s by causing cellular turnover to keep pores clear. It takes some time for Retinol to start working, but once it does, oil production will be dramatically decreased. We recommend starting low and slow with Retinol, and never at the same time as your AHA’BHA’s or Benzol Peroxide! Try using Retinol 1-2x per week to start, then work up to alternating nights with your other active ingredients.The best retinol for beginners is this slow-release Retinol by Vivier, as it is very gentle.
  6. Get facials and extractions every 1-3 months.Think of facials as a deep clean for your face! Aestheticians can see your skin up close to extract any comodones so that they don’t turn into more inflamed acne, and thus accelerate the healing process of your skin! Remember, proper a homecare routine is the most important, and facials come next!
  7. Try chemical peelsChemical peels are a professional strength acid peel that effectively penetrates the pores and kills acne bacteria. Skin cells are exfoliated over the 3-6 days following the procedure to result in clearer and brighter skin. Chemical peels can be an affordable option to incorporate every 1-3 months, as we have express peels available at a lower price point.
  8. ExcelV+ Acne Laser TreatmentThe Cutera ExcelV+ Acne treatment uses a 1064nm wavelength to effectively target inflamed pustules and cysts to kill the acne-causing bacteria. This treatment is followed by Laser Genesis.
  9. Laser Genesis.Laser Genesis is a gentle laser treatment that is fast, painless, and effective for acne, and it requires no downtime! This laser works by heating the skin to kill bacteria in the pore. It feels like a warm prickling sensation, and you’ll be in and out in about 20 minutes! We recommend a series of 5 treatments done every 2 weeks to target acne.
  10. Look at Systemic Factors.Diet and hormones can play a large part in sebum production. Do you eat alot of sugar? Have you just come off birth control pills? We recommend speaking with a Doctor regarding potential hormone imbalances that can affect acne. Sometimes, medical intervention is necessary via antibiotics or Accutane to control oil production. Whether this route is taken before or after the above reccomendations largely comes down to personal preference.
  11. Slow and steady wins the race.When dealing with acne, it is important to change one thing at a time, and be consistent! If you change too many things at once, you risk more inflammation and unhappy skin! It’s also impossible to tell what worked and what didn’t.

Can Acne Be Cured?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for acne, but it can be kept under control with the use of topical treatments, professional treatments, and lifestyle modifications.

Acne Laser Treatment

Our most effective treatment for acne is the Cutera ExcelV+ Acne Treatment, which kills acne-causing bacteria and reduced the size and activity of the sebaceous glands to prevent future breakouts.

There we have it! For a more in-depth discussion about acne treatment in Calgary, come for a complimentary consultation to speak to our skin experts about your acne.