Acne: Causes & Treatments

Acne: Causes & Treatments

Oh, Acne, you are such a huge, challenging condition and topic, because there is not one truth that fits all.

Acne can be painful, persistent, incredibly stubborn and difficult to treat.

Causes of Acne & breakouts include:

  • Hormonal disruption & changes 
  • A bacterial disorder of the sebaceous (oil) glands 
  • Stress of all kinds 
  • Food & Diet can be a contributing factor, mainly because of the internal inflammation some foods cause in the body

Typical treatments of Acne include:

  • Ingredients such as Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic acid, Retinoids & other Vitamin A derivatives can help control oil production and accelerate healing from breakouts. 
  • *Beware of benzoyl peroxide getting on clothes, towels, pillowcases & sheets, as it can have a bleaching effect on fabric. 
  • *Retinoids should be used with a bit of caution as well. They can be effective in treating breakouts, and they can stimulate cellular turnover, making the skin more sensitive to the sun, so only use them at night before bedtime, and use a moisturizer with a sunscreen in the morning. Some people find that Retinol can make the skin red & flaky at first, so ease into using it, giving your skin a chance to adapt to this active ingredient. Begin by using every other night or every third night. 
  • Topical prescription Retinoids may be called:       Retin-A, Tretinoin, Isotretinoin, Differin, Tazarac, Tazarotene, or Adapalene.
  • Oral and/or topical antibiotics - being on antibiotics for an undetermined amount of time can be hard on the body, and can build up an immunity to the antibiotics. This is how superbugs grow stronger, and in the event that you will need antibiotics for something else down the line, it can be more challenging to find one that works well. Studies show that those receiving ongoing antibiotic treatment have an increased risk of contracting an upper respiratory infection.   Prescription oral antibiotics may be called: Tetracycline, Doxycycline, Erythromycin, Clindamycin.
  • Hormones in the form of birth control pills or transdermal patches for girls/women have been used to introduce estrogen and progestin and lower androgen levels, which can minimize breakouts.  
  • Accutane  - an oral acne medication with far-reaching and long-lasting side effects. Accutane essentially and effectively shuts down the oil production in the skin.     When a girl or woman is going to take Accutane, she will also be required to take birth control and pregnancy tests, with the understanding and agreement that in the event of a pregnancy, it will be terminated because the potential for birth defects is extremely high, and those defects are serious.                                                                                                                                                                   In my skincare practice, I work with lots of clients who have taken Accutane, and several of them report long-term effects such as digestive issues, chronic dry eyes & nose (the mucus membrane function can be affected, even after the Accutane is done).  Accutane has also been linked to anxiety, depression and increased rates of suicide.                                                                                         It is my opinion, Accutane should only be avoided and only used as a very last resort for those whose skin is being ravaged by acne, and only when other methods have been exhausted and proved ineffective.

Alternative & Holistic Therapies:

Acne Facials & Peels: Acne facials that include extractions to clear the blackheads and plugs of accumulated oil, sweat, dirt & makeup, followed by a light peel to exfoliate the skin and work as a “deep clean” for the pores go a long way in the prevention of future breakouts. 

Acupuncture is one of the best holistic therapies for balancing hormone function all over the body. I have found that it’s among the best thing for my clients who are struggling with systemic, hormonal acne. If you need a referral to a good acupuncturist, please feel free to email me, and I will send you the contact info of the amazing acupuncturists I know!

Home care regimen is key to building better skin health and maintaining results. I recommend: 

A good cleanser (Salicylic cleanser for truly oily skin or a gentle enzyme cleanser for combination or dry skin that breaks out)  

An oil-free serum with anti-inflammatories & antioxidants 

A balancing lotion for light hydration and oil control, a spot treatment for flare-ups 

An oil-free moisturizer with spf. Some clients need a good BB creme with coverage, and some more mature skin can use a Retinol Creme.

Light Therapy: Light Therapy and it’s benefits needs a blog post all of it’s own, so that will be coming soon! 

I use a Celluma Pro Light Therapy panel, which is FDA approved for the treatment of Acne, Wrinkles and Pain Management.

Celluma is a flexible panel of Blue Light, Red Light and Infrared Light.

Different colors of light are different wavelengths, and can penetrate the skin & body to depths depending on their wavelength.

Blue Light goes to the layer of the skin that contains the sebaceous glands & oil production. It creates a singlet oxygen molecule that kills the bacteria that causes acne.

Red Light goes to the Dermis, where all skin cells are born and the action is happening!  It stimulates collagen production, helps heal scarring, evens out skin tone, reduces redness, reduces fine lines & wrinkles.

Infrared light goes to the muscles & joints and reduces inflammation in those deeper tissues as well as at the surface of the skin.

I am seeing incredible results in my clients with Light Therapy treatments. It is accelerating healing and preventing future breakouts. 

Although some are seeing results in just one treatment, the truly transformational results come from a series of about 8-12 treatments, as in, 2-3 per week for 4 weeks.  

Scheduling can be tricky, so I’m offering a rental program that will allow you to take the light home and use it there for a few weeks!  Contact me for details if you’re interested!

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