Acne: What To Do Regardless of Age
Last week, my blog post concentrated on acne causes and other facts. I also discussed the nasty problem of adult acne that seems to be increasing in frequency in recent years. This week, I will discuss more treatments and new developments of this difficult problem.
In past decades, acne treatment was very singular in focus, meaning that only one type of remedy was used at a time. Such a medication concentrated on treating only one aspect of the many causes of acne. Recently, the latest philosophy is to attack acne on all fronts, and understandably so. Current topical therapies that work best use combinations of ingredients to keep the acne in check. These combined elements help to stop bacterial growth and reduce inflammation, sebum (oily matter in the hair follicles) production, & skin cell proliferation.
The best products for acne contain a combination of ingredients including retinols (that clear pores of excess cells and oil which can form pimples), benzoyl peroxide (that kills bacteria and increases oxygen into pores), salicylic acid (that kills bacteria and exfoliates) and glycolic acid (that eliminates old skin cells and fights inflammation). The acne products I recommend contain these ingrediants in various combinations. Maine Laser Skin Care’s own Acne Kits contain instructions on how and when to use the products and in what amounts.
For some acne patients, it may be necessary to use oral antibiotics to attack bacteria from the inside out. Doxycycline and tetracycline are among the most common prescriptions that work for acne. These antibiotics directly combat bacteria that feed off the oil and dead skin cells, and therefore treat and prevent pimples.
For many acne sufferers, topical products and antibiotics are not, by themselves, enough. In 2002, the FDA approved the use of lasers to treat acne. Since 2003, I have been using the 532 nanometer Aura Iridex laser to treat acne with excellent results. This laser treats the root cause by destoring bacteria, shrinking oil glands and reducing pore size without damaging surrounding tissue. Using the initial four treatment protocol over a period of two weeks can reduce active acne by as much as 70%. Old and new acne scarring can be eliminated or significantly reduced by using a combination of several lasers that can target both superficial and deeper scars. While the deepest scars will never completely go away, they can become much less prominent and can blend more easily into the person’s skin tone and complexion.
I am also looking to add to my regimen of acne treatments in the next year. The most likely to be added soon is Photodynamic Therapy (or PDT) which involves the use of a topical prescription called Levulan. Levulan highlights oil glands allowing the laser light to penetrate and destroy overactive glands also destroying bacteria. PDT helps to treat severe cystic acne, acne rosacea, and even some types of skin cancer. Another new treatment is the use of LED light for less severe acne cases (Blue Light is one brand name I have been looking at) with or without the use of Levulan or PDT.
When new treatments are available, I will let you know by this blog as well as adding the information to the website. If you have any specific questions about these or any other skin care issues, call our office at (207) 873-2158 or email through our website.