Everyone can relate to the horror of waking up the day before an important event and seeing a new pimple. For some, this is a rare occurrence and for others the outbreaks are severe and constant. The emotional liability is tremendous and deserves dedicated treatment. Acne is frequently considered an adolescent problem, but it is important to understand that much of the severe acne occurs in adulthood. Treatment is tailored to the type of acne being treated and ranges from home skin care to intensive medical treatments.
Home Skin Care:
Home skin care involves cleanser and creams the patient will use daily. The sensitive or dry skin individual will require milder agents whereas the normal and oily skin patients can tolerate more aggressive treatment. Your provider can help you in putting together a home skin care regimen.
The first step is cleansing. The type of cleanser is determined by the patient’s skin type. Some patients need a hydrating cleanser. Others need a cleanser containing an acid exfoliant. The face should be washed for 60 seconds twice daily.
Benzoyl Peroxide (BP):
This cream kills P. Acne, the germ that causes infected pimples; the ones with pus. Yuck! BP may not help hormonal acne. It is important that the product be “micronized” Benzoyl Peroxide. Micronized BP will penetrate the pores and reach deep into the skin where it is needed most. Most retail BP products are not micronized and just sit on top of the skin which is not very effective. BP can sting, especially on wet skin. If this is a problem for you, go over your face with the blow dryer on low for a few seconds before applying the products.
This class of creams help rid us of dead skin cells that clog pores producing white heads, black heads, and pimples. Studies show that salicylic acid is most effective for acne.
Some people like scrubs containing particles to exfoliate the skin. I do not think these are very effective and should be used cautiously. The abrasive particles can actually injure and inflame the skin. If you like using a scrub, limit the use to no more than 2-3 times a week. ZO has formulated a safe scrub using small magnesium spheres that avoid inflaming the skin.
This compound is helpful for most types of acne. Skin sensitivity can be an issue so start with a low potency product like Retinol and advance to more potent preparations if tolerated.
When home skin care is not controlling your acne, there are multiple options available at Pure Radiance. I will go into that in the next blog.
Mack Stewart, M.D.