Acne has affected just about everyone in New York at one point or another. Even if you’re not experiencing an active breakout, you might still be frustrated by discolorations and scars left behind by previous complexion problems. Whether you want to clear up your skin for good, or erase the signs of bad skin in the past, acne treatment from our practice using technologies such as Vbeam® Laser, Fraxel® Dual laser and eMatrix can help.
If you’re ready to learn more about correcting your complexion with medical-grade acne treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact us online today or call 212-535-3088. Dr. Michele S. Green, a board certified NYC dermatologist, practices the latest techniques at the forefront of skin care to give you the look that you deserve.
When the sebaceous glands function properly, they collect and excrete an oily substance called sebum, which helps to keep the skin healthy and prevent it from drying out. However, the very narrow channels through which the sebum leaves the sebaceous glands often become plugged. Acne is caused by this clogging of the pores and inflammation of the sebaceous glands.
Once these channels are blocked, bacteria that normally live within the sebaceous glands multiply rapidly, initiating the chemical reaction we know as inflammation. This in turn leads to the pimples and pustules typically associated with acne.
Depending on each patient’s unique needs, the goals of clearing up existing breakouts, preventing future breakouts and addressing scarring are accomplished by using a combination of medications, lights, lasers, facials, and peels.
There are several approaches that can be very helpful for controlling active acne and for preventing acne flare-ups. Topical medications represent the most common type of acne treatment currently utilized. Commonly used topical medications include the following:
- Topical antibiotics such as erythromycin, clindamycin, and sodium sulfacetamide to reduce surface bacteria
- Benzoyl peroxide to reduce surface bacteria
- Retinoids such as Retin-A, Retinol, and Tazorac to unplug the pores, gently exfoliate the skin, reduce inflammation, and increase cellular turnover
- Azelaic acid to soothe inflammation and reduce surface bacteria
It is very important that patients follow their topical skin care treatment plan carefully, as the ultimate amount of improvement obtained depends at least in part on how well patients take care of their skin at home.
Oral medications are often used in combination with topical medications. In Dr. Green’s practice, we may at times prescribe the following oral medications:
- Antibiotics such as minocycline, tetracycline, and doxycycline to control the growth of bacteria in the skin and in the sebaceous glands
- Birth control pills and spironolactone (aldactone) to control the hormonal component of acne (only in women)
- Accutane, as a last resort, to control acne that has been resistant to improvement through any other means of treatment
Extractions and Injections
Extraction of acne lesions refers to the drainage of pus, oil, and bacteria from acne lesions. Removal of these substances relieves any pain and pressure that may be present, shortens the healing time, and reduces the risk of acne scarring. Extraction of an acne lesion is occasionally followed by injection of the lesion.
Acne injections inject a dilute steroid directly into one or more acne lesions. When used in this manner, the steroid rapidly reduces the inflammation and redness in the lesion. Injection of a pimple with a dilute steroid is the ideal treatment when the skin absolutely and positively must look better within 24 hours. This treatment is one of the secrets of celebrity skin care.
Chemical Peels and Facials
Chemical peels may also be used to treat acne. Chemical peels for acne work by removing the surface layers of the skin, thus exposing the deeper less involved layers of the skin underneath. When chemical peels are done for acne, they are generally relatively mild. Appropriate peeling agents for acne include 20-40% glycolic acid, 10-25% trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and salicylic acid.
Regardless of the peeling agent used, a chemical peel for acne will help clear acne blemishes, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, lighten brown spots that result from acne (as well as from the sun or melasma), and smooth and brighten the skin. Patients undergoing chemical peels for acne will generally need to repeat their treatment approximately every four to six weeks. After an acne chemical peel, the skin may be minimally red and irritated, but the recovery from the peel is very rapid and should be complete within a few hours to a few days.
Dr. Green also performs acne facials with great success on patients – and then recommends an at-home regimen from MGSkinLabs. The facial begins with a surface cleansing of the skin and a light glycolic acid treatment. This is followed by treatment with steam and extraction of any pimples. Then, a soothing and purifying mask is applied to the face. The final step in the facial is the application of oxygen. The Acne Facial improves acne, lightens any dark blemishes, and leaves the skin glowing. The facial should be repeated at monthly intervals until the skin is clear, and should be thought of as an integral component of the acne care program.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary with each patient.
Laser Acne Treatments
Recent research has confirmed that the Vbeam® Laser is an effective laser acne treatment. Vbeam® laser treatment can significantly reduce both inflammatory acne and non-inflammatory acne. Generally, a series of three Vbeam® laser treatments are given at 2-week intervals. Following laser treatment, inflammatory acne lesions are reduced by an average of 85% and non-inflammatory acne lesions are reduced by approximately 70%. In addition, the laser will help improve acne scars and reduce redness in the skin.
For acne scarring, the Fraxel® Dual laser is the gold standard for treatment. With the Fraxel®, acne scars are improved over a series of 4 or 5 sessions. The Fraxel® laser utilizes Fractional Resurfacing Technology in which only a portion of the skin actually receives the laser light. With this technology, the laser delivers a series of closely spaced microscopic laser spots to the skin while simultaneously preserving normal healthy skin between the laser spots.
This preservation of healthy skin results in rapid healing following the laser treatment. The entire face can be treated with the laser in approximately 45 minutes, and there is no downtime following the procedure.
eMatrix is also a popular option for acne scar treatment. eMatrix is also ideal for all skin types, including Asian, Latino, and African American skin. The treatments work by producing a new level of collagen formation and healthy cells. Even though after one treatment you will see some improvement, the full benefit typically takes at least 3 treatments.
BLU-U Light Photodynamic Therapy offers another option for young men and women with moderate acne. The BLU-U Light kills the bacteria that cause acne breakouts, with treatments that take only 15 minutes once or twice a week.
If you’re frustrated with the appearance of your acne or acne scars, there’s finally a solution that can help. Contact us online today or call 212-535-3088 to learn more about whether our combination approach toward acne treatment may be right for you.