For many, acne isn't a bad memory associated with high school. For many adults, acne is a persistent problem that has actually gotten worse with age. This is precisely why so many topical acne solutions and medical grade acne treatments are formulated with adult skin in mind. From heavy duty microdermabrasion treatments, to laser acne treatments, to blue light acne treatments, and IPL Photofacial for acne—your acne removal options are endless.
To make sure you're aware of your acne solutions, we wanted to give you a detailed break down of today's most popular acne treatments. Let's start with medical grade spa treatments.
Laser Acne Treatments
Generally speaking, lasers for acne are reserved for patients with severe cystic acne. Mild to moderate problem skin can usually be treated successfully with less invasive methods, and should always be considered first. However, for those who have suffered with disfiguring acne with no relief, lasers have offered patients fantastic results. One of the most popular lasers used by laser experts and dermatologists today is the Aramis laser for acne. Aramis, like most other laser acne treatments, is light-based and works by shrinking the subaceous glands that are responsible for producing oil. It also smoothes even deeply pitted acne scars with multiple treatments. While the Aramis laser has proven to be extremely effective for patients of all ages, as is the case with other laser procedures, you will require at least 3 treatments to see results (usually between 4 and 6).
Blue Light for Acne
As many of us have found, sunlight can be a short term solution for acne. Unfortunately, the UV rays will ultimately damage and age the skin. What if you were able to harness light's healing powers while still blocking its damaging properties? Well, that's precisely what occurs with both blue and red light skin therapy. When skin is exposed to low levels of UV light, it kills the bacteria in the pores, a large contributor to acne breakouts. A recent studied has shown that up to 70% of patients saw improvement in their acne over a 3 month time period, and preferred the blue light therapy for acne over benzoyl peroxide topical treatments. You should also know that you can purchase "home light boxes" rather than going to a skincare professional. Many people claim they work as well as in-office treatments, but they aren't cheap. If you're interested in looking at home light therapy devices to treat your acne, Omnilux is today's most popular brand.
Glycolic Chemical Peel for Acne
Acne is primarily caused by dirt, oil, and bacteria. Dead skin cells carry these skin pollutants which in turn, cause break outs. Glycolic acid acne peels are effective because they break down the bonds that hold skill cells together, causing dead skin to slough or peel off after about 2-4 days. This may sound painful (not to mention, a little gross), but it's actually harmless and does not cause the severe peeling associated with heavy duty chemical peels (i.e. the phenol peel). After about 3 treatments, you'll notice that a lot of your skin's problems begin to improve, including large pores, uneven skin pigmentation, acne scarring, and of course, your acne.
Topical Acne Solutions
With all of the laser and light treatments, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels being used to treat acne, you would think topical acne solutions would become less and less popular. Well, that's far from the truth. In fact, clinical grade skincare sales are on the rise, largely due to the popularity of medical spas carrying highly effective skincare lines. Here are a few of today's most popular topical acne treatments:
ProActiv® Acne Solution
Launched in 1995, ProActive solution works as a combination therapy to treat mild to moderate acne. ProActiv kits can usually be purchased off television infomercials, but there are kiosks set up in major shopping centers as well. The fact that Proactiv Solution is mainly sold through television advertising does leave many people to wonder if the solution actually works, or it another hoax? According to the creators of Proactiv Solution, Katie Rodan, M.D. and Kathy A. Fields, M.D., they have chosen the infomercial marketing medium because they can thoroughly explain how all of the components work together to give you clearer, smoother skin. This being said, what is Proactiv made up and how does it work?
Although Proactiv is available in a milder version of salicylic acid, its original formula contains benzoyl peroxide, along with sulfur and a blend of natural botanical extracts. The entire system consists of three steps: Step 1 - Renewing Cleanser, Step 2 - Revitalizing Toner, and Step 3 - Repairing Lotion. There is also a Refining Mask that can be used once a week that is developed to treat active acne. And in case you're wondering, the benzoyl peroxide concentration is 2.5%. For best results, Rodan and Fields recommend you use the Proactiv 3 Step System once a day, for best results. The most common Proactiv side effects include redness, dry skin, and stinging during application (usually when the toner is applied). This is typical and should go away within about a week of treatment. However, if you should experience any blistering, or a painful rash, discontinue use and see your dermatologist as the peroxide concentration could be too high for your skin. In which case, you may want to switch to the salicylic acid version.
PCA Skin® - Clinical Skincare
Available exclusively through dermatologists and medical spas, PCA Skin® products have been creating scientifically and medically advanced skincare products for over 20 years. Developed as another combination treatment therapy, PCA Skin targets the four causes of acne, diminishing redness, treating active acne, preventing future breakouts, while keeping the skin hydrated.
If you consider yourself as having oily or problem skin, the typical PCA treatment regimen would involve
- Facial Wash Oily/Problem: Morning & Night
- A & C Synergy Serum: Morning Optional - Night Recommended
- Acne Gel: Morning & Night
- Clearskin Moisturizing Cream: Night
- Protecting Hydrator SPF 25: Morning
The developers of PCA Skin analyzed what they refer to as the acne disease pathway to create products that kill bacteria at the cellular level. Compared to Proactiv® Solution, the concentration of benzoyl peroxide is twice as much at 5%, and the other active ingridients include Vitamin A, Bisbolal (found in cammomile and known as an anti-inflammatory), Licorice Root Extract, as well as Cucumber and Lemon Grass. PCA Skin is also world renown for it's at-home chemical peels that are available for all skin types and skin conditions.
The main downfall of PCA is that it is quite expensive when compared to over-the-counter or drug store acne treatments, but it is highly effective when used properly and consistently. Also, some people really like the idea of finding the one acne solution that offers the great results and sticking with it.
Retin-A for Acne
In a nutshell, Retin-A is a powerful prescription acne treatment that helps the skin renew itself. Dermatologists prescribe Retin-A for wrinkles, skin discoloration, skin roughness, and for acne. Retin-A (properly known as Tretinoin) is a topical form of Vitamin A, and is marketed under Avita for treating acne and acne scarring. Retin A is a powerful acne prescription and as such, it can cause significant skin irriation. If you're using Retin-A for acne, you should avoid direct sunlight as your skin is much more susceptible to burning. Some patients find that they can only use Retin-A in the morning or at night, to avoid uncomfortable burning and itching. However, as many Retin-A users will tell you, once your skin becomes used to this powerful prescription, it's ability to help your skin regenerate new skin cells dramatically improves the appearance of the skin, making it smoother and blemish free.
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