Just about everyone can relate to acne struggles, whether personally or through a family member or friend. While acne is so common it can be very frustrating and difficult to treat. But don’t worry that’s what we are here for! In order to get the best results a multifaceted approach is often required. This is based on how acne is formed.

Acne is a skin condition of the hair follicle and oil glands, combined known as the pilosebaceous unit. Key factors in the formation of acne include plugging of the hair follicle, bacteria colonizing the hair follicle, release of inflammatory mediators and excess sebum (or oil) production. For decades our treatment has targeted these various components with combinations of creams and oral medications.

Now we have a new way to treat acne, and with long lasting results! Just this year a new laser device, AviClear, was approved for the treatment of acne. This laser specifically targets the sebaceous glands and essentially hits the reset button to their pre-puberty state. With just three treatments patients are seeing results comparable to oral isotretinoin, which is typically our most effective acne medication. AviClear is well tolerated and is great for both teens and adults of all skin types. There is no downtime and usually no need to continue other acne medications once results have been achieved. We are all very excited to have another tool to help our patients look and feel their best!

If you are struggling with acne here are a few tips to try before coming to see a dermatologist:

  • Wash your face morning and night with a mild face wash such as Elta MD Foaming face wash.
  • Try a benzoyl peroxide wash several nights weekly (watch out, this ingredient can bleach towels and linens so rinse well).
  • Use retinol at night (start 2-3 nights a week to avoid irritation). I like Alastin Renewal Retinol .25.
  • Don’t be afraid to moisturize! This will help your skin not overcompensate with extra oil.
  • Use makeup and creams labeled non-comedogenic which will not worsen your acne or clog pores.
  • Be patient and consistent. Acne usually takes about 2-3 months to improve after starting a new routine.

- Caitlyn Foote, MD, FAAD