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What is Acne?

A non-M.D. skincare professional can be incredibly effective without the use of any prescriptions. We have no medical doctors on staff; yet, according to an independent survey that was done in 2007 by Face Reality Acne Clinic, where I was trained, 90 percent of acne clients were clear within skin months' time. This is how we do things differently than a physician:

  • We educate you on lifestyle issues, drugs/medications, and comedogenic ingredients in make-up and skin care products that can exacerbate acne. We give you a strict home care treatment plan and follow up to make sure you understand what is expected of you.
  • We assign a home care regimen according to type and severity of your acne. We use formulations with mandelic/lactic acid, Vitamin A proprionate and, to a lesser degree, glycolic and salicylic acid. We couple this with the systematic use of benzoyl peroxide, starting slowly so that your skin won't get so irritated in the beginning. As you work with us, we adjust your homecare regimen as your skin adapts.
  • We coach you on the next steps in your home caer. We assess the condition of your skin during your appointments to see whether it is ready for the next step. If it is, we adjust the frequency of usage of your home care products not allowing your skin to get used to your current routine.
  • We do extractions every time you get a treatment with us, so your skin gets clear more quickly.

If you have been disappointed by the medical communities' attempt(s) to get your skin clear, consider having an Acne Specialist help you to get rid of your acne.

More information on how acne is caused

For most people, acne is an inherited condition of the pores. When someone is prone to acne, their pores clog with dead skin cells much faster than normal. Healthy pores shed about one layer of dead skin cells per day inside the pore, but acne-prone pores shed up to five layers of dead skin cells per day. The body just can't keep up with keeping the pore clear. Technically, this is called "retention hyperkeratosis" -- dead skin cells shedding more quickly than the pore can expel them.

Acne can often be seen as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pustules and is often extremely sensitive.

Treating this condition requires specific products, products that penetrate the pore and prevent dead skin cells from building up. That is why home care is so crucial.

To A scourge of teenagers and adults alike, acne is one of the least understood of all skin conditions--and one of the most common. Usually associated with youth, acne can last well into the adult years and sometimes throughout life. It's tough to treat, especially if approached as a dirty skin problem. And if not cared for properly, acne can produce scarring on the face and body that is difficult, if not impossible, to clear. Let's look at some of the myths surrounding acne and replace them with the facts.

Myth: Any skin condition that causes pimples, blackheads, and redness is a form of acne.

Fact: There are other conditions that look like acne but aren't.

Several other skin conditions look like acne. Rosacea is a hereditary skin condition that causes redness and can eventually develop tiny whiteheads and pimples if left untreated. Contact dermatitis can occur when the skin is exposed to harsh soaps or even sheets or pillowcases washed in harsh chemicals. It, too, can cause whiteheads, tiny pimples, and redness.

Gram negative folliculitis also looks like severe acne, producing pustules and deep cysts, but it's caused by a different kind of bacteria than common acne. This is a severe skin infection requiring medical treatment. It's usually the result of long-term tetracycline or topical antibiotic use, which sets up an environment for drug resistant bacteria. It can be treated with proper testing and administration of gram negative-specific antibiotics. It's important to see a dermatologist for appropriate testing and diagnosis before assuming that your skin condition is common acne.

Myth: If I have acne, it means my skin is dirty. I should use a stronger cleanser.

Fact: Harsh cleansers and excessive washing can make acne worse.

It's true that excessive oil on the skin can clog pores, but harsh cleansers and soaps will irritate the skin, making acne worse. Use a mild cleanser that doesn't dry your skin. Wash twice a day--before applying makeup in the morning and before bed. It's essential to cleanse your skin prior to going to sleep to remove makeup, dirt, and pollutants. Use a makeup that is water-based and noncomedogenic (non-clogging), and avoid cold creams or lotions that leave a greasy film. Your skin care professional is trained to evaluate your skin type and offer guidance about proper daily skin care and products. Consult your esthetician about the skin care and makeup that's right for you.

Myth: Eating chocolate and fried foods makes me break out.

Fact: A healthy diet greatly contributes to healthy skin, but eating foods, such as chocolate, doesn't by itself cause acne breakouts.

Research has never been able to prove that eating specific foods--even fried foods--causes acne. However, certain foods may aggravate it. On the other hand, eating a healthy diet contributes to better skin, especially foods rich in beta-carotene, such as spinach, apricots, peaches, sweet potatoes, and carrots. These provide the raw materials for the body to produce vitamin A, which is essential for cell growth and skin health. Citrus, tomatoes, and berries contain vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and helps the body fight bacteria that can cause acne. A healthy diet provides the building blocks for healthier skin, but eating chocolate or sweets occasionally won't cause acne flare-ups.

Myth: Sunbathing clears acne.

Fact: While limited exposure to UV rays from the sun may help clear existing pimples, extended exposure can make acne worse.

Extended sun exposure can damage skin, causing peeling and flaking, which translates into blocked pores--a primary cause of acne. In addition, sunbathing dries skin, which stimulates oil production. Excess oil combines with extra dead skin cells from sun damage, forming the perfect environment for blocked pores and breakouts. Ask your esthetician about oil-free sunscreen products for your specific skin type and use them daily. You'll not only help reduce acne, you'll also prevent skin damage that causes wrinkles.

Myth: I'll grow out of it.

Fact: Half of all adult women and one-fourth of all adult men have some degree of acne symptoms.

While it's more common in teenagers, acne is prevalent in adults as well. Some people make it through their teenage years only to develop acne later in life. The hormone changes experienced during pregnancy can cause adult-onset acne, but other conditions--the use of certain medications, exposure to chemicals, and other hormonal changes experienced in adulthood--can also produce acne symptoms long after adolescence.

Myth: I'm the only one who understands my complicated skin.

Fact: Your esthetician can help.

Your esthetician may recommend you see a dermatologist to help correctly diagnose and treat your skin condition, and she can certainly help direct you in the best ways to help support a healthy complexion. By guiding you to the right skin care products and makeup and teaching you how to use them, your skin care professional can be an important part of your team. Monthly facials specifically designed to gently cleanse and exfoliate your skin will also aid in healing and prevention.

Acne requires special attention in your daily skin care regimen and lifestyle. Let your esthetician support you in this journey to health through regular treatments and sound education.

Your results may vary. Results take time and depend on compliance to the entire program. Typically, results take approximately 3-4 months but could take longer. Aren't you worth the effort?