As a board-certified dermatologist specializing in acne treatment, I’m excited to bring you this Q&A focused on all things acne-related. Acne can be a frustrating and challenging condition, and I’ve seen firsthand the impact it can have on one’s confidence and quality of life. Keep reading, where you’ll find answers to the most common questions I receive, along with practical tips and advice based on years of clinical experience. My goal is to empower you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your skin health.
Q: Who Gets Acne? How Come Some People Get It More Often?
Who doesn’t? In the US, an astounding 85% of people between ages 12 and 24 experience acne, making it our country’s most common skin problem. Acne typically strikes in puberty when hormones fluctuate, and many people do grow out of it by their mid-twenties. However, adult female hormonal acne is on the rise with 15% of women being impacted. There are many reasons why some are more prone to more frequent and severe breakouts than others including other medical conditions, medications, diet, environmental factors, and genetics
Q: Does Family History Matter?
If you had or have acne, there is a good chance your kids will too. In the UK, a large study looked at 400 twin pairs and showed that 81% of acne was due to genetic factors. While we can’t change those genes, we can be on the lookout sooner for breakouts and intervene before acne gets more difficult to control.
Q: Can Stress and Diet Affect Acne?
It turns out the old wives tale about chocolate and acne has some merit. Even more impactful though is low/no fat dairy consumption. As part of many acne treatment plans, I advise reducing or eliminating dairy when safe and possible.
Q: Is It Safe to Wear Make-up or Will that Make Acne Worse?
There are many acne-friendly make-ups on the market. Look for “non-comedogenic” on the packaging as this indicates it will not clog pores and generate breakouts. Heavier, oil-based make-up can make acne worse or even cause it — acne cosmedica is acne caused by cosmetic products.
Q: What Types of Products Do You Recommend for Acne-Prone Skin?
I steer my patients toward a regimen that will help balance the skin microbiome, promote skin cell turnover, and treat without overly stripping skin of necessary hydration. A good acne regimen often includes a retinoid/retinal, an alpha/beta hydroxy acid, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and broad spectrum SPF.
Q: What Are the Best Treatments to Get Rid of Acne?
The best treatments are the ones that the patient feels comfortable using, will comply with regularly, and that suits the nature of the breakouts and underlying causes. There is no one treatment fixes all approach for acne, and there are many things I consider when I design treatments with my patients. For some, that may be topical medications, for others, isotretinoin (accutane). I have many patients using procedures like BBL Clear to treat acne.
Q: What Other Lifestyle Changes Do You Recommend For Preventing Breakouts?
Athletes should shower with a cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide or hypochlorous acid after sweating extensively. If wearing a helmet, clean the parts that contact the skin after each practice or game to remove bacteria.
Q: Are There Any Treatments That Help Reduce The Appearance of Acne Scars?
Q: When Is The Right Time to See a Dermatologist For Help With Acne?
The sooner we can start treatment the better. If we can address acne in it’s early stages, the whitehead or blackhead, we can reduce the progression in many cases to the red based inflammatory acne that can scar and leave discoloration.
If you no longer break out but are dealing with the aftermath of scarring and discoloration, don’t despair. We have many treatments to help clarify your complexion and get you truly clear.