Acne is a common, yet frustrating skin condition that almost everyone has some experience with. If you’re sick of performing an acne cover-up every morning, it might be time to consider cosmetic acne treatments.
Acne, even at its most severe is not life-threatening. Sometimes acne can lead to skin infections, but that’s about it in terms of your physical well-being. Mentally, though, acne can wreak havoc on your self esteem and can lead to social anxiety. Some people with acne withdraw from their social lives or find it harder to venture out in public. Depression and unemployment rates are higher among people with acne. Moderate to severe acne often causes scarring, meaning people who no longer have acne still deal with it long after outgrowing it or getting treatment.
There are a number of acne treatments that aim to treat the underlying causes of acne. Oral medications and topical drugs can control hormones or inhibit the skin’s overproduction of sebum, which causes acne. These drugs are usually very effective, but for some people the side effects of the medication can outweigh their benefits. Also, for others with severe acne, medication might not fully treat their symptoms. There are other acne treatments out there that aim to revitalize skin, reducing or eliminating acne without the use of, or in addition to prescription drugs.
Chemical Peels, specifically those that use salicylic acid are an excellent way to treat acne. The process is quick, and is similar to a facial. As the name indicates, a chemical peel is a process in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin. It works to remove the upper, superficial layers of skin and promote healthier growth in its place. The skin doesn’t peel immediately, but within a week at the most, your skin will begin to flake off. The side effects of a chemical peel for acne are similar to that of a moderate sunburn. Skin discomfort, redness, swelling, flaking, and dryness are to be expected following a chemical peel. Salicylic acid can help eliminate excess oil in the skin and remove blackheads. Chemical peels can also be used to treat acne scarring in a similar way. When skin is removed, healthier skin is produced in its place, which can tighten the skin and reduce scarring.
Light therapy, including laser therapy is a useful tool in a dermatologist’s kit for treating acne and acne scarring. Laser therapies, like DOT (Directly Observed Therapy) are a safe and effective way to treat a variety of cosmetic skin conditions. Laser therapies like DOT target the skin affected by acne and create thousands of small perforations in the skin. Newer, healthier skin then grows in its place, thus reducing acne and scarring in a manner similar to chemical peels. Before a laser therapy procedure, your dermatologist may have you take antibiotics and avoid tanning before your treatment (the laser works best when there is contrast between acne or scars and the skin, so darker skin makes the targeting process less effective). Taking certain medications or using certain topical substances like salicylic acid are not recommended in the week leading up to your treatment. The most common result in appearance from laser therapy is a slightly sunburned look.
Sometimes lumped in with laser therapy, High Frequency is a procedure that uses a glass electrode to treat acne. It is perhaps the best way to treat actual pimples individually. The glass electrode is applied to your skin with a charge which causes a ‘sparking’ reaction on the skin. This flash, or zap actually sterilizes the pimple and eliminates the bacteria contained within. The inflammation and eventually the pimple itself will be reduced after just one treatment. Redness around the pimples is noticeably lessened within a day or two of treatment. This procedure can be done very quickly, and can produce great, short-term results for important photos or events.
While none of these cosmetic acne treatments ‘cure’ acne, with maintenance any of them can keep acne at bay indefinitely. If you’re looking to improve your self-image or just want to bid acne a not-so fond farewell, reach out to the experts Southeast Dermatology Solutions.