Education and long-term skin maintenance is key in the management of this skin condition and much more can be done than prescribed topical creams and oral medication.
Good Long-Term Skin Care – Good skin care makes a big difference! A skin care routine for acne not only needs to include topical products that help minimize the acne, but should also include ingredients that manage the long-term skin health and reduction of acne complications. Acne busters include azelaic acid; salicylic acid; mandelic acid; benzoyl peroxide, which is the least preferable ingredient of this list; vitamin B6; and topical vitamin A, which is also known as retinoid. To maintain skin integrity and prevent complications, products with essential fatty acids, vitamins A and C, peptides, and adequate sunscreens are essential.
Peels – Peels have been around since Cleopatra bathed in lactic acid to keep her skin looking younger and they certainly have their place in the management of acne. Mandelic acid, lactic acid, trichloracetic acid, and salicylic acid are valuable tools for the professional to use to improve acne, reduce breakouts, improve long-term management of acne, and reduce complications of acne scarring. No single type of peel seems to be better, although using a peel that only causes superficial epidermal exfoliation and can be reapplied weekly for four to six weeks and then monthly thereafter is more tolerable and yields very good results. Bringing the client in for regular peels not only improves the condition of acneic skin immediately by reducing hyperkeratinization, but also unclogs pores and temporarily reduces oiliness and sebum production. It also gives the client the impetus to return for another treatment, giving the professional the opportunity to ensure the skin care protocol is being followed at home and to provide further education.
Laser and Light Treatments – There is insufficient evidence to conclude that these treatments significantly improve acne. This treatment is not as popular with acneic clients as the cost can be expensive. Current literature points toward blue and red light showing slightly better results than blue light alone, with, at best, moderate, short-lived improvement of breakouts.
Education – Education is an important part of the management of acne and is most often overlooked by dermatologists, leaving it to the skin care professional to fill in the gaps. There is much to be said in regard to diet, lifestyle, skin care habits, and sun care that will help alleviate acne, as well as the frequency and severity of outbreaks. The time spent with a client while doing facial procedures is invaluable and the long-term outcome can be greatly improved with diligent education.
Skin care professionals pave the way for reducing the severity of acne, frequency of breakouts, and complications of acne, including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, scarring,
and social awkwardness.