Think acne and you think “teenager.” Think again: Researchers believe that acnes is present in up to 54% of adult women and in 40% of adult men. The bad news is that half of the affected women don’t respond to traditional therapy, such as benzoyl peroxide, retinoids and antibiotics. The good news is that today’s technological advances have made it possible to dramatically lessen eliminate acne and acne scars using alternative means such as lasers, chemical peels and vitamins.
“For people who can’t or don’t like to take medication or for whom standard treatments don’t work, lasers and peels can produce a very pleasing and long-lasting result,” says Joshua Fox, MD, a leading NY dermatologist and founder of Advanced Dermatology and The Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery.
Acne, according to one theory is caused by skin cells that do not shed properly and plug pores, causing oil and bacteria to be trapped inside. As the oil and bacteria accumulates, the skin becomes inflamed and pushes up, forming the dreaded zits and blackheads. The most common type of acne shows up on the face, neck, shoulders, back, and chest.
“Each case is different and patients should discuss the right type of acne intervention for their situation with their dermatologist, ” adds Dr. Fox. “Some considerations to keep in mind when evaluating the options are that laser and chemical treatments are less messy than the daily application of creams and lotions, and unlike oral antibiotics medications, they are non-systemic,” Dr. Fox adds. Following are some of the most popular non-medication treatments to consider for acne:
A chemical solution is applied to the skin, which strips away dead skin cells. A light peel – which penetrates only the top skin layers — can lessen acne pimples, and decrease the size of large pores. This is done in the dermatologist’s office, and may leave some redness and peeling for a few days.
Aura TM Laser targets acne pustules, leaving only mild to moderate redness and swelling that will fade quickly. A prospective clinical study indicates that over 90% of patients treated experience marked reduction in acne lesions.
V-BeamTM or Blue Light, a pulse dye laser, works well with mild to moderate acne. It selectively eliminates the small blood vessels that are associated with the inflammation “redness.” With these vessels gone, the acne is more controlled. After one or two treatments of about fifteen minutes each, patients should see results in a month. Amino levulinic acid (ALA) can be utilized with this laser to maximize results. There is no downtime, only some redness or swelling for 1 day.
VBeamTM treats the bacteria that cause acne, as well as the redness and swelling that often comes along with the condition. Result? Clear, blemish-free skin. Delivering the safety and efficacy of the clinically proven pulsed dye laser, VBeam also minimizes post-operative bruising seen with earlier pulsed dye lasers.
SmoothbeamTM is a new, noninvasive laser treatment that targets and heats collagen in the upper dermis while protecting the epidermis. This laser is the first device specifically designed to target the root cause of acne, the sebaceous gland. With a patented cooling device that makes the procedure relatively discomfort-free, it also safely improves acne scars. A typical treatment will take between ten and thirty minutes, depending on the severity of the case; several treatments may be necessary. There is no downtime.
Quantum IPL ® restores skins youthful appearance through a gentle, nonablative process that applies broad-spectrum lights to sun-damaged skin. It removes age-spots and broken capillaries.
Vitamin – Nicomide ® This new prescription medication is a vitamin which has nicotinamide, zinc, copper and folic acid ingredients which seem to help inflammatory acne. In some patients it may take place of oral antibiotics.
“Acne may not be just kid stuff anymore, but our arsenal against it has grown-up, too. There is no reason people of any age should have to suffer from acne flare-ups,” concludes Dr. Fox.