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Q&A: Adult Acne Causes & Treatments

March 22nd, 2019 Share

Acne is a skin condition that not only affects teenagers; many adults are bothered by pimples, redness, and inflammation caused by acne.  In this post, I offer Toronto residents a variety of ways to clear up their skin and renew their confidence.

What causes adult acne?

Acne is caused by an excessive production of sebum (oil) and bacteria build up. Adult acne can be triggered by many different factors such as: hormonal changes and imbalances, stress, pollution, unhealthy diets, dehydrated skin, traveling, using the wrong cosmetics, overly exfoliating the skin, smoking, premenstrual and perimenopause changes, pregnancy and by heredity.

Are certain people or skin types more prone to acne?

Oily and combination “mixed” skins are more prone to developing acne due to excess oil production and dilated pores. People with a darker skin complexion (Fitzpatrick’s skin type 4, 5 and 6) have a higher risk of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) from acne breakouts, leading to significant alterations in pigmentation that can be very difficult to treat, alternatively resulting in permanent pigmentation changes.

Therefore, it is ideal to seek professional treatment as soon as possible, to minimize acne flare-ups and post-inflammatory pigment changes.

What are some ingredients that work well for treating acne?

  • Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) such as salicylic acid are greatly effective for exfoliation and calming inflammation.
  • Alphahydroxy acids (AHA) like glycolic acid and lactic acid have amazing exfoliating and hydrating benefits.
  • Polyhydroxy acids  (PHA) help achieve a more even skin tone and texture.
  • Retinoids help prevent build up of dead skin cells and stimulate new collagen.
  • Benzoyl peroxide is an antiseptic that helps reduce bacteria on the skin’s surface.
  • Vitamin B3 or niacin improves skin barrier function (along with the pearl lipids in our Forlle’d skin line), stimulates the microcirculation, and helps treat PIH associated with acne.
  • Hyaluronic acid is great for dehydration by providing continuous moisture to the skin, preventing the skin from becoming too dry.
  • Arnica delivers potent anti-inflammatory benefits and a calming effect.

What are important skin care steps for someone with acne?

Because each patient’s skin is unique, proper treatment of acne should include the following 3 steps:

  1. Have the skin analyzed by a skin care expert who will recommend the right products and treatments. Our Skin Instant Lab helps with this process.
  2. Follow a consistent skin care regimen at home using the right products.
  3. Visit a reputable clinic for professional skin care treatments.

A combination of home and clinic treatments delivers optimal results.

At home:

Treating acne requires an effective home care regimen that includes:

  • Cleansing morning and night, making sure make up is thoroughly removed before bed.
  • Using a mask 2 to 3 times per week. A great mask I recommend to my clients is Biologique Recherche’s Masque Vivant. It is purifying and rebalancing; leaving the pores minimized and the complexion brighter.
  • Exfoliating 2 to 5 times per week (depending on the exfoliant used;) Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 is a gentle yet active exfoliator that can be used daily.
  • Using an active serum to target bacteria and inflammation, and balance and purify the skin. Serum Complexe Iribiol by Biologique Recherche provides  all these benefits and does wonders for the skin; it’s a favorite for all my acne clients.

At the clinic:

In addition to consistent home care, an effective acne treatment plan should include professional skin care services, which may include:

  • Facials and chemical peels at a recommend frequency are essential in improving acne flare-ups. They help with inflammation, redness and minimizing acne causing bacteria.
  • Forever Clear BBL™ is a procedure that uses blue, yellow, and red light to effectively treat mild to severe inflammatory acne by eliminating acne-causing bacteria, and reducing inflammation and redness.
  • Blue light therapy is a noninvasive treatment for acne that uses light to kill certain bacteria on the skin (Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, on the skin); it is a form of phototherapy; blue light treatments are approved by the FDA and Health Canada for acne vulgaris that is moderate or has not responded to other therapies. Blue light therapy uses light in the blue wavelength to kill the bacteria.  There is no recovery time and the treatment has relatively few, if any, adverse effects.  Blue light is more effective when combined with topical skin care.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an especially effective in-office treatment. PDT controls resistant, hard-to-treat active acne by combining light (such as blue light or broadband light) and levulanic acid (Levulan®) a special light-activated solution that targets and destroys acne activity. PDT also diminishes older acne scars leaving your skin smoother.  By destroying the acne bacteria (P. acnes), this PDT also reduces the output of overactive oil glands in the skin.

Is there a way to quickly reduce redness?

A quick way to help reduce redness from acne is to apply a mask made by combining the following ingredients to the flare-up:

  • Biologique Recherche’s Masque Vivant (includes cucumber as one of its main ingredients)
  • A tiny pinch of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • A few drops of Biologique Recherche’s Serum Complexe Iribiol

This combination of ingredients delivers antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. I usually recommend leaving this mask on for at least 15 minutes. Before rinsing the mask off, I suggest holding an ice cube wrapped in gauze or tissue to the treated area for at least 5 minutes to help further reduce the inflammation and redness as well make it easier to remove the mask.

Another way to quickly reduce redness at the clinic, is by treating the red and inflamed area with BBL (broadband light laser therapy); this treatment provides immediate results.  BBL can be combined with our very soothing, anti-inflammatory, pore-affirming, frosty green masque by Biologique Recherche: the facial Beauté Radieuse Aux Algues Polaires.

For a personalized acne treatment plan or to ask questions, contact us using the online form or call (416) 929-9800 (Yorkville).

Gabriela, VISAGE Clinic and MedSpa senior medical aesthetician