What is Acne?
Acne includes any and all congestion of the skin including whiteheads,
blackheads, pustules, cysts, and milia. Inflamed conditions are
characterized by soreness, redness, swelling, pus formation, etc.
Non-inflamed conditions are characterized by closed comedones (whiteheads)
and/or open comedones (blackheads).
Acne appears to
be caused by a combination of factors including hormones, heredity, and the
effects of bacteria found on the skin and in the skin pores. This disorder
of the follicle evolves from the buildup of dead skin cells and the
increased amounts of oil that stick together and clump up in the pores of
genetically inclined individuals. The acne bacteria feeds off this mixture
which leads to inflamed conditions.
All but the most severe grades of acne are controllable
although not curable. For the treatment of acne, Clinic recommendations
include a topical home care program to be used consistently on a daily basis
and monthly clinical treatments. For many acne sufferers with low grade acne
problems, a properly prescribed home care regimen alone can give excellent
Acne affects four out of five people at some time in their
The basic elements of home care for the treatment
of acne are a cleanser — appropriate for your skin type — a topical antibiotic
and a moisturizer. These are essential for successful
acne treatment. Eastbay Acne & Skin Care
Clinic offers several medical pharmaceutical skin care lines, allowing us
to customize a homecare program to meet your skin's specific needs. We have
also assembled two acne home care programs that are available for purchase
online. Other products such as Retin-A, glycolic acid and sulfur may be used in the treatment process to boost the program
strength, and control oily (or dry) skin, as necessary. This is one of
the reasons why professional skin care advice is important: self-medication
usually leads to misdiagnosis and the wrong skin care products being purchased.
Then, the skin care products are overused in the mistaken belief that "if some
is good, more must be better."
Glycolic acid is a safe and natural alternative to Retin-A.
It's a natural fruit acid that dissolves the glue-like bonds that attach dead
skin cells to the surface of the skin. It will not cause the dryness, redness or irritation
that is often associated
with Retin-A use. Glycolic acid products exfoliate the skin,
refine skin texture and even out the skin tone. Glycolic Acid also accelerates
the absorption and penetration of any solutions applied in conjunction with it.
With regard to topical antibiotics, glycolic can thereby increase the
effectiveness and deliver them deeper into the skin. This is very beneficial for acne-prone individuals. To avoid irritation, consult
with a skin care specialist for the appropriate solution and strength
for your skin type. There are no known allergies to glycolic acid but if used improperly it can cause redness, irritation and a
sunburned effect. Keep in mind that it is important to protect your skin from UV
rays whenever you exfoliate.
The most commonly used topical antibacterial is a
pharmaceutical grade of Benzoyl Peroxide. Other topical antibacterial
products are available. Various strengths are available.
Acne-causing bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they cannot survive in an
oxygenated environment. Topical antibacterial agents saturate the skin
with oxygen, and that inhibits the growth of
p. acnes bacteria.
It is often necessary to use both an exfoliant, such as glycolic acid, and an
antibacterial medication to achieve optimum results. Only 1% of the
population is allergic to Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) — most irritations from
BPO are due
to improper usage. It is considered to be a skin
irritant and it is important to slowly acclimate the skin to BPO products.
Clinical treatments are integral
to the acne-clearing process. Treatment begins two weeks
after the initial consultation and use of the prescribed homecare products.
This acclimates and preps the skin for the clinical treatments. Acne treatments commonly
combine a professional strength enzyme, 30-40% glycolic acid peel (or other
peel solutions as deemed necessary), extractions (deep pore cleansing), and
a therapeutic mask and oxygen therapy. The professional products used in
clinical treatments will significantly accelerate the clearing process.
treatments are continued on a monthly basis. For clients located out of the
area, we encourage you to make every effort to combine the home care regimen
with clinical treatments. If it is not possible to visit the clinic, try to
locate a skin care professional in your area who offers similar treatments.
If you aren't able to find a clinic in your area, you can still see an
improvement in your skin if you maintain the home care program.
For adult cystic acne that is severely inflamed and
persistent, high-frequency electrical current is very effective in relieving
inflammation and bringing the bacteria count under control. When appropriate, we
use a Dermawand in our clinical treatments; they can also be purchased for home
The oscillating current generates activated oxygen that
kills acne-causing bacteria. Clinical test results have clearly illustrated improvement in cell
oxygenation, increased circulation, natural exfoliation and stimulation in
lymphatic drainage. As noted previously, the oxygen has an antibacterial
effect; it purifies and cleans the skin. This results in rapid elimination
of blemishes. While high-frequency
current accelerates results, it cannot replace an appropriate homecare program
Oxygen Therapy provides many benefits to all skin types,
especially acne-prone skin. A unique combination of vitamins, minerals
and antioxidants are delivered to the skin, calming and reducing redness,
inflammation and infection. Oxygen promotes cell growth,
therefore accelerating the healing properties of the skin.
Another type of
acne is Acne Rosacea characterized by facial blushing in the cheeks and
nose. The treatment for Rosacea will differ from other types of acne.
If you answer yes to any of the
following questions, you may have Rosacea:
- Do you feel dry, itchy, sensitive and oily all at the
- Do you have redness in the T-zone area?
- Do you have dilated or broken blood vessels in the
- Does flushing occur with any of the following?
- Exposure to extreme heat or cold
- Spicy foods
If any of these conditions apply, we will
provide you with additional information on Rosacea.
Treatment is also available for razor bumps. The use
of a pumice scrub and/or glycolic solution prior to shaving will prevent
ingrown hairs and the resulting breakout that occurs with shaving. The
glycolic solutions assist with dissolving dead skin cells in the follicle,
preventing the hair from curling under and becoming ingrown. Pumice
scrub assists in keeping the hair follicle clear and is anti-bacterial.
Be sure to shave in the direction of the hair growth.
What Triggers Acne?
The most common factors associated with acne are Diet, Stress and
- Diet - Foods high in iodine, and refined starches and
sugars should be eliminated, as well as those causing allergies.
- Stress - Physical, emotional or job related.
- Hormones - levels fluctuate as seasons change, altering
the amount of oil produced (reaching their highest in October).
Hormone levels are also affected by pregnancy, diet, stress and
- Lifestyle - drug or alcohol use, and
- humidity induces excretions and pollution congestion.
- the improper selection and use of cosmetic products
have an influence on acne conditions.
- Pressure/Friction - i.e. caps, headbands, anything in
direct contact with the skin for any length of time. Picking aggravates
skin & induces scarring.
- Medications - many cause skin reactions:
- Some Birth Control pills make acne worse; others can
help. Consult your physician for proper Birth Control pill type
- bi-polar medications are known to irritate follicles.
- If you are on medication, consult a Physician's Desk
Reference (PDR) for any known effects on the skin.
High salt intake, kelps and seaweeds are irritating to the follicle and can cause skin reactions.
Food reactions can also complicate acne
Hormonal imbalances are at the root of many
skin conditions such as acne, hair growth and pigment changes. A number of
factors affect hormonal imbalances including: diet, pregnancy, menstrual
cycles, medications and various medical conditions. For example, ingestion
of Peanut Butter and any Peanut Oils will stimulate testosterone production,
which in turn upsets the natural hormonal balance and is known to stimulate
acne. For women, certain birth control pills will stimulate breakouts while
others help to control it.
For all types of acne, caffeine is a stimulant that
will contribute to skin problems, in even small amounts - it decreases
nutrient absorption, and has a dehydrating effect on the body. Water
is necessary for removal of toxins and is an essential nutrient. You
should consume a minimum of 8-10 glasses per day, more if you are prone to
skin problems. Smoking complicates skin treatment. Oxygen
delivery to the skin becomes impaired and due to its dehydrating effect on
the skin, acclamation to home care products can be difficult. It also
decreases circulation and increases risk of infection, both of which will
impede on the treatment routine.
Additional information regarding diet, water, vitamin
therapy, potential irritants, non-comedogenic cosmetics and much more is
available by contacting Eastbay Acne & Skin Care Clinic.
Many factors including laundry detergents, hair products, diet, stress and
lifestyle have a significant impact on the skin.
Overview to Acne Management
- Avoid excessive amounts of sodium
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day
- Take a good multi vitamin daily in addition to 2,000 mg of Vitamin C and 80-120 mg of Zinc
- Avoid the ingredient "Sodium Laurel Sulfate" in
skin care products
- Only use detergents that are "Free & Clear"; DO NOT use
- Be careful which cosmetics you use. (a list of
acceptable cosmetic lines is available)
- For women, birth control pills can help
control acne. Be aware that some "mini-pills" have been linked to acne
flare-ups. If you are on the pill and are still having acne issues, consult your
- Be consistent and persistent in your home
care and clinical care
Home Care and Clinical Care — A Powerful Combination
Home care and clinical care go hand in hand. Each one boosts and supports the
other. So, if at all possible, follow the prescribed treatment frequency to get
your acne under control, and then you can start to spread treatments out. Doing
only one or the other will help, but you'll find it will take much longer to
clear your acne.