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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 results.

Acne affects four out of five people at some time in their lives.

Topical Treatment
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. Typically, 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 use. 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 and clinical treatments.

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 same time?
  • Do you have redness in the T-zone area?
  • Do you have dilated or broken blood vessels in the T-zone area?
  • Does flushing occur with any of the following?
    - Exposure to extreme heat or cold
    - Spicy foods
    - Alcohol

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 Hormones.

  • 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 medications.
  • Lifestyle - drug or alcohol use, and inadequate sleep.
  • Environment:
    • 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 and dosage.
    • 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 conditions.

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 hair and
    skin care products
  • Only use detergents that are "Free & Clear"; DO NOT use fabric softener
  • 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 physician.
  • 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.

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Other topics that may be of interest: Rosacea, Food Reactions

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Eastbay Acne & Skin Care Clinic


Intelligent Skin Care for Women, Men and Teens Since 1989

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 2917 Salvio Street, Suite D
Concord, CA 94519


(925) 798.SKIN (7546)

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