Whether you’re an adolescent struggling with acne through your teen years or an adult humiliated by the complexion problems associated with childhood, acne takes its toll on your ego and your confidence. If you have outbreaks on your back and shoulders, you can cover them with clothing, but for facial acne, your options are limited to makeup and masks.
Unfortunately, both those options make the matter worse. Although mask-wearing to cover up acne isn’t really a serious solution, in the era of COVID-19, mask mandates have given acne suffers a silver lining for the time being. Sadly, the cloth coverup can irritate acne-prone skin and exacerbate your breakouts — called “maskne” — especially if you also wear makeup to hide your zits and pimples.
Instead of masking your acne, get rid of it. If you’re like most acne sufferers, you’ve tried every treatment you can get your hands on, so we understand if you’re frustrated. Dr. Robert Topham at Holladay Dermatology & Aesthetics in Holladay, Utah, treats all kinds of acne and firmly believes that there’s no acne he can’t help you beat.
However, acne is a tough skin condition that does its best to resist treatments. If you haven’t found one that works for you, you may not have tried the right treatment yet, or you may not have persevered long enough for it to work.
Here, Dr. Topham gives his advice on the best treatments for embarrassing acne.
Proper skin care is important for people with all skin types, with or without acne. But if you have acne, the procedure and products take on a weightier role.
Dr. Topham recommends:
- Wash your face twice a day
- Wash after you sweat
- Use a gentle cleanser (ask Dr. Topham for recommendations)
- Don’t scrub, just use your fingers
- Water should be warm, but not hot
- Don’t let your hair get oily; wash daily if necessary
- Don’t pick or pop pimples
- Don’t touch your face
Following these guidelines can help keep your acne at bay, or at least give you a healthy advantage when you begin your acne treatment.
Because acne happens when dirt and oil clog your pores and infect the follicles beneath the skin, one of the main goals of any acne treatment is to reduce oil, dirt, and debris (including dead skin cells) from building up.
Certain ointments, creams, and serums made with ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can dry up excess oil and neutralize bacteria. Many of these products are available at your local drugstore, but if your acne isn’t responding to them, Dr. Topham may prescribe something stronger.
Fighting some stubborn cases of acne requires reinforcements from within. Antibiotics can control bacterial infections and reduce your body’s inflammatory response.
For women, certain birth control pills that supply both estrogen and progestin disrupt the circulation of androgen hormones known to produce sebum, the oil responsible for acne.
Dr. Topham may suggest another oral medication, called isotretinoin, also known under the brand name Accutane®. This medication works on all types of acne, especially hard-to-treat cysts and deep nodules. While it’s FDA approved and generally considered a safe treatment, pregnant women should not take isotretinoin, as it may harm unborn babies.
Professional pimple removal
Although we stand by our statement that you should never pop, squeeze, or pick a pimple, some cysts are so large and infected that they will leave a scar even if you leave them alone. In this case, come see Dr. Topham for a professional removal treatment. He may extract or drain your acneic cysts or inject them with medication to send help directly to the source.
When your skin is overwhelmed by acne, it may need help from an external source to stimulate its own natural healing abilities. Laser light therapies are safe and effective acne treatments, but there are several types, and they each specialize in certain acne problems.
- Visible light: blue and infrared laser lights can treat pimples
- Photodynamic therapy: a combination of topical medication and light therapy that treats severe acne
- Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL): treats blackheads, whiteheads, clogged pores, and pimples
If you’re suffering from acne and feel like you’ve tried everything, don’t despair. Dr. Topham has seen it all and has never met a case of acne he can’t treat. To schedule an appointment, call us at 801-272-4408 today. When the COVID masks come off, you’ll have clearer skin.