The Best Acne Treatments for Your Skin Type

If you're an adult, chances are pretty good that you have had acne at some point in your life. In fact, one in eight teenagers has acne, as do many adults—making it the most common skin condition in the United States. Many people assume acne will clear up on its own, and for some lucky people, it can; however, if handled improperly, acne can result in unsightly scars that last a lifetime. If you suffer from acne, it's important that it is treated under the care of a board-certified dermatologist who can help ensure it is simply a short-term nuisance without long-term side effects.


Types of Acne

No two cases of acne are the same. Acne can be caused by a myriad of reasons and there are several different types of acne. Acne can show up on the face, neck, chest or shoulders in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or cysts. Common causes of acne are clogged pores, bacteria that get trapped inside of pores and hormonal imbalances. At your appointment at Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, your dermatologist will examine your acne and ask questions about your lifestyle to pinpoint the cause and type of your acne, then determine the best acne treatments for your unique situation.

The Most Common Types of Acne are:

  • Whiteheads – These round, small blemishes develop underneath the skin’s surface and develop a white or yellowish appearance.
  • Blackheads – Blackheads rise to the skin’s surface and can look similar to whiteheads, except they are black or dark.
  • Papules – When a pore or hair follicle becomes clogged with bacteria, a papule can form. Your immune system’s inflammatory response to the bacteria is what causes these clusters of red, inflamed pimples.
  • Nodules – Nodular acne is severe and is characterized by large, hard bumps underneath the skin’s surface. Nodules are painful and can lead to permanent scarring.
  • Cysts – Cystic acne occurs when boil-like, fluid-filled nodules appear deep underneath the skin. This type of acne is typically driven by hormonal imbalances and can lead to permanent scarring.

How to Treat Acne Effectively

At Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, we do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to acne treatment. While acne is highly treatable, everyone will not respond to each type of treatment in the same way. After thoroughly understanding the type and cause of your acne, there may be a period of trial and error before determining the best acne treatments for you. For example, if you suffer from painful cystic acne, simply using topical acne medications may not be enough to improve it—your body may respond better to hormone therapy or other treatments.

Do’s and Don’ts if You Have Acne:

  • DO wash your face twice a day with a mild non-soap, non-drying cleanser. Although surface dirt and grease can contribute to breakouts, acne is not caused by dirt. It is important to wash, but not too vigorously, as this can further irritate the skin.
  • DON’T squeeze or pick pimples or use a sharp object to open them. This can lead to infection, further inflammation and scarring.
  • DO make sure all cosmetics are non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t clog pores).
  • DON’T forget to consistently use acne medications (whether they are prescription or over-the-counter) such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
  • DO wear sunscreen daily and resist the urge to sunbathe or tan.

Stubborn Acne Requires Unique Treatments

For acne that does not respond to these treatments, our dermatologists can offer other solutions to help identify the best acne treatments for you. The severity of your acne is a factor in determining the best acne treatment. For example, severe cases of acne may respond best to prescription oral contraceptives to inhibit endogenous hormone production or prescription antibiotics to fight infection in the follicle. Inhibitors of excess oil production, such as Retin-A or Accutane, could also help reduce severe acne. Additional treatments for acne offered in our office include:

Forever Clear BroadBand Light™ BBL

BBL™ is the next generation of Intense Pulsed Light therapy. It uses light energy to gently heat the uppermost layers of skin, thereby stimulating skin cell turnover to regenerate the growth of new collagen. It also induces a change in gene expression patterns of the skin, causing it to function like clearer, healthier skin. The Forever Clear BBL™ treatment protocol is ideal for acne patients because it includes blue light, which targets the bacteria contributing to acne followed by infrared light to reduce inflammation and post-inflammatory marks left by acne. Forever Clear BBL™ is a natural treatment that can help avoid the need for oral medications like antibiotics and Accutane.

HydraFacial MD®

HydraFacial MD® is a revolutionary non-invasive treatment option that gives an instantly smoother-looking facial appearance. In one session, it cleanses, exfoliates, extracts impurities and nourishes the skin with hydration, antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid. Additional serums can be used with HydraFacial MD® to address individual concerns, such as acne.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels can be highly effective at improving acne and acne scarring. They work by removing the dead skin cells that may be causing acne and stimulating the process of natural skin renewal. Chemical peels can enhance the skin’s color and clarity; tighten and improve texture for smoother, softer skin; and help to minimize the appearance of skin imperfections such as acne, dark spots and premature aging caused by too much sun exposure.

Acne Facials

Acne facials combine the benefits of extraction and skin-soothing serums infused with acne-healing ingredients. The extraction process will clean out dirt and other build-up from pores that may be causing acne while products containing ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid are applied to help heal acne. With regular acne facials, future breakouts may be minimized.

Customized Acne Skincare Regimen

In some cases, the scars left behind from acne can be more difficult to treat than the acne itself. This is why it is important to seek acne treatments under the care of a board-certified dermatologist who can develop an acne treatment plan that will help reduce risks of potential scarring. If you are suffering from acne scars, Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting offers a variety of acne scar treatments that can help you achieve clearer, smoother skin.

Acne Scars

At your first visit to discuss the best acne treatment options for you, your cosmetic team will review your existing skincare regimen for any practices or products that may be making your acne worse. We will then suggest an optimized skincare regimen that may include a prescription medicated facial wash, salicylic acid acne treatments or other topical acne treatments. For more severe acne cases, this regimen may include treatments like Accutane or Retin-A.

Choosing the Best Acne Treatments

We understand how frustrating your journey to smooth, clear skin can be if you are struggling with acne. We are experts in acne treatments and will work hard to identify which treatments are ideal for your unique type of acne and skin. Particularly if your acne is severe, it is important to treat it under the care of a board-certified dermatologist to help ensure you are not left with acne scars that can last for a lifetime.

To start your journey to clearer skin, schedule your consultation at Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, serving the Philadelphia metro area, including The Main Line, Chestnut Hill, Blue Bell, Gwynedd, and Flourtown, by calling 610.828.0400.