Acne—Patient Information

What causes acne? Acne is has three major components. For most, although not all, all three components play a role in acne.

  1. Pores can become clogged. Clogged pores are not caused by dirt! Pores get clogged because the process of skin sloughing (when dead cells fall off) does not occur properly. The dead cells, along with sebum (the oils made from the pores), clog the hair follicles (pores). Some make-ups can clog pores. Therefore, it is recommended that “oil-free” make-ups that are “non-comedogenic” (which means does not clog pores) be used. Additionally, some hair gels and greases can also clog pores.
  2. A bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes can inhabit the hair follicles (pores). In some people, this results in inflammation of the skin that results in papules (red bumps), pustules (“white-heads’), or cysts (bumps under the skin).
  3. Hormones can play a significant role. Most adolescents experience acne due to the increase in “hormones”. Often, women experience a flare of acne approximately one week before menses. This too is due to “hormones”.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR ALL ACNE PATIENTS: Use all medications exactly as prescribed!!! It takes 6 weeks or longer to see any significant effects of the medications (both pills and creams). Be patient! Therefore, it is essential that you continue to use your medications as prescribed until your next scheduled appointment so that the effects of treatment can be properly assessed. If you have any questions or problems please call our office immediately so that we can ensure that you are receiving the most effective treatment possible. Unless approved by your doctor, it is not recommended that any over-the-counter acme products be used in conjunction with those prescribed. Do not use facial scrubs, masks, harsh cleansers, or astringents unless approved by your doctor. Not all medications are safe to use if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Topical Medications

IMPORTANT NOTE: Unless otherwise instructed, topical medications for acne are not to be used as a “spot ” treatment—do not apply to pimples only. In fact, these medications do little to improve existing acne and work best to prevent new acne from forming. Be patient as it takes at least 4 to 6 weeks to see the effects of treatment. Moisturizers and make-ups can be applied after the medication is applied. Most topical medications are antibiotics or have antibiotic-like properties. Our RSB SkinCare Acne Kit is strong enough to handle most mild-moderate inflammatory acne cases and mild cases of clogged pores. Add the over-the-counter Differin Gel (available in any drug store) to this regimen and most patients will have great results. Call to order your kit today!

The Silk’n Blue Acne Solution device, available at Amazon and Macy’s for approximately $150, has been shown to reduce inflammatory acne lesions. It is not very effective against clogged pores (blackheads). For patients who do not want to take oral antibiotics, this may be a good option to add to a topical regimen. This in combination with the RSB SkinCare Acne Kit is a acne-killing combination. Call 954-421-3200 to order your kit now (8:30 am – 4:30 pm M-R E.S.T.)

-For patients with acne prone skin-

Avoid cosmetics that have more than 10 ingredients.
Facial foundations in the form of powder are preferable. Loose powder can be very helpful and can help absorb oil.

Patients who used pressed powder should make sure that powder is pressed with mineral oil and not isopropyl myristate.

Patients who use liquid or cream foundations should select silicone- based products – products containing dimethicone or cyclomethicone. Silicone does not clog pores, does not cause acne, is non-greasy, and applies easily.

Patients who use mascara should select solvent-based products – not water based products, which easily smudge on acne-prone skin.

On oily skin, polymer eyeliners may last longer than pencil eyeliners. Patients who prefer pencil eyeliners can prevent them from smudging (and therefore have them last longer) if they apply foundation and loose powder before the eyeliner.

Eye shadows with pressed powder are preferable (talc control oils).
Lip cosmetics with low oil content are preferable (oil increases the risk of clogged pores around the lips).

Lip crayons, lip liners, and lipsticks are preferable over lip creams and lip-glosses.
Patients should avoid cosmetics (especially blushes) containing D&C red dyes (i.e. xanthenes, monoazoanilines, fluourans, indigoids) and consider using cosmetics containing the pigment carmine. D&C red dyes clog pores whereas carmine does not. Unfortunately, carmine cosmetics can be expensive and may not be readily available. Blushes are problematic because they are more likely to contain D&C red dyes, are they are used more regularly (other cosmetics are rotated and thus are used less frequently).

Patients who assume that “natural” products are better for their skin should keep in mind that the word natural is undefined and unregulated and that products containing “all-natural” ingredients may in fact include substances that clog pores and aggravate acne.

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Robert S. Bader, M.D., Dermatologist