Get the upper hand on acne – tackle the clogged pores

All acne lesions start with what is called the micro-comedome which goes on to be a comedome or clogged pore. Comedomes form from upper skin cell layers sticking together and not sloughing off, thus blocking the pore and causing build up of oil and debris in the pore. These build ups can be “open comedomes” which often have a black surface and are known as blackheads, or they can be “closed comedomes” which look like tiny pimples that do not have a whitehead on them – like tiny, under the skin bumps. Until comedomes are treated and prevented, acne will persist.

Prescription medications called retinoids work to loosen comedomes and change the upper layer of skin to minimize pore blockage. Topical retinoid medications include Retin-A or tretinoin, Tazorac or tazaratene, Differin or adapalene and over the counter retinol creams. Consistent and correct use of these medications is critical to success.

When there are a lot of comedomes or clogged pores, these creams are not going to do the trick by themselves. These clogged pores need to be physically removed. This removal is best done with a combination of superficial chemical peels combined with steam and extractions by a trained skin care professional – this is not for the home bathroom. An extraction is done with lateral pressure around the pore to remove the congested material.

Home care that complements the prescription creams and acne facials and peels include cleansers, lotions and masks that contain benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid or salicylic acid. All of these products exfoliate the upper layer of skin and loosen clogged pores.

Success in your acne treatment is often a matter of combining diligent use of prescription medications with in-office peels and facials and a good, complimentary home care regimen while not losing site of the goal – eliminating the clogged pore culprit for blemish free skin!

Keerstan Chaney, Charlotte Skin & Laser’s Aesthetician, is often utilized by our patients for chemical peels, acne facials, and product advice.  Keerstan says, “When it comes to treating acne or helping to prevent those stubborn breakouts if you are prone to them, skin care products are a must!  Cleansers of course are the first step for removing oil, dirt, bacteria and makeup. My favorite acne cleanser is Epionce’s Lytic Gel Cleanser because it gently eliminates harmful bacteria and relieves inflammation without disrupting the barrier.  As far as acne treatments go, I have two favorites:  Avené TriAcneal and Charlotte Skin & Laser’s Clarifying Pads.  The Clarifying Pads contain a 5% glycolic acid to exfoliate the surface and 2% salicylic to rid the skin of excess oils while unclogging the pores.  Avené’s TriAcneal is a mild retinol treatment with a glycolic and anti-inflammatory ingredient to gently allow cell turnover while calming the skin and aid in eliminating scarring that acne can leave behind. This combination of acne products along with  light-weight oil free moisturizers such as CeraVe’s AM & PM moisturizers you are on your way to clearer, healthier skin!”

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