June is Acne Awareness Month. Affecting all skin types and colour, acne can cause substantial physical and psychosocial impact and leave unwanted scarring and skin pigmentation. Let’s debunk some of the common questions and myths on acne:
What are some common causes of acne?
Acne can be driven by a combination of factors, such as hormonal changes, stress, diet and even friction (E.g. acne from wearing facial masks or “maskne”).
What are some ingredients in skin care products that can be used to treat acne?
Science-backed ingredients that treat acne target the different pathways driving the skin condition. Commonly used ingredients seen in over-the-counter or prescription acne products include various forms of vitamin A (retinoid), benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid. It’s important to remember that appropriate use is as important as the ingredient itself when it comes to acne-targeting treatments. Some of these ingredients however, cannot be used during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. That’s why it’s always a good idea to speak with your dermatologist or family physician about managing your acne to develop a customized plan right and safe for you and your skin. Especially when acne is deep and cystic, prescription oral medications may be needed.
How can acne-targeting skin care products be integrated into a skincare routine?
The basics of a skin care routine should include a moisturizer, cleanser and sunscreen. From there, select products that are formulated for acne-prone skin, or you may have seen the labelling “non-comedogenic” (won’t clog pores). “Spot” treatment is not ideal, since systemic factors drive acne. It’s better to be proactive to prevent acne as much as possible in the first place, rather than treat a spot once it’s already on the skin. Consistency with a skin care routine is also key to help fight acne.
Any general tips for dealing with acne?
Don’t pick the skin or acne spots! It’s a big no-no since squeezing or picking at zits can make them more inflamed and harder to treat, and may cause scarring and unwanted pigmentation.
If there is acne scarring and pigmentation, what are some strategies that can improve this?
There are a number of treatments that can be used to improve unwanted sequelae of acne. Some offered in our clinic include the PicoWay laser, a curated skin care routine or dermal fillers. Scheduling a cosmetic consultation is the first step to develop a customized approach to target these skin concerns.