As summer approaches, we get more and more acne consults in the office. Many of these patients come in with the same complaint: Nothing works for their acne. Sometimes this is because the patient has been limited to over-the-counter products, and sometimes the problem is lack of consistency. My advice for those suffering from acne is that early intervention by a board-certified dermatologist is key to controlling acne and avoiding scarring. I give my Miami dermatology patients a regimen of medications and products tailored specifically to their skin type and acne pattern.
Not all acne can be treated the same. Patients are sometimes surprised that we recommend the use of moisturizers and sunscreen — they feel these products will cause acne. The truth is that products will not cause breakouts if they are oil-free or “non-comedogenic.” The moisturizers I like for acne-prone patients are CeraVe® lotion and XYY moisturizer, because both hydrate and restore the skin barrier so that patients can tolerate their acne medication better. The sunscreens I prefer are MDSolarSciences™ or BB matte cream if a patient wants a product with tint and coverage.
The patients who do the best are self-motivated, patient, and consistent with their regimens. Acne improves slowly, and it may take a month to see improvement. After the acne is under control, the focus shifts to treating scars and evening out the skin texture. That can be achieved by combining vascular lasers such as the Vbeam® for red scars and a fractional laser such as the Fraxel® for texture. It may take a series of treatments to achieve smoother skin, depending on the level of scarring.