Skincare Treatments for Acne

While most people will only ever experience the mild development of acne in their teen years, there are those that suffer a severe form of this skin disease known medically as Acne Vulgaris. This skin condition involves the oil glands at the base of hair follicles. Human skin has pores which connect to oil glands located under the skin. These glands produce an oily liquid called Sebum. The sebum job is to carry dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin, and if these follicles get blocked, a pimple can grow that results in an accumulation of oil under the skin.

woman hiding her faceAcne can be embarrassing and cause self-esteem issues in all ages. Understanding the signs of acne is the first step in determining which treatment may work best for you. Whiteheads are small blemishes with a whitish head whereas blackheads look like tiny dots on your skin. Both are referred to as comedones, which is another term for clogged pore. The next phase of acne is called Papules and occurs when bacteria, sebum, and dead skin cells cause inflammation under the skin. They are small hard lesions, but there is no pus in papules. Similar to papules are pustules in appearance, but they are pus filled. These types of mild to moderate acne should be treated to heal existing spots and lessen the chances of scarring. It is also advisable for those with a darker complexion to seek treatment at the early stages of acne to prevent hyperpigmentation.

If you’re experiencing large, red, inflamed blemishes that last longer than a month these can be symptoms of severe acne. Nodular acne and acne cysts are both types of severe acne and need a customized treatment plan. Nodular acne is usually painful and covers large areas of your skin. The nodules are lesions that are deep within the skin. Similar to nodules, cysts are deep under the skin’s surface as well, but they are filled with pus and are usually softer than a nodule. These severe types of acne are usually caused by genetics and if left untreated can cause scarring.

There are stronger medications and therapies that can help treat severe acne if over the counter products aren’t working. The following types of treatment are offered for severe acne:

Topical medications
These products work best on clean, dry skin and may take a few weeks to notice any improvements. The most common topical prescriptions are Retinoids, antibiotics, and Dapsone. These products come in a gel, cream or lotion.

Oral medications
For moderate to severe acne, you may need oral medications to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation. This may include a drug called Accutane. This powerful drug was used almost exclusively years ago, and in most cases, the first signs of healing occurred after two to three weeks of treatment although it could take as long as one to two months for the benefits to be noticed. While Accutane can be beneficial for some patients, the best results are obtained when combined with other treatments for severe acne.

Light Therapies
Photorejuvenation is a procedure that uses lasers or photodynamic therapy. It treats only the area that is required and does not affect the surrounding tissue. During treatment, a laser emits a controlled light that is absorbed by the skin. The body’s natural healing system encourages the production of new collagen to improve the texture of the skin. You will be asked to wear dark goggles to protect your eyes from the bright light. A cold gel is applied to aid in the absorption of the light. Treatment lasts about 30 minutes, and five or six treatments are recommended for maximum results.

Blu-U is a narrow band of blue light is emitted in this non-invasive, pain-free treatment that is safe for all ages and pregnant women. The light causes a photodynamic effect within the oil glands that kills the primary bacteria responsible for acne. While this treatment can be effective on its own, it can also be combined with other forms of therapy to enhance results. These simple sessions last approximately 30 minutes during which time you will sit with the affected area exposed to the light. Aftercare may include the doctor recommending special attention in choosing a sunscreen.

Levulan Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) combines light and a special light-activated solution called Levulan. This effective treatment controls hard to treat acne and may also improve skin texture, pore size, and pigmentation. Prior to applying Levulan, an active scrub or microdermabrasion will be performed to the treatment area. You will then be positioned under a Blu-U or IPL light in a darkened room. After the treatment, the Levulan is washed off, and a sun block is applied to the treated area before leaving the clinic.

Laser and Skin Care Medspa offer a free consultation to assess each individual before recommending any course of action. Please note that treatment is covered by Alberta Health Care and some 3rd party insurance plans. We also carry special medical grade skin care products and water-based therapeutic foundation such as the Jane Iredale Makeup line that aid in acne care and not harm your skin like some over the counter products can. We employ the most advanced treatments for maximum benefit for you. If acne is a concern for you, there are treatment options available that can help.teen with acne

New Year’s Resolutions

The new year’s bell has rung, and gym memberships are up across the country. You are not alone if holiday eating has you thinking it’s time to tone down on the food consumption and increase your level of activity. The top New Year’s Resolutions involves diet, exercise, and weight loss but with only 8% of those that set a goal for the new year actually achieving it, it seems to be more popular to set the target than actually to meet it.

Statistics reveal that of the 41% of those that make resolutions, only 9% felt they were successful in obtaining the goal the set.     

Diet, exercise, and weight loss are all great goals to work towards and even if you are not in the 9% that will reach their target, just setting a goal will have you more successful than those that don’t even think about it. The best way to optimize your health can be crucial to your well-being and your waistline. Here are some ideas that can help you cross that finish line.

Write out your goals.

This is one of the essential parts of goal setting. Writing out your goal not only helps you to remember what the goal is, but it will keep you focused.

 

Smaller goals leading up to the larger goal

A year can seem like a long time when you are trying to lose weight or become more healthy. Rather than becoming overwhelmed or disheartened, break the big picture into easy to handle pieces and think in terms of a month or week.

Create a plan

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. A program can help you see the steps you will need to take to achieve your goal. Celebrate each step’s success, and you’ll be pumped for the next one.

Stay motivated

Staying motivated is difficult when we don’t see any progress or feel stuck. Create a way that will encourage your motivation. A self-pat on the back. A new outfit in a smaller size. Something special you can set as a treat as you reach your goal.

Get back up if you fall down

When we fall, it can feel like a failure, but it doesn’t have to. Sure, we could set a pity party table for one, but then we will never move forward. It is hard work losing weight or eating better or working out, but it is worth the effort.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek out different ways to achieve your weight loss or a healthier lifestyle. There are alternatives to the traditional methods of weight loss to help you as well. A physician-supervised program, the Hormone Therapy Program, utilizes normal physiology to achieve significant weight loss. This program is customizable to each individual and is overseen by Dr. Bakken. It works in conjunction with counseling, diet advising, and check-ins, so you are not alone in your journey.

The Laser and Skin Care Medspa offers free consultations and would be happy to discuss this physician-supervised program in greater detail with you. Call to book your appointment today and be on your way to meeting your weight goals in 2018.

 

 


 

Dry Winter Skin and Eczema and Psoriasis

Dry Winter SkinAs the air becomes drier in the winter, it is not uncommon for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis to flare up. Add the stress of the holidays, warmer than usual baths or showers, and your age and all of this can all contribute to the conditions as well.

While both psoriasis and eczema can cause itchy, irritated, and blotchy patches on your skin, there are some essential differences between the two. Eczema is a term used to describe the general itchy skin conditions that can be caused by dry skin, certain illnesses, an allergen, or even stress.  Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease characterized by patches of abnormal skin.

Eczema is commonly caused by the types of hand soap or laundry detergents you might use. Certain foods can cause your skin to react. Environmental allergens such as dust and pets are also known triggers, as well as cold, dry air and materials that are itchy. Psoriasis triggers can be stress related, caused by medications such as beta-blockers and lithium, and some believe that dairy, alcohol, sugar and red meat may also trigger psoriasis flares.

Treatment differs for psoriasis and eczema, so seeking out a professional opinion will aid in the correct diagnosis and treatment of these skin conditions because, for the untrained eye, both of afflictions can look the same.

Treatment of Eczema

It is recommended that you use detergents and soaps that are free of scents and dyes and keep your skin moisturized. When the furnace is on, it is advisable to run a humidifier. Sometimes the use of an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help to calm the itchiness but don’t be afraid to seek professional advice if a topical creme or lotion isn’t helping or you experience severe itching or patches that blister or ooze. Phototherapy, which is the use of ultraviolet light can also subdue the inflammation.

 

Treatment of Psoriasis

You can try soaking the affected area for 15 minutes in a lukewarm bath with baby oil, oatmeal or Epsom salts added to it. This may relieve the irritation and loosen the dead skin. You might also consider an over-the-counter cream that contains salicylic acid or one with coal tar to reduce discomfort. Once again, if the condition persists or worsens, you should seek professional help such as the Laser and Skin Care Medspa can offer.

 

Keeping a journal of when your flare-ups occur and the symptoms associated, can help you to manage the problem. It can also assist a professional to see patterns or triggers that can lead to better treatment options. If you have questions or would like more information on either of these skin conditions or treatment options, please do not hesitate to contact the staff at The Laser and Skin Care Medspa.