Although acne is typically associated to the raging hormones of puberty, teens certainly do not have a lock on the condition. Some people have acne breakouts well into adulthood, and others experience hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, menopause, or fertility changes that spontaneously bring on acne. Emotional stress can also cause acne. Fortunately, there are several cosmetic skin care treatments for acne that can be used to speed up the healing of acne, and diminish the overall appearance of the condition.

Prescription Medications

There are several over-the-counter acne preparations that can help alleviate the condition. However, for particularly chronic or troublesome conditions, a prescription medication may be in order. Two of the most popular acne drugs are Retin-A (topical tretinoin) and Accutane (isotretinoin.) Retin A is a cream based derivative of vitamin A. It works to treat acne by unclogging pores. Accutane is another prescription medication used in the treatment of acne. It is an oral drug that is usually reserved for cases of severe, chronic acne. It shuts down the production of oil glands and therefore stops the development of acne. Both of these medications are effective at treating acne, but they also come with numerous serious side effects.

Facials

Facials can be used to clean, nourish, tone, stimulate, and rejuvenate the skin. Although individual salons will differ in the facial products used, the general procedure usually involves cleansing, exfoliating, deep cleaning of clogged pores, and facial massage. Products used include astringents, cleansing creams, brushes, steam cleaners, facial saunas, infrared heat lamps, clay or gel masks, vibrators, and other mechanical facial massagers. When performed by a licensed skin care professional, a facial can help to clean the skin and tighten pores and it may temporarily improve the condition of skin that is prone to acne.

Chemical Peels

Light chemical peels may be used to brighten skin, and temporarily clear up acne blemishes. As their name implies, chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the facial skin. Light chemical peels are the most superficial of the various chemical peel methods. They work on the horny layer of skin and the upper epidermis to promote exfoliation. Light chemical peels utilize a solution of either glycolic acid or trichloracetic acid in very low concentrations (usually ten to twenty five percent.) Another solution comprised of salicyclic acid, resorcinol, and lactic acid may also be used. A light chemical peel can be a very effective method for smoothing out the skin and diminishing the appearance of acne.

Conventional Dermabrasion

Conventional dermabrasion has been around for almost fifty years. The procedure is commonly used in the treatment of acne as well as pockmarks, scars, tattoos, age spots, wrinkles, and other skin lesions. This skin care treatment works by abrading the skin with high speed rotating brushes. The procedure begins with a local anesthetic, followed by the application of a skin refrigerant such as ethly chloride or flurethyl spray. Freezing the skin this manner enhances the numbing effect of the anesthetic and makes a firmer surface for the procedure. Once the entire procedure has been completed, the face will be wrapped in a bandage for twenty four hours. And it will take roughly ten days to two weeks before the skin is fully healed.

Skin Buffing

Conventional dermabrasion is an effective skin care procedure for the treatment, however it can also be a messy procedure that involves a lengthy recuperation period. Skin buffing, on the other hand can be a gentler method of dermabrasion that can also be quite effective in treating acne. Buffing uses a sterilized abrasive material that is applied by hand to gently abrade the skin. This method allows for greater control and finer tuning than conventional dermabrasion. Before the procedure, you will usually be given a sedative and a local anesthetic. Your health care provider will then gently buff the upper layers of skin using both circular and cross-hatched motions.

Surgery

Severe acne may eventually lead to the development of “ice-pick” scars. These scars get their name from their resemblance to the marks left from ice pick stab. They are deep, narrow scars with rigid edges. These scars don’t usually respond well to chemical peels or dermabrasion because they are so deeply pitted. However, there are several types of cosmetic acne surgery that can be used to diminish the appearance of acne scars. Punch excision, punch elevation, and punch grafting are three surgical methods in which the acne scar is punched out. Each method involves the administration of a local anesthetic followed by the use of a cookie cutter like tool called a “punch.”

Punch Excision

In this method, the punch tool is used to remove the plug of scar tissue. The edges of the scar are then sutured together with ultra fine suture material. Three to five days later, the sutures are removed and replaced with bandages. Full healing occurs about a week to ten days after surgery.

Punch Elevation

Using the punch elevation method, the scar tissue is raised to the level of the surrounding skin and secured with bandages for several days until it is fully healed.

Punch Grafting

Like punch excision, punch grafting involves discarding the scar tissue. But rather than suture the wound together, it is filled with a snugly fitting skin graft from another site on the body (usually behind the ear.) Once in place the graft is either sutured in place or secured with bandages.