August 08, 2023
When you struggle with acne or breakouts, it affects many aspects of your life: self-esteem, social engagement, and professional interaction. There are treatments and medications, both internal and external, that treat acne and the choices can be confusing.
When I see a patient plagued with acne, I first ask questions to find the cause and often the pattern of the breakouts as these answers may help to identify the cause. There are several common causes: genetics, diet, hormones, lifestyle. When patients understand the triggers, they can better manage the disease.
The media blasts us with the effectiveness of topical products. Many doctors prescribe antibiotics and successfully manipulate hormones with birth control pills, accutane and spironolactone. But what about the patient who wants to treat the problem more naturally? And what about the cases that are mild and do not need systemic prescription drugs?
The first step, after identifying and discussing the individual cause of the acne breakouts, is to get the skin clean. When patients have blackheads and pustules it is important to gently cleanse and exfoliate the skin. A Hydrafacial with or without extractions and the addition of a light alpha hydroxy acid peel not only deep cleanses, but also stimulates cell turnover so that the environment of the skin begins to change. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids stimulate a “purging” of the skin. Dried nonfunctional cells are removed, and the pores start to empty as new cells rise to the surface of the skin. It is important to avoid “stripping” the skin of natural oils.
The home program is the most crucial step. Washing with a cleanser, not soap, that does not strip the natural oils is key. The natural oils of the skin protect the environment so that harmful bacteria are unable to grow and thrive. The oil in your skin is an immune barrier and a natural lubricant that protects against moisture, friction, and sunlight. Sebaceous material, oil, also transports protective antioxidants in the skin and has a natural antibacterial property. It regulates the natural “good” bacteria of the skin and is integral in the process of wound healing. ALEXIS M.D. Acne Cleanser meets the criteria for protecting the skin without stripping the natural protective oils while improving cellular turnover and decongesting the skin with alpha and beta hydroxy acids.
Toners also protect the skin from environmental assault with humectants that bind water and lipids to the skin. They also balance the pH of the skin, maintaining the acidity that is necessary to resist invasive bacteria and protect from environmental pollutants. ALEXIS M.D. pH Balancing Toner is gentle and safe for all skin types and conditions.
Acne is an inflammatory condition that damages cells, invites the growth of harmful bacteria and scars the skin. The ingredients in ALEXIS M.D. Acne Repair decrease the inflammatory cascade and promote healing. The product contains antioxidants, d-Beta Glucosamine, D-Beta Fructan, niacinamide and botanicals that protect the skin from internal and external free radical damage, as well as natural lipids squalene, Caprillic/capric triglycerides, shea butter and beeswax to maintain the natural lipid moisture barrier of the skin. L-retinol, the active form of retinol, is present to decrease inflammation, improve healing and protect against environmental damage.
Recent research has shown peptides to have antimicrobial as well as anti-inflammatory action against the bacteria that cause acne. Peptides also improve the healing and transformation of acne lesions and scars and decrease post traumatic hyperpigmentation, brown spots, left behind by acne breakouts and “picking pimples.”
The combination of these products and adding other beneficial products such as ALEXIS M.D. Biweekly Scrub and prescription Retin-A all work in unison to decrease the lesions of acne, heal the skin, prevent further breakouts, and reduce scarring.
Efficacy and Tolerability of HydraFacial Clarifying Treatment Series in the Treatment of Active Acne Vulgaris by Ryan Storgard, MS; Jana Mauricio-Lee, BS; Tess Mauricio, MD; Martin Zaiac, MD; and Jwala Karnik, MD
Walocko FM, Eber AE, Keri JE, Al-Harbi MA, Nouri K. The role of nicotinamide in acne treatment. Dermatol Ther. 2017 Sep;30(5). doi: 10.1111/dth.12481. Epub 2017 Feb 21. PMID: 28220628.
Makrantonaki E, Ganceviciene R, Zouboulis C. An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne. Dermatoendocrinol. 2011 Jan;3(1):41-9. doi: 10.4161/derm.3.1.13900. PMID: 21519409; PMCID: PMC3051853.