Attacking Acne

Attacking Acne


Dr. Dayan

Q: I am tired of my acne and acne scars, help! What are my options? Can lasers fix this?

A: Acne can be quite a difficult condition to treat.

Although there are many options, quite a lot depends on the individual patient and what is the etiology or cause of the acne. If the acne is active and if there are large pimples and pustules across the face, the first and most important step is to get this under control. Sometimes it stems from hormonal imbalances, excess debris and dirt on the skin, or excess oil production. It is also within this mildew or environment, the follicles and the pores of the face can get obstructed and plugged, and bacteria can proliferate.


Dramatic scarring can be one of the most frustrating aspects of acne. Pitted scars are difficult to improve without medical treatment. A more invasive technique includes a fat transfer, a surgical procedure where fat is transferred from one part of the body to another to help ameliorate the appearance of pitted acne scars. Some aesthetic physicians claim that the transfer of stem cells through the fat help the skin regenerate on its own and improve scaring. This technique is widely debated amongst physicians; however some physicians have seen dramatic improvements using this technique.



If you are not ready for surgery there are several non-surgical options that you can consider. Many ask if lasers treatments can be effective for acne. Acne actually progresses. When it is active, it is not often that one would use laser treatments other than to combine light-based treatments with the photodynamic therapy. Once the acne has resolved and and there are no longer large acne pustules actively on the skin, often scars will develop. This gives way to a secondary type of treatment where we the scars themselves must be treated.

Lasers can treat the discoloration caused by acne scaring. Laser treatments such as Pixel , TotalFX , and IPL can result in dramatic improvements of the skin. Textural complications from acne scaring should be addressed with other treatments such as the aforementioned fillers and fat transfers.

In order to improve the appearace of pitted acne scars, some physicians simply use fillers such as


, which are made of hyaluronic acid, to fill in the depressed spots on the skin to mimic the skin around it. Fillers however wear off between six and nine months.

Often, active acne outbreaks are controlled by a dermatologist and a carefully designed skin care routine. The core of these routines often include topical benzoyl peroxides, topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics, and some mild oil-free cleansers. On occasion, treatments for hormonal factors may be helpful including oral contraceptives. On rare occasions, Accutane may be necessary for uncontrollable acne such as cystic acne, which can be both embarrassing and painful. Accutane is a strong oral medication used to inhibit oil production. This tends to work very effectively in reducing the severe acne.


Topical oxygen therapies have gained popularity in recent years, which also seem to be working quite well to reduce mild to moderate acne. To improve the hyperpigmentation associated with acne scars treatments chemical peels preceded by a dermaplaning treatment can help exfoliate dead skin cells and also unclog pores. However, an esthetic treatment will have less longevity than one of the medical treatments, and it is critical that patients take great consistency in their home maintenance. Using a quality skin care routine that thoroughly cleanses the skin without dehydrating will cause the best effect. Clairsonic cleaning brushes are also popular. (Think of them as electronic toothbrushes for the face.) These can help ensure that you are exfoliating and thoroughly cleansing your face so that your pores do not become clogged from the day-to-day dirt that it contacts.


Despite the complexity of treatment, adult acne is actually a relatively common condition, and new treatments are constantly being developed to effectively obtain faster, better results. One example of research for newer treatment options includes topical photodynamic therapy where chemical solution is placed on the face followed by treatment with a light-based device (such as Intense Pulsed Light or IPL). Researchers have found this to work quite well for improving acne.

Studies have also included injecting Botox directly into the acne pimples themselves with improvement. While these are all rather new treatments, researches are seeing effectiveness from them, and they may be treatments to watch and research. One way to gain access to treatments like these is look for an aesthetic research site in your area. Sites are often seeking participants for new trials such as the latest acne treatments, and may provide you access to new options. Frequently, the treatments are provided at no cost to the participant.

There are some physicians which have access to surgical, non-surgical, esthetic, and research options all in one locations. Look for physicians who perform aesthetic medical research and/ or work with a medical spa. Setting up a consultation to determine the best option for your specific needs is often the best way to determine how to reach your individual goals.

Learn more by visiting

Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon

– Dr. Steven Dayan.

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