Acne in the Spotlight in June

Question and answer logoJune is Acne Awareness Month and almost on cue, I’ve been getting at least one break-out related question each day.  Most if not all  deal with problems using uber powerful Retin A. 

Three Top Retin A and Acne Questions

Question 1 — Does Retin A  always make your face red?

Answer- Its a very  common  problem.   Retin A does two things to the skin that causes redness.  It reves up circulation ( great for new collagen)  and increases skin turnover which peels off the top pore clogging layers– but the net result  leaves the skin tomato red. You can reduce redness by:

1. Waiting 30 minutes after washing your face to apply Retin A

2. Use Retin A only 3X a week rather than every night

3. Mix Retin A with a drop of oil free moisturizer before  spreading it on the skin

Question 2:  Does Retin A help acne scars?

Answer:  The short answer is… maybe, depending on the type of the scar.  Surface discolorations after a break-out  fade overtime and Retin A hastens this process.  Depressions in the skin  and  so called ” ice pick” scars  are not helped by Retin A  and need more intensive therapy.  For example Clear and Brilliant, a new form of baby Fraxel laser can encourage new collagen to fill in saucer shaped  scars.   Large  post-acne pores  develop when a large cyst  completely destroy a follicle– but can be  hidden  by fillers like Restylene.

Question 3: Does Retin A always cause initial break-outs?

Answer:   The Retin A purge  is an awful start for acne care and it often causes people to  quit treatment.  Retin  A unclogs pores of excessive oil and dead cells, but does not affect the inflammatory  bacteria that are a key acne trigger.  But if you add an antibiotic  either orally or in a gel, you”ll  be attacking acne   from two directions– and the purge potenial  is significatly reduced.    



2 thoughts on “Acne in the Spotlight in June

  1. My son has been under drs care going on 2 months. He has had acne for about 1 yr. The dr prescribed him on oral Doxycycline mono100 mg, to be taken 2 x daily. Retin-A 0.05 % use every night, Sodium Sulfacetamide 10%
    Sulfur 5% used in the am to wash off the Retin-A. Clindamycin Phosphate and
    Benzoyl Peroxide Gel, 1% /5% in am.

    Can you suggest maybe something else or should I have him use less product? He uses clearasil face wash with 2 % salicylic acne med showering at night. Please I need some suggestions.

    • Your son is using the right comnbination of products for acne and he needs all of them. If this combo of Retin A, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid wash and oral as well as topical antibiotics has not worked in three months, he is probably a candidate for oral Retin A known as Isotretinoin. I will be posting a comprehensive article on severe acne on Friday that I think you will find interesting and helpful.

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