June is Acne Awareness Month and it seemed like the perfect time to search out the best new acne care options. Acne is an equal opportunity pest. It affects men and women, young and old and every culture and country. That’s the bad news. The good news? I’ve got five new options for your acne fighting tool kit.
1. Dapsone Gel for Acne
Oral Dapsone was originally used to treat leprosy, malaria, and parasites. Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, it is now used in gel form to manage acne. Sold under the trade name of Aczone, it attacks acne from different angles. It can be used alone or in combination with other medications. It works beautifully with Retin A, clindamycin, and salicylic acid. However it can turn the skin yellow if used with benzoyl peroxide.
Research studies have shown that a 12 week Aczone treatment program can reduce acne eruptions by 50%. its also been shown to be especially helpful for skin of color and may help to avoid skin discoloration that can follow an acne breakout. While its only available by prescription, it is less expensive than Retin A and covered by most insurance plans..
2. CLn Acne Cleanser
The right cleanser is the foundation of good acne care. Many cleansers can be too strong to use with Retin A while moisturizing cleansers may trigger more breakouts. I’m always searching for a cleanser that threads this needle. CLn is just what I have been looking for. Its got a low level of salicylic acid which can be paired with just about every other acne fighter. CLn also includes a form of chlorine that deals with skin bacteria which are part of the acne process. But wait, there’s more. It is paraben and fragrance free and available without a prescription. I found CLn a wonderful cleanser for oily skin, even if acne is no longer a problem.
3. Bellafill for Acne Scars
Acne is the gift that keeps on giving. During an active breakout the face can be dotted with white heads, black heads and cysts. Then even long after the active phase is over, the face is left with a variety of different types of scars. One of the most distressing are the round saucer shaped depressions. They are the consequences of deep cysts that have actually destroyed the collagen in the area.
Bellafill is the only filler approved by the FDA for repair of saucer scars. And even better, it is permanent. The Bellafill injection deposits collagen as well as special microspheres into the scar. The skin immediately levels off and “erases” the scar. Then in the next few months, these microspheres create a matrix to support additional natural collagen for a long lasting fix.
Isotretinoin is the oral form of Retin A, and is considered the “nuclear” option for acne. Under the brand name Accutane, it was the best treatment option for cystic or hard to treat acne. Accutane is no longer available, but new versions with additional benefits are now available with a prescription from your dermatologist. Traditional isotretinoin needed to be taken with a high calorie, high fat meal. For diet concious women ( and isn’t that most of us) that kind of meal is a non-starter. By contrast, Absorica does not need a heavy meal to be effectively absorbed.
The well known safety issues and side effect issues of Accutane including bone pain, birth defects and eye damage can still appear with Abscorica. These are not that common and it’s helpful to remember that Absorica is actually a cure for acne. Three to six months on Absorica and the acne disappears forever. How’s that for results?
5. Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy for acne is extremely popular in Europe and is slowing catching on here. When the skin is exposed to blue LED lights its stimulates the production of chemicals called porphyrins,, that kill the bacteria which are part of the acne process. Less bacteria= less acne. Antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide also deal with these bacteria, but over time resistance can develop. According to Dr Gary Goldenberg of Mount Sinai Medical Center, office basd light treatments need to last 1000 minutes and do not cause side effects like redness, irritation and peeling. For mild acne, Dr Goldenberg recommends a series of 2-3 treatments 2-4 weeks apart. Cost is about $125/session. Most insurance companies do not currently cover blue light therapy for acne, but these treatments can be worth the expense when other products are just not getting the job done.