Acne is a very common skin condition experienced by most people, at least at some stage of their life. Acneic breakouts can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as genetic predisposition, hormonal changes (e.g. in teenagers or during pregnancy), as well as many lifestyle factors. Determining these reasons with precision is very difficult. Fortunately, regardless of the causes, most acne breakouts form the same way. Therefore, prevention, treatment, and post-treatment care for different acne conditions have many common elements.
What to do if you have acne?
First, decide if your acne condition is mild or severe. Severe acne (e.g. involving cysts and nodules), usually observed in a small percentage of people, will require seeing a dermatologist. Vast majority of people develop mild to moderate acne conditions which can be treated with a combination of our treatments and the right home regimen.
How to determine your acne condition?
Mild to moderate acne. Acne is a condition when the sebum (oil), produced by the sebaceous glands located near hair follicles, blocks the follicles. These plugs of sebum can harden over time, disrupting normal functioning of the skin. In mild to moderate conditions, the sebum combined with dead skin cells get stuck either under the skin (whiteheads) or in open pores (blackheads). Moderate swelling, redness are common by-products of this process.
Moderate to severe acne. Over time, bacteria can trickle into the clogged pores and begins to multiply. This can cause various degrees of infection and inflammation under the skin, resulting in larger swelling, painful bumps, puss or cysts. These conditions may require serious treatment (antibiotics and/or hormonal medication) by a physician.
When and how can Ella Skin help?
Before. Timely deep cleansing facials to unclog skin pores and keep them clean before they are infected is critical to prevent acneic breakouts, especially for acne-prone clients. If you are prone to acne, preventive facials will also include deep infusion of ingredients which slow sebum flows and prevent breakouts.
During. If you are having a mild to moderate active breakout, our treatments can be of significant help. Facial procedures and ingredients (see below) will be chosen to unclog pores with disincrustation (breaking up of sebum), removal of blackheads & whiteheads (extractions), post-extraction disinfection and healing of pores, infusion key ingredients into deeper layers of the skin to stimulate collagen and slow sebum production, and accelerate skin regeneration. Timely treatments will prevent progression of acne saving you from trips to a doctor's office and stronger medication. Note: with severe acne, you should consult a physician.
After. Once an acneic breakout has healed, it can leave dark spots, pigmentation and/or scarring. In most cases, a series of microdermabrasion treatments or chemical/enzyme peels to remove several layers of the skin can dramatically reduce these effects and restore radiant complexion. Immediate results and number of needed treatments will depend on how many skin layers were affected (depth of pigments).
Do you need help of a skin care professional?
An appropriate home regimen is critical to both treat and prevent acne regardless of whether you are seeking help of a skin care professional. In most cases, the right regimen may be sufficient.
The primary difference between home care and professional skin care treatments is how deep these treatments penetrate. With the right knowledge, products and disinfection, shallow whiteheads and blackheads can be removed at home. However, removing hardened plugs that go deep into the skin requires tools and skills of a skin care professional. Moreover, disinfection of deep pores may require more advanced procedures (such as high-frequency microcurrent and LED therapy). Similarly, active anti-acne ingredients in home care products are less concentrated and usually penetrate only the upper layers of the skin. This is the primary source of frustration for people spending a lot of money on products that do not seem to work. At Ella Skin, we use both more concentrated products as well as number of procedures (e.g. galvanic micro current or HydroWand®) to infuse the necessary ingredients into deeper layers of the skin.
In sum, home care is a great complement to professional treatments but is not always effective on its own. If you use home products but do not see the results, visit Ella Skin for a consultation.
What products are effective against acne?
The myriad brands available on the market boast some anti-acne properties. We recommend choosing products based on their ingredients and content rather than brands. Here are the ingredients we rely on in our treatments and highly recommend to our clients for home care:
1. Benzoyl peroxide (BPO). Look for it in cleansers and some serums, 5% content is ideal. This is a must-have ingredient in any anti-acne regimen. It kills bacteria, accelerates skin regeneration and slows sebum production.
2. Salicylic acid. Look for it in serums and creams, preferably 2% content. Assists the breakdown of blackheads and whiteheads and reduces inflammation and swelling.
3. Niacinamide. Look for it in serums and some creams. Strengthens the epidermal lipid barrier of the skin which allows the skin to better retain moisture and prevents bacteria from trickling in. These effects, in turn, boost collagen production, reduce redness and hyper-pigmentation, and improve sebum flow in the skin.
4. Retin-A. Retinol creams accelerate cell turnover, unblock pores and mprove complexion.
5. Organic products. Many botanical extracts help against acne. Look for products containing extracts of olive leaf, aloe vera, dandelion root, tea tree oil, lavender oil, and chamomile.
Our favorite products by PCA Skin® for a home regimen
For those who do not have the time for own research, here are some anti-acne products which we trust, use ourselves and sell to clients at competitive prices. They have proven their effectiveness on different skin types and conditions. However, as discussed before, alternative brands with similar ingredients can be as effective. So do you research and make sure you only purchase authentic products from authorized retailers !
PCA Skin® BPO Cleanser (click to see/buy on our web store). This daily cleanser with 5% benzoyl peroxide penetrates pores to eliminate existing and prevent future acne breakouts. Advanced exfoliating ingredients rid the skin of excess dead skin cells, further protecting against future breakouts. A host of botanical extracts soothe irritated and inflamed blemishes, allowing skin to heal.
PCA Skin® Acne cream. A 5% liquid benzoyl peroxide acne treatment used to spot-treat affected areas, penetrate pores to clear existing acne blemishes and prevent the occurrence of future breakouts. A host of soothing botanical extracts reduce potential irritation. The product that can be used full-face or to spot-treat affected areas to clear existing acne blemishes and prevent the occurrence of future breakouts.
PCA Skin® Intensive Clarity Retinol.
PCA Skin® Clearskin cream . A light non-oily and quick absorbing moisturizer. Reduce redness and breakouts, balance the skin’s natural oil production and provide antioxidant protection with 4% niacinamide.