Treating acne naturally involves internally addressing the underlying imbalance and externally controlling the symptoms while improving the quality of the skin. This blog is a little about how we address acne at our clinic. Each person’s skin is different and tends to change over time. We recommend coming in for a consultation in order to assess the best regiment.
Acupuncture – Acupuncture treatments address the root cause of acne whether it be stress, hormonal imbalance, etc. Acupuncture on the local area can also speed the healing of acne lesions. View video.
Microdermabrasion – Microderm is mechanical exfoliation using crystals or a diamond tip. Our machine runs on sodium bicarbonate crystals (baking soda), making it less irritating and completely non-toxic. Microderm feels scratchy on the skin. Many acne cases can be controlled with a series performed every two weeks. View video.
Peels – Peels provide chemical exfoliation of the skin and can include different types of acids. For acne typically a salicylic acid peel works best, like our Purity peel, particularly if the skin is oily.
Face Endermologie – Facial endermologie offers mechanized lymphatic drainage, stimulation to lift sagging skin, and increases microcirculation. This is an ideal treatment for sensitive skin, anti-aging benefits, and puffiness. View video.
Facials/Extractions – Regular facials including steam, enzyme exfoliation, extractions, and high frequency continue to be a key component for a clear skin regiment.
LED Light Therapy – Especially helpful for redness as is the case with inflamed acne or acne complicated by rosacea.
Ultrasound – Ultrasound using a skin scrubber uses vibration to facilitate extractions and relieve congestion in the face.
There is some variability based on age, oiliness, and sensitivity as to specific regiments. As a general rule:
- Use a retinoid (Vit A) 1-3 times a week. The more congested and oily, the more frequently you can use retinoids. In our clinic we have two retinoids we recommend for home use. The first is Clarity, which contains retinyl acetate. The second is A-Boost, which contains retinol and retinyl palmitate, is more appropriate for sensitive skin or for an anti-aging regiment with no breakouts. Retinoids help the formation of healthy skin cells. It also acts as an exfoliant. Retinoids are useful not only for acne, but also for hyperpigmentation (dark spots), wrinkles, and sagging skin.
- Use a gentle cleanser. We recommend either the Sensitive Cleanser (more irritated skin), Acne Cleanser (contains sulfur), or Face & Body Bar (anti-bacterial & anti-fungal). Avoid SLS and any cleansers that irritate and dry out the skin. This will only unbalance the skin in the long run and lead to more acne. Remember, it’s not about annihilating the acne and your skin with it. Acne is a sign of imbalance and when you rebalance the skin the acne will clear up.
- Calm irritation. We have a few products we recommend for this. There are two toners we use Colloidal Silver Mist with Lavender and Calming Mist for use after cleansing and prior to serums and moisturizers. Ointment Rx is an excellent product when there is obvious inflammation, rosacea, or you are recovering from harsh topicals such as Benzoyl Peroxide.
- Moisturizer. It can be very difficult to find a moisturizer that hydrates without blocking pores and irritating the skin, both of which lead to increased acne. The best all around moisturizer is Healing & Restoring Cream. It was originally developed by the founder of Hylunia for his baby daughter who had exzema. It is excellent as a night cream or under sunscreen. We have found it to shrink the pores, reduce redness and irritation, and reduce lines. Other excellent options are Moisturizing Drops (oil-based) and Recovery Plus Intensive (lotion). Both of these are great for drier skin types.
- Sunscreen. Use only physical sunblocks and avoid chemical sunblocks. Chemical sunblocks chemically interact with your skin. They often cause irritation and aggravate acne. Chemical sunblocks should not be left in the sun as they will loose their effectiveness. These are listed as long, unpronounceable names in the active ingredients list. Physical sunblocks refer to Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These sit on the surface of the skin and block both UVA and UVB rays. They actually calm irritation. The most popular sunblock at our clinic is Reflect, a Titanium Dioxide-based sunblock in spray-on form. It’s not greasy nor does it leave you looking chalky. Other options are Hydrate + (includes moisturizer), Serious Protection (heavier cream), 302 tinted and untinted (leaves mineral powder finish). Mineral makeup is another option. See below.
- Enzymes. Natural enzymes help to unglue dead cells and gently exfoliate them away. We use Papaya Enzyme Mask. It is safe even for sensitive skin. You can apply and leave on in the shower 3 x a week or leave on overnight leaving the skin beautiful in the morning. Another option is the Acne Mist for those who don’t like using masks. Apply up to 3 x a week after cleansing and leave on.
- Makeup. Pure mineral makeup is the best option. Unfortunately it will not give you that great coverage of thick, liquid, chemical-laden, pore-clogging makeup. The wrong makeup can undermine all your efforts to clear your skin. As hard as it is, the best tactic is to find the mineral makeup that works best for you and just accept that you won’t be able to cover your skin as well. Don’t worry. It will be clear soon and you won’t even have to wear makeup. 302 has a super clean mineral powder that comes in 2 shades but it doesn’t camouflage that much for troubled skin. Read our blog on selecting a mineral makeup.
Diet & Herbs
Herbal formulas are specific to the patient as there are different imbalances that cause acne. We recommend seeing an acupuncturist and/or herbalist for a recommendation. There are, however, general dietary recommendations.
- Drink plenty of water. Half your bodyweight (in lbs) in ounces of water per day is a good guideline. So if you weigh 140 lbs, drink about 70 ounces of water.
- Keep your blood sugar stable. Avoid simple carbs like: white bread, cookies, sweeteners, and fruit juice. Also avoid greasy or processed foods. Eat whole grains. Get plenty of fiber and good fats in your diet.
- Eat plenty of vegetables. Ideally close to half your meals should be vegetables. Bitter vegetables such as arugula and watercress are particularly helpful.
Do something to alleviate stress on a regular basis. People who internalize and stuff their emotions have a much higher likelihood to develop skin problems. Also make sure to wash your pillowcase, towels, and anything that touches your face regularly.