Treating Acne 


acne 411 with Nikki

Acne is a common skin concern that is a common initial reason that brings many of our SpaDerma patients into our doors and to set a customized plan with our Aestheticians. Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It causes whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages. We find that with the right plan and balance of in-spa treatments and at-home skincare we are able to achieve amazing, skin-clearing results!

West Loop Aesthetician and Laser + Light Specialist, Nikki Nicholson, shares her views on treating acne and contributed this blog post! 

The most important thing to know about acne is that although we can get it under control with treatments, you will need to use active ingredients at home to keep things on the up and up. Even then, acne can recur over time. Someone who is prone to acne will need to prepare for the constant battle that is acne. This is why having a good, licensed aesthetician in your life is going to be a game changer. We will always be here to help fight the battle with you. 

Acne is increasingly being considered a chronic disease, and just like any other disease, it is about managing it. The good news is that we can treat this problem a few different ways, with the guidance of a licensed aesthetician at SpaDerma. My biggest piece of advice? 

Stop reading stuff about acne on the internet.

Do not take skin advice from friends, influencers, or anyone that doesn’t have a license to treat skin. Trust me, this will save you lots of time, money, and heartbreak.

First, let's actually talk about what acne is. Acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous unit of the skin. Basically, the hair follicle and it's sebaceous oil gland becomes blocked and/or inflamed resulting in ACNE. Different forms of acne range from blackheads and whiteheads to inflammatory, cystic acne. What causes this? SO MANY THINGS. Hormones, genetics, cosmetics, medications, diet, and medical conditions to name a few. There are a plethora of reasons acne can develop. Thankfully, treatments and medical grade skincare will help, no matter the cause. 

Chemical peels are my top pick for acneic skin. They sound scary but there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Peels are the skin's CURE ALL and downtime doesn't have to be as bad as you think. Specific chemicals are applied to the surface of the skin and cause an accelerated type of exfoliation. Here at SpaDerma we have a wide variety of chemical peels that are safe and effective for all skin types and all different grades of acne. Think of chemical peels as a way to renew your skin from the inside out. 

Many patients think that the best treatment to book for acne is a HydraFacial. If it's just a couple areas of blackheads and excess oil production that you are dealing with, this is a great treatment for you. If the acne is inflamed and pus-filled, unfortunately the HydraFacial is not a good idea. Many people think that the HydraFacial handpiece can just suck the acne out of their skin and unfortunately, that's not the way it works. HydraFacial is a way to prevent acne from forming, but once acne is inflamed and irritated, it is too late. Think of this treatment as a preventative treatment. The HydraFacial will extract blackheads and excess oil, but can not be used for inflamed and cystic acne. The reason we don't use HydraFacial to treat this type of acne is because the handpiece can actually open up these spots and spread the bacteria. Once you get it under control, HydraFacials will be a great maintenance treatment to keep your skin squeaky clean, hydrated, and protected. 

We also use laser and light therapies to get your acne under control. This is a great treatment for someone who has not responded to other treatments. Isolaz is a laser and light treatment that uses a gentle suction to draw up dirt, blackheads, and excess oil to the surface and a broadband light then delivers energy to target the sebaceous gland and kill the bacteria. This treatment has minimal to no pain and little downtime.

No matter the treatment, be patient and trust us. You will need to complete a series of treatments and be prepared to change your home care. Think of it like this: you wouldn't go to the gym one time and expect abs, would you? The same goes for your skin. You'll need to follow the treatment plan provided by your aesthetician and let’s be honest, if your home care was working, you wouldn’t have come to us in the first place. 80% of your skin results stems from your home care! If you go home after your treatment and continue to use the same skin care you were using before, you can potentially erase everything we are trying to accomplish in the treatment room. Medical grade skincare ensures that you not only heal properly post treatment, but it will enhance and speed up your results in the treatment room. I usually tell my acne patients to expect to complete anywhere from 3 to 6 treatments for full results. If you don’t change your home care, expect more than 6 treatments consistently. 

What products should you use? First of all, if you want results: MEDICAL-GRADE is the way to go. 

Most of us will try to manage acne with products available over the counter but using the right formulations and ingredients is key. The difference between medical-grade skincare and over the counter/luxury brands isn’t only the quality of ingredients, it’s the delivery system of those ingredients. Medical-grade skincare pulls those much needed ingredients into the deeper levels of your skin to create a change in the cells. Yes, medical-grade will be slightly more expensive than OTC, but most OTC has little to no beneficial ingredients and the ones that do can’t deliver the ingredients past the epidermis. Luxury brand pricing is basically the same as medical-grade, but your luxury brands are spending more money on the packaging and advertising than what is actually inside the bottle. How do I know this? I worked for one of those luxury brands! One of their most popular products cost them $3 to make, but the packaging cost $18 and you don’t want to know what they charged for the actual product. Ouch. 

treat acne

As for what skincare to use, specific ingredients like: 

  • salicylic acid

  • glycolic acid

  • benzoyl peroxide

  • niacinamide

  • retinol

  • zinc

These are all amazing ingredients for acneic skin. How to decide which ones will work best and how often to use it? That’s where your aesthetician comes in. We will take all the guess work out of it. Talk about a stress reliever! I remember standing in the skincare aisle being so overwhelmed and always under impressed. We will do the work for you, all you have to do is follow our instructions on when and how to use it. It will take a minimum of 30 days to see results from your skincare at home (this is how long it takes your cells to turnover). Stick with it! Your skin wants consistency. And remember, sometimes a reaction means a result. Purging and irritated skin from a new product can happen - especially with really active ingredients. Stick with the plan and let the product do its job... and never hesitate to reach out to your technician. It is easier than ever to reach out to us (we each have our own instagram accounts, slide into our DMs anytime)!

Acne is one of my favorite skin problems to tackle because I know the pain and anxiety it brings to my patients (I've been there, and it's awful). To be able to lift that anxiety and see someone excited and happy about their new, healthy skin is the best feeling in the world for me. 

Follow our Nikki Nicholson, on Instagram for more information, great before and after photos! Book with Nikki or any of our qualified providers today! 

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