There was a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that found birth control pills to be as effective as antibiotics when fighting acne breakouts. This is great news for those who are deciding whether oral contraceptives are right for them anyway. As a young woman, dealing with constant acne breakouts can be a blow to the ego and self-esteem. This is when job interviews and first dates are par for the course. There is no lack of acne remedies on the market, but it’s very difficult to find a treatment that does what it says. One thing that has been proven to help clear up the skin in young women is birth control pills. Dermatologists have been prescribing oral birth control pills to treat acne for years.
How Birth Control Pills for the Treatment of Acne Works Birth control pills are considered a hormonal treatment for acne. So how do hormones play into the overall formation of acne? Here’s how: Acne forms as a result of overproduction of sebum. When the sebum combines with dead skin cells, they can clog the pores and become the perfect environment for the acne bacteria to grow and form into a pimple. A group of hormones known as androgens, which contain testosterone, can stimulate the overproduction of sebum. When puberty strikes, these hormones are known to go into overdrive. When you take birth control pills that have both estrogen and progesterone in them, they help lower the amount of androgens in your body and thus resulting in less sebum production. You must be careful not to take birth control pills that have only progesterone, as they can make acne more severe.
Which Brands are the Best Birth Control for Acne? While there are many different brands of oral birth control pills on the market, there are actually only three that have been FDA-approved for the treatment of acne, they are: Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Estrostep and YAZ. Each of these three pills contains a combination of low dose estrogen and a form of progesterone. According to studies, there is no major difference between these three birth control pills in relation to how they treat acne. Speak to your dermatologist about how you can determine which of these pills is the best birth control for acne for your personal skin and body. Keep in mind that birth control pills tackle only one of the factors that contribute to acne, which is excess sebum production. For a complete acne-fighting regimen, it’s important that you also use the right products and also incorporate in-office procedures such as blue light therapy and Isolaz.
Technological innovations have greatly improved our lives in many ways and acne sufferers are one of the groups seeing a huge benefit in their skin, thanks to these advances. In-office light treatments for acne are among the most-requested procedures at the dermatologist’s office. For best results, it’s recommended to use light treatments as a combination therapy, alongside topical acne medications and sometimes oral acne medications, such as antibiotics or birth control pills.
The top light treatments for acne include variations on blue light therapy, such as photodynamic therapy and Isolaz acne therapy. All of these treatments employ the use of blue light in different ways. When deciding between which in-office acne treatments to ask for at the dermatologist’s office, it’s important to know the differences between these three treatments and what their individual benefits are.
Blue Light Therapy What it is: Blue light therapy harnesses the therapeutic properties of the blue wavelength in LED lights. This type of light can kill the p. acnes bacteria when it is shined onto the skin. Multiple treatments are generally needed to get the best results. How it works: Blue light kills the bacterial, while red light therapy is shown to help reduce inflammation and build new collagen. A blue light therapy session is painless. You will sit for approximately 15 minutes with the light shining on your face and your eyes will be protected. Who should get it: If you are looking for a way to step up your acne regimen, adding a blue light therapy add-on is a great idea. It’s also a great alternative for those who do not want to take a systemic approach to treating acne (ie with oral antibiotics).
Isolaz Acne Therapy
What it is: Isolaz delivers a one-two punch to acne. Isolaz uses two different mechanisms to kill active acne and prevent new pimples from forming. How it works: Isolaz is an innovative piece of machinery that is able to deeply clean the pores with a vacuum-like technology that removes cellular debris and other acne-causing matter that gets trapped in the pores. After the deep pore-cleaning is completed, a therapeutic blue light is shined on the skin to kill any acne-causing bacteria. The pores are much more susceptible to the light after they have received their deep clean. Who should get it: The clinical studies of the Isolaz are promising, they show a drying and flattening of active acne lesions within 24-48 hours after the treatment. Making this a great procedure for acne sufferers that need to clear their skin prior to a big event. Patients who undergo Isolaz also enjoy decreased overall oil production after just the first treatment as well as fewer breakouts in general. Isolaz is a wonderful option for those with stubborn acne who have not seen any skin improvement after other acne-clearing methods. Isolaz acne therapy has been shown to give those who are non-responsive to other acne treatments a 75% decrease in acne breakouts in just two months.
What it is: As one of the most effective acne treatments for acne, photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive therapy that utilizes light treatments in combination with the application of a photosensitizing agent, typically a medicine called Levulan® (5-aminolevulinic acid), to reduce acne breakouts and clear the complexion. How it works: The way Photodynamic Acne Therapy works is that it shrinks the skin’s oil glands (sebaceous glands) that contribute to acne formation, which greatly reduces the amount of oil within the pores, thereby reducing comedones (blackheads and whiteheads). Second, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) kills the bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) that live on facial skin and cause acne breakouts. In addition, PDT improves the skin’s overall texture, and may speed the resolution of acne-induced discoloration (red or dark spots that remain after the pimples have resolved). Who should get it: Photodynamic therapy is a great treatment option for those who do not want to begin taking antibiotics or Accutane. Photodynamic Acne Therapy was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration for the treatment of skin pre-cancers, but it has also been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for acne.
A new clinical study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that oral contraceptive pills are as effective in fighting acne as oral antibiotics. The study showed that while oral antibiotics deliver better complexion-clearing results in the first three months, both the pill and antibiotics are equally as effective after the six month mark. Both the pill and antibiotics reduced acne by over 50% at six months. This is great news for young women who are looking for a way to clear their skin as well as protect themselves from pregnancy.
Antibiotics, while a proven way to treat acne, are not ideal for those who do not want to subject their whole body to medication while trying to target their acne. People are also concerned about becoming antibiotic-resistant, making the pill an ideal alternative treatment for persistent acne. Antibiotics work by reducing inflammation, while oral contraceptives help reduce the hormone androgen, which leads to oil-production. While the anti-inflammatory properties lead to a quicker reduction in inflammatory acne lesions, the reduction of androgen takes a little bit longer to enjoy the results, hence the reason why antibiotics take effect quicker.
The best oral contraceptive pills to take for the treatment of acne, include YAZ, Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Estrostep. All three of these pills have a low dose of estrogen and progesterone. There is no difference between their acne-clearing results. Talk to your dermatologist about which pill is best for you.
It seems everywhere you turn there’s yet another public figure discussing their battle with acne as a teenager. The latest star to come out of the closet about their skin issues is Glee star Lea Michele. In her new book entitled Brunette Ambition, Michele discusses how painful it was for her to have acne as a teenager. She recently appeared on the Dr. Oz show to promote her book, where she told Dr. Oz that she was near suicidal because of her acne and that she went on Accutane during her teen years to help her treat her problem complexion. She said that, even though her skin is cleared now, she needs to stay on top of it and make sure she’s eating well and taking care of her skin. For those suffering from severe acne that has not responded to other treatment, Accutane is in fact a great answer.
It’s easy to assume that the more you wash your face, the better it is for clearing up your acne. But this is actually false. In today’s issue of The New York Times, journalist Julia Scott writes about her “No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment,” in which her acne-prone skin actually benefits from not cleansing it with harsh soaps in a period of 28 days. Scott was a guinea pig for a new product called AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist, which contains billions of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria typically found in dirt and unpurified water. The idea behind this product is to introduce helpful bacteria onto the skin, as opposed to doing away with potentially good bacteria.
According to the scientists at AOBiome, the biotech startup behind AO +, the major culprit that robs the skin of its good bacteria is sodium laurel sulfate. Sulfates in general are known to strip the skin and hair of essential nutrients. It’s much better for your skin–acne-prone skin in particular, to use a sulfate-free skin cleanser. In the end, Scott went back to showering and washing her hair, but she made some big changes in her skincare regimen. She made sure all of her products were fragrance-free and didn’t contain sulfates.
We can only imagine what it’s like to breakout in pimples when you’re a 20-year-old heartthrob and your fans are watching. But for One Direction star Harry Styles, it really stinks–literally! The famed singer reports to have gotten a bird poop facial in London to help correct his acne before going on a world tour.
Photo Courtesy of the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail reports that Styles is paying about $300 a pop for a facial that uses nightingale droppings on the skin. Other celebrities, including Tom Cruise and Victoria Beckham have also reportedly received this facial, known as the “Geisha Facial.” The facial has gained popularity after celebrities discovered it in Japan. The nightingale droppings are collected on the Japanese island of Kyushu, and then mixed with water and rice bran before being applied onto the skin, where it’s left for about an hour to allow time for the mixture to seep into the pores. The droppings supposedly contain enzymes, which help to break down dead skin and rejuvenates the complexion.
There have been no clinical studies yet on the effectiveness of nightingale droppings on acne. For a safer bet, try Clindamycin, a proven topical antibiotic that fights acne.
When we breakout, it’s easy to just throw our hands up in the air and not take any blame for our skin. Acne breakouts can be caused by a multitude of factors, but the bottom line is that acne is an inflammatory skin condition, and one of the major factors that triggers acne is an influx of the androgen hormone. Teenagers and pregnant women are two life stages that bring on the raging hormones, which is why during this time many of us breakout. But there are certain measures we can take to try and reduce the amount of hormones in our bodies. Here are some lifestyle changes you can make that will keep you healthy, happy and acne-free.
Switch to Organic Foods
We all know that eating organic foods has many health benefits. But conventional meat, dairy and chicken are also pumped up with hormones, which can lead to hormonal acne breakouts. Of course eating organic produce is better since you won’t be ingesting any nasty pesticides. Need a refresher on other reasons why eating organic is better than conventional? The website Only Organic has a wealth of information on why organic is better and why you should be weary of anything labeled “natural” or “healthy” without the USDA organic stamp of approval.
Add Some Fitness to Your Life It’s hard to fit in a workout every day, but even adding a 20 minute walk into your daily schedule will work go far in helping keep you stress-free and happy. When we exercise, our blood flow is increased and this helps bring important nutrients to the cells, including our skin cells. Exercise also helps decrease stress levels. When we stress, hormones begin to rage inside the body and can lead to, you guessed it, acne breakouts. The sebaceous glands, which produce the oil that can lead to acne breakouts, are directly influenced by those stress hormones.
Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of joyful happiness and glowing skin, right? Well that’s not how it always happens in reality. During pregnancy, there is an influx of hormones in the body which can lead to acne breakouts. During a time when women already feel self-conscious about their changing bodies, dealing with acne is just another thing to make them feel self-conscious. Feeling good about yourself during pregnancy is very important, especially during postpartum, when women are vulnerable to the “baby blues.”
Treating acne during pregnancy can be tricky. There are many medications and products that are perfectly safe when you’re not pregnant, but might be harmful to the fetus during those nine months. It’s important to talk to your obstetrician and dermatologist about which skincare products you’re using and if they’re safe. Thankfully, there are some safe options to treat breakouts during pregnancy.
Here are the treatments and ingredients on the do not use list during pregnancy:
What you can use safely to treat acne are the following:
Residents of the Big Apple simply won’t tolerate a pimple on their skin, which is why Clear Clinic offers the best acne treatments in NYC. The top ways to treat breakouts are a combination of in-office treatments and at-home care. The best line of defense against acne breakouts is to partner with one of our skin care specialists (aka personal acne coaches) at Clear Clinic. It can be awfully confusing for the average person to find the perfect combination of effective skincare and treatments that work for them, which is why our team has devised the Personal Acne Coach program.
Personal Acne Coaches at Clear Clinic
Research says that most acne sufferers try to treat their acne breakouts all by themselves. But in a city where most people rely on experts to help them achieve their goals—think personal trainers, healthy food delivery systems, hairstylists, hair colorists, makeup artists and life coaches, it makes perfect sense for New Yorkers to turn to a personal acne expert to help them get on the path to clear skin forever. Clear Clinic personal acne coaches will help you choose the best acne procedures and treatments specific to your skin type. They will help explain everything along the way and guide you in making the right decisions for your skin. Our acne coaches are available 24/7 for your questions via email.
Laser and Light Treatments for Acne Our skin care specialists and board-certified dermatologists have found that laser and light therapies, when used in conjunction with over the counter acne treatments and/or prescription medications, are an incredible addition to every acne regimen. One of the top light treatments for acne is photodynamic therapy (PDT), which uses blue light therapy to activate a medication that helps to shrink pores and kill the acne-causing P. acnes bacteria. This treatment is not painful and does not have any downtime. The texture of the skin is improved as well as any acne breakouts. Another amazing acne-fighting treatment is the Isolaz Laser, which uses a vacuum-like technology to pull out any cellular debris from the pores while shining the bacteria-killing blue light into the pores. Isolaz is a one-two punch for acne.
Clear Clinic Signature Acne Facials
We are excited to introduce our acne-fighting medical facials, which are offered at both of our NYC locations. We have developed our facials with the help of our experience medical estheticians to treat active acne lesions and prevent the formation of future flares. Our facials include the application of a deep clarifying mask, extractions, a mini-peel pad and microdermabrasion. Active acne lesions are carefully extracted by our medical esthetician. This helps patients who are prone to picking and popping their own pimples and doing “bathroom surgery” tremendously. Our patients who have facials leave Clear Clinic with gorgeous, glowing skin.
Rid of Acne in 24 Hours
One of our most requested acne treatments are cortisone injections, for a quick way to get rid of a burgeoning pimple fast. Using a diluted steroid medication, our skincare specialists will inject your active acne lesion to flatten it out in less than 24 hours. New Yorkers are notorious for being impatient, which makes cortisone injections one of the best acne treatments in NYC.
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