By Michelle Eshaghian, PA-C
Did you know acne affects up to 50 million people yearly? It’s by far the number one diagnosed skin condition in the world, affecting all age groups and genders. Nearly all people have had at least one pimple in their lifetime and if not, it’s probably only a matter of time. Sucks, we know.
So let’s start with the basics.
What is Acne?
Acne occurs when pores get clogged with oil, debris, bacteria, and dead skin cells. But it’s not as simple as that. Acne can range from common whiteheads/blackheads to deep, cystic, pus-filled nodules.
Acne can be caused by a variety of factors including hormonal imbalances, excessive oil production, stress, poor eating habits, and more. Don’t be alarmed if you wake up one morning to find one of these little (or possibly very very big) pimples - we got you! Let’s dig a little deeper into the different types of acne.
Whiteheads vs. Blackheads
Whiteheads, or closed comedones, occur when sebum (this is an oily, waxy substance produced by your body’s skin) is clogged in a pore under the skin surface. Blackheads, or open comedones, occur when these sebum-clogged pores become open and oxidized, turning them black. Both whiteheads and blackheads are non-inflammatory lesions, meaning they aren’t infected, so don’t worry about it too much.
Papules and Pustules
Papular acne lesions are inflamed red bumps under the skin surface. These papules become known as pustules when they become infected. Pustules are filled with pus and bacteria-fighting white blood cells. These can often be painful and associated with underlying swelling.
Cysts and Nodules
Cystic acne is a type of inflammatory acne that causes red, painful, tender, bacteria-filled pimples under the skin. Cystic acne is often caused by hormonal changes and can be present long-term or short-term. When several cystic pimples coalesce together, they can form a harder mass called a nodule. Cystic and nodular acne are the most severe types of acne vulgaris.
How Do I Treat My Acne?
Well it’s super important to first determine which type of acne you may have, the cause, and if more aggressive treatments are needed. At RAOOF MD, our family of dermatology experts is available to help you decide which of our medical grade skincare products will work best for your type of acne before starting any topical or oral antibiotics. Our skincare line is backed by science and has been proven to help as first line treatment in mild to moderate acne vulgaris.
Step 1: Oily Skin? Dry, Sensitive Skin? Pick the Right Cleanser!
Choosing the appropriate cleanser for your skin type can make all the difference in effectively treating your acne, but also to ensure you are getting the most out of your skincare routine.
Oily Skin: RAOOF MD Clarifying Cleanser is best for oily, acne prone skin. It contains 2% salicylic acid to cleanse, exfoliate, decrease that sebum production, and decrease acne-causing bacteria. It also contains niacinamide to help with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The Clarifying Cleanser pairs best with our Acne Control Serum which contains benzoyl peroxide, providing a powerful one-two punch to that stubborn acne.
Dry, Sensitive Skin: If you have more dry, sensitive skin but are still battling mild acne, RAOOF MD Fruit Enzyme Cleanser is the choice for you. It contains 0.4% salicylic acid to provide mild exfoliation and cleansing without leaving the skin too dry. This cleanser also contains papaya fruit extract, allantoin, and vitamin B5 to help moisturize and soothe the skin.
Keep My Skin Smooth, Skin: Just looking to keep your skin smooth and free from acne? Micronized BPO Gel Cleanser kills acne causing bacteria and helps prevent future breakouts too. It contains 5 or 10% benzoyl peroxide which is an antimicrobial. It is 45x smaller than traditional benzoyl peroxide, which helps with absorption and penetration. It also contains hyaluronic acid and aloe vera to moisturize and soothe the skin. This is the cleanser you want to fight off acne.
For best results, cleanser should be used morning and night.
Step 2: Toner
Toning is an important step in any skin care regimen to help clean the pores. This is especially important for acne patients as clogged pores are the main cause. Toner should be used after cleansing.
Normal Skin: RAOOF MD Pore Refining Toning Mist contains 2% salicylic acid and papaya fruit extract to remove dirt, control sebum production, and gently exfoliate the skin.
Sensitive Skin: For more sensitive skin, the pH Balance Toning Mist can be used to help neutralize and remove dirt from the skin surface.
All Skin Types: The RAOOF MD Brightening Pads are the perfect combination for toning and brightening the skin. One of our favorite products, “the Brightening Pads contain 2% salicylic acid, 5% glycolic acid, and 5% lactic acid to treat acne, clean pores, and prevent future breakouts. This AHA/BHA combo is the perfect chemical exfoliant because it digs deeper into your pores and removes dead skin cells and excess sebum.” says Dr Joseph Raoof, Co-founder of RAOOF MD.
Step 3: Spot Treatment
RAOOF MD Acne Control Serum has been proved to decrease sebum levels in pores by 70%. It contains 5% micronized benzoyl peroxide and 5% glycolic acid to kill and prevent acne-causing bacteria. This product is used as spot treatment for active breakouts once or twice a day.
Sunblock is an integral step in your acne regimen to prevent scarring from inflammation. Sunblock should be applied every morning and reapplied every 2 hours for the best results.
At RAOOF MD, we have a range of sunblocks including Sheer Defense Tinted SPF 46, Hydro Essense SPF 40, HA Physical Tint BB Cream SPF 44, SPF 45 Light/Medium Tint, Clear Defense SPF 45, and Purely Physical SPF 47 - just pick one!
Products to Step Up your Acne Regimen
Retinol 10x Serum contains .25% retinol and vitamin C to help with destruction of sebum, collagen production, cell turnover, and more. Retinol can be used nightly to help with acne and anti-aging.
Clarifying Mint Mask contains 1% sulfur to help treat and kill bacterial growth. It minimizes pore size and controls excess oil production in the pores. This mask also contains jojoba oil to soothe the skin. The RAOOF MD Clarifying Mint Mask can be used two to three times per week.
Our MicroDERM Scrub can be used weekly to remove dead skin cells and debris from the pores to prevent future breakouts. This will leave your skin smooth, like you just got a facial.
GA 15 is a great alternative or supplement to retinol. It contains 15% glycolic acid, an AHA, to help chemically exfoliate the skin. It is anti-acne and anti-aging. This amazing product also contains fruit extracts and vitamin E to leave the skin brighter and smoother.
Vita CE with ferulic acid is an amazing antioxidant to help brighten the skin. It contains 15% L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and ferulic acid to fight off free radicals from the sun. Over time, vitamin C can be used to decrease brown spots from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.