Acne is a common skin condition that causes inflammation, redness, oiliness, dryness, skin irritation, and so much more. Whether you are suffering from cystic acne or persistent blackheads, you likely need to work with a dermatologist to find an acne treatment plan that will control your breakouts. Learn more about building an effective treatment plan before you schedule the consultation at Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA.
How Long Does Acne Treatment Take?
If you have acne, then you probably want to get rid of acne fast. However, no acne treatment can produce an overnight miracle. Some treatment plans can produce results in four weeks, while others may take up to 12.
An effective treatment that will control your acne breakouts will require time and dedication, as well as a consistent skincare routine that will turn over new skin cells, unclog pores, reduce oil production, and kill acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin. The specific timeline for your treatment plan to show optimal results will depend on the treatments that are being used, including aesthetic treatments, topical oral medications, and at-home skincare products.
Aesthetic treatments for acne can include LED light therapy, laser therapy, chemical peels, aesthetic facials, microdermabrasion, and much more. The aesthetic treatments used to manage your acne condition will depend on your skin tone, the type of acne you have, and your skin sensitivity. To get optimal results from aesthetic treatments for acne, you may need to schedule appointments monthly or bi-weekly for at least three months.
Topical and Oral Medications
Many dermatologists like to combine topical and oral medications with other aesthetic treatments. For example, dermatologists may prescribe prescription-strength retinol, acids, and other acne-fighting products to address persistent acne. Oral medication such as Accutane can also be used to reduce breakouts, particularly for patients who have cystic acne. Topical and oral medications can show optimal results in about four to eight weeks.
At-home skin care products to control acne breakouts are combined with aesthetic treatments and topical or oral medications. For example, dermatologists may recommend using a salicylic acid acne face wash or niacinamide serum to reduce skin inflammation. However, because at-home products for acne-prone skin are formulated with weaker concentrations of active ingredients, it sometimes takes up to eight to 12 weeks to see optimal results.
How Will Your Skin React to Acne Treatments?
The way your skin responds to treatments for acne will depend on the specific treatments being used, the severity of your acne condition, and the general health of your skin. Skin that is healthy with a strong lipid barrier generally has a better response to strong acne-fighting products than compared to skin with a weaker moisture barrier. That said, you should not expect your skin to clear up immediately after starting acne treatment.
Aside from products that include moisturizers and anti-inflammatories such as niacinamide, the chances are high that your skin may respond to a new treatment for your acne condition by purging. This is an expected result of starting an effective skincare routine and a sign that the products or treatment is tackling the root cause of your skin condition.
Are You Having a Break-Out, or Is Your Skin Purging?
It’s important to understand the difference between an acne breakout and the skin purging associated with a successful acne treatment.
What Causes Acne Purging?
Acne purging after starting a successful treatment plan is typically caused by a combination of new skin cells turning over, the destruction of acne-causing bacteria, and the exfoliation of the skin that pushes out excess sebum from your pores. Acne purging will typically last for about four to six weeks, based on the strength of the treatments or products you are using.
Are There Specific Ingredients Associated With Purging?
There are some specific ingredients and treatments that are associated with acne perching. AHAs, BHAs, and benzoyl peroxide all cause initial purging due to cellular turnover and bacteria destruction. However, retinoids are by far the most common ingredient that causes mild to moderate skin purging, even a retinoid prescribed by your dermatologist. Sometimes, Accutane may also cause an initial purge before the treatment shows optimal results.
Does Everyone Experience Acne Purging?
Although acne purging is common, not all people with acne conditions will experience purging to the same degree or for the same length of time. Patients who have moderate to severe acne and use retinoids are more likely to experience acne purging than people who have mild acne. But remember, initial acne purging after starting a new treatment for acne is a sign that the treatment is working.
How Do You Handle Acne Purge With Your Acne Treatment?
Although acne purging will not last for a very long time, it’s still important to learn how to take care of your treatment during the purge. Whether you are using exfoliating treatments such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion, topical or oral medications prescribed by a dermatologist, or complimentary at-home skincare products designed for acne, the methods to handle acne purging are all the same.
Modify Treatment Application
Many dermatologists will recommend starting treatments for acne slowly to reduce the likelihood of purging. This is particularly important if you are using retinol, prescription medications, or products with harsh skincare ingredients.
The best advice is to slowly introduce acne-fighting products into your normal skincare routine one at a time and in small amounts. You should apply your treatment every two to three days until your skin has adjusted and you can use the treatment as prescribed.
Dilute Topical Products
Along with modifying the application for your acne-fighting treatments, you may want to dilute topical products. This can include prescription retinoids or other topicals. To dilute a topical product, you simply need to add half of the recommended dosage to a small dollop of moisturizer.
Reduce Harsh Products
To minimize irritation and inflammation, you may also want to avoid harsh skin care products, such as alcohol-based cleansers, alcohol-based toners, exfoliating scrubs, cleansing brushes, AHAs, BHAs, and any other products that can exfoliate the skin. By taking these products out of your normal skincare routine, you will reduce over-exfoliating your skin, keeping your moisture barrier healthy while your skin is getting used to your treatment plan.
Use Clay or Moisturizing Masks
Some dermatologists recommend using clay or moisturizing masks formulated for sensitive skin at least once to twice a week to soothe skin during acne protein. Pink clay masks and moisturizing masks with avocado or banana are both very effective for soothing skin inflammation. Sheet masks that are formulated with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide can also be used at least twice a week to keep your skin healthy during the purging process.
Check Your Cosmetic Products
You should also double-check your cosmetic products to ensure you’re using oil-free and non-comedogenic products. This will ensure that your skincare products will not clog your pores. Moisturizers, sunscreen, and foundation should all be double-checked.
Use a Mild Cleanser
Using a mild or hydrating cleanser is a good way to cleanse your skin of bacteria and manage oil production while your skin is adjusting to your new treatment plan. Mild cleansers formulated with 2% or less of active ingredients, such as niacinamide or salicylic acid, can be highly effective. You may also want to consider cleansers that are formulated with hyaluronic acid or ceramides to soothe your skin’s moisture barrier.
Visit Your Dermatologist
Finally, if you notice that your acne purging is lasting for longer than four to six weeks, it may be time to visit the dermatologist again. Skin purging that lasts for longer than a month may be a sign that the oral or topical medications used for your treatment are not effective for the type of acne you have. Revisiting the dermatologist to explore new treatments is crucial to find a treatment plan that will work for you.
Find the Best Treatment for Your Skin Today
If you have mild, moderate, or severe acne, you will likely need to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist to examine the condition of your skin and pinpoint treatments for acne that can improve your skin condition. Medical treatments for acne can typically produce results within four to eight weeks, while at-home acne regimens may take closer to eight to 12 weeks. If you’re ready to find the treatments to control your acne breakouts, contact Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA today.