Acne.net Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ addresses points that are frequently not clear to patients:
  1. Starting Treatment
  2. Treating Acne Lesions
  3. Stress and Acne
  4. Hormonal Factors
  5. Topical Factors
  6. Non-acne Medication Producing Acne
  7. Pulsed-light EpiLight or Photoderm
  8. Diet
  9. Summer Weather and Acne
  10. Sunlight and Acne
  11. Teens vs. Other Age Groups
  12. Facials and Other Cosmetic Procedures
1. When should acne medications be started?
    Can I wait for acne to develop before beginning treatment?

Most acne medications require at least a few weeks or a few months to become fully effective. Therefore, these medications should be best used in preventing new lesions from developing. Merely waiting for acne lesions to appear before beginning treatment is usually not an effective use of these treatments.
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2. How can I treat acne lesions that are already present?
Once an acne lesion develops, speedy results are best obtained by:

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3. Is stress a factor in acne?
Increased emotional stress is frequently a cause of acne flares. If standard acne treatment fails, or if stress is extreme, your dermatologist may suggest proper treatment or referral for improvement of your stressful situation.
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4. Are hormonal factors an occasional though rare cause of acne?
Hormonal factors may contribute to acne. These factors should be assessed and, if necessary, treated as part of a successful acne treatment regime.
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5. Can topical factors produce acne?
Topical factors such as mechanical blockage of oil gland drainage by sweatbands, skin care products, hair care products, or occupational exposure (such as to halogens, e.g., iodides); or increased humidity should all be evaluated and addressed when indicated.
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6. Can non-acne medication produce or worsen acne?
Oral or topical medications for other medical problems can produce acne or acne-type lesions. Your dermatologist can help you evaluate these possibilities.
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7. Can pulsed light EpiLight or PhotoDerm effectively treat acne?
Pulsed-light (laser-like) treatment is an effective treatment for acne and other conditions.

Read more about Pulsed-light treatment options.

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8. Is diet a frequent cause of acne?
Diet is usually NOT the cause of acne. However, specific instances of patients flaring with increased consumption of seafood, iodized salt, or other foods have been reported. It is, therefore, important to evaluate each patient's circumstances and decide on any modification in diet for that specific patient.
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9. How does acne frequently respond to summer type weather?
In my experience, patientsí acne usually improves during exposure to dry summer weather, but flares during very humid summer conditions. Avoidance of unnecessary sun exposure is usually a good idea for all individuals. Application of a light ( non-occlusive, not heavy or thick) sunscreen with a UVB SPF between 35 and 15, and a good UVA protector (such as Zinc or Titanium); is usually advantageous during periods of sunburn risk.
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10. How can sunlight effect acne treatment?
Exposure to sunlight may produce side effects such as increased sensitivity or an increased risk of sunburn, irritation, or dryness, to patients taking many oral or topical acne or other medications.
  • These medications need to be reduced or ended prior to sun exposure. Please alert your dermatologist, or consult with him/her before each spring or sun exposure, to ascertain the possible side effects of your acne products.
  • Oral Tetracycline, Minocycline, Doxycycline, and Accutane, as well as topical Retinoids and Alpha Hydroxy Acids are the most likely, in my patientsí experience, to have sun induced side effects. However, all Acne medications may need to be re-evaluated in the course of changing sun exposure or other environmental or climate modifications.

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11. Does acne only occur in teenage years?
Acne may occur at any age. The location, form(s), and the characteristics of the specific patientís acne, should help the treating dermatologist ascertain possible causes and treatments for the outbreak. There is usually more to treating acne than merely recommending a standard treatment protocol. The time and effort that your dermatologist spends in evaluating your specific problem is needed to provide customized and flexible care that will provide you with maximum benefit and lessen the chance of failure or side effects. There is no substitute for medical knowledge and experience in the evaluation and treatment of Acne or any other medical problem.
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12. Can I rely on facials to treat my acne?
Facials or other cosmetic procedures may feel good but they are usually not an effective means of addressing many acne problems. A complete dermatological evaluation by a dermatologist will best evaluate the full needs of the acne patient.
  • The dermatologistís unique ability to provide the full range of topical and oral prescription and non-prescription treatments affords the patient the full range of treatment modalities for acne and acneís associated problems, such as: scarring, pigmentary darkening or lightening of the skin, or reddening of the skin. No other professional can provide this complete range of treatment options.

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An exciting treatment for ALL forms of Acne is Pulsed- Light. This virtually painless application of a visible light (NOT the ultraviolet light associated with sunburn and skin cancers) has produced a dramatic improvement in acne lesions associated with standard ACNE, ROSACEA (acne rosacea), or INGROWN HAIRS (RAZOR BUMPS or PSEUDOFOLLICULITIS)

These pulsed-light (laser-like) treatments can also produce a normalization of darkened skin, and an improvement in elevated or depressed scars from various etiologies.

For more information on pulsed-light and laser treatments, please visit MDLaserderm.com.

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CONTACT US

I hope that this site has been helpful.

For specific medical information or individual treatment recommendations you need to be seen by a dermatologist in person. If you would like to be seen as a patient by Dr. Jay, please phone 212-755-2237 for an appointment.

Please be advised that I cannot respond to medical questions via email. All medical questions require that you be seen in person by a board-certified dermatologist. Please phone 212-755-2237 to see Dr. Jay personally, or see your local dermatologist. Thank you.

For information about the treatments I provide or to see before and after photos of patients, please visit my site: http://www.md-laserderm.com/.