Treating a Common Skin Disorder
Acne is the most common skin disorder affecting adolescents and young adults. The vast majority of teenagers have had some degree of acne. It may seem incredibly difficult to have patience when you start your treatment for acne with Long Island’s board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Rokhsar. However, keep in mind that if you stick closely to your individualized treatment plan, you will see results.
Many myths have been invented surrounding acne. You may have heard that acne is caused by dirt build-up or by eating too much chocolate or candy. Rest assured, these are simply not true.
Acne is the result of a combination of factors:
- An increased amount of oil: Sebum is an oily fluid that moisturizes the skin and hair follicles. Normally, the sebaceous glands serve to protect the skin from dryness. During puberty, the sebaceous glands enlarge and overproduce sebum. The oil overload traps dead cells and clogs the pores.
- Bacteria: P.acnes is a type of bacteria that is normally in the follicles. When a pore becomes clogged, P.acnes can multiply. The body tries to fight the bacteria with an inflammatory response; resulting in even more dead cells and buildup. Inflammation also causes the redness and pain you may have during breakouts. The blackheads and whiteheads you see in the mirror are the results of those dead cells clogging the pores.
In many cases, acne resolves with age. In others, acne may remain a problem until age 40 or 50. Another myth is that you must let acne run its course – this is absolutely false. There are ways to clear your skin and improve your acne, starting today.
Treatment of acne
Many treatments exist for acne and acne scars. Each patient’s treatment plan is customized. Before recommending an acne treatment, Dr. Rokhsar will consider what type of acne you have, the severity, the presence of any acne scars, and any past treatments (successful or unsuccessful) you may have had for acne.
Treatments may include:
- Topical medications
- Oral medications
- Laser treatments
- Photodynamic therapy
How Do You Treat Acne?
Accutane Treatment in NYC
Acne is the occurrence of inflamed or infected oil glands in the skin. Pores are tiny holes in the skin that provide a place for oil to escape. When the sebum (the oil produced by the skin’s glands) releases through the pores, dirt and dead skin follow through and when there is a blockage, pimples occur. Acne occurs most often in puberty and throughout teenage adolescence because hormones can cause a shift in androgen levels. When androgen levels rise, they make the oil glands underneath the skin grow larger, which in turn produces more sebum. An excess of sebum is dangerous for the cellular walls in the skin’s pores and results in bacteria growth.
Accutane, also called Isotretinoin, is used to treat severe, cystic acne. Accutane is usually used when other therapies have been unsuccessful. Results are seen after a few months of use. About half of those that use Accutane are cured of further severe acne breakouts. Although Accutane is a natural derivative of vitamin A, it is a potent medicine with many side effects and requires careful evaluation of the patient. Before prescribing Accutane to women, two pregnancy tests are needed. If the results are negative, possible side effects will be discussed with you.
Risks Associated With Accutane
After a thorough discussion with Dr. Rokhsar, you can then decide if this is the right medication for you. At low dosages, there are minimal side effects and risks. Side effects do include chapped lips, dry skin and nose, mild nosebleeds, muscle aches and irritation of the eyes or eyelids. People with severe acne also develop significant acne scarring. Accutane treats acne but not acne scarring.
FAQ About Accutane
What is Accutane used for?
Accutane is used for severe, cystic and nodular acne. When the patient has tried other treatment routes and acne problems still persist, Accutane may be recommended. It needs to be prescribed by a doctor.
How does Accutane work?
Accutane is a form of vitamin D. It is an oral supplement taken that works by reducing the amount of oil released by the glands in your skin. High amounts of oil, also known as sebum, can lead to severe acne and if left untreated, severe acne may cause permanent scarring.
Do I have to take Accutane for the rest of my life?
It is taken for a few months, twice daily and it can at least a month before the benefits of the medication start to show. Additionally, it may take several months before the patient experiences the full benefits from Accutane.
Will Accutane remove my acne scars?
No. Accutane is used to treat the actual chemical makeup of acne and to stop recurring breakouts. Dr. Cameron Rokhsar uses Fraxel, which is considered the gold standard in laser technology, to resurface and rejuvenate the skin.
Am I a good candidate for Accutane?
Accutane is not safe for women that are pregnant. In fact, women of childbearing potential are required to sign a written agreement that they are using two forms of birth control. Accutane can lead to severe, life-threatening birth defects and may be dangerous to the mother’s health as well. Accutane is also considered a last resort medication, meaning the patient has tried other routes of acne treatment and have not gotten the results that were intended. It is suggested that those who are prone to depression or who are on medication for depression should not take Accutane.
Can I sunbathe while taking Accutane?
No. The skin becomes very sensitive to light and environmental factors, making the skin more susceptible to sunburns and rash breakouts. Patients who are taking Accutane should wear strong sunscreen. Avoid sunscreens that contain fragrances, alcohols or dyes. Look for high SPF sunscreens and also ones that have more zinc. Zinc is a key nutrient that can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays instead of just UVB rays. It is important to stay out of tanning beds, and shade the skin while outdoors.
Blue Light for Acne
Exposure to a special blue light is a therapy that destroys the overload of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria in the skin and decreases inflammation. It also prevents future outbreaks by stopping sebaceous glands (glands that produce oil substance called sebum) from overproducing oil. Acne appears when sebum becomes stuck inside the skin’s hair follicles and P. acnes bacteria begins to grow and flourish, creating redness and irritation. The eventual accumulation of bacteria can lead to ruptured follicles resulting in inflammation and pain. Dr. Rokhsar uses the Blue Light because of its effectiveness to penetrate deep within those blocked follicles and removes the acne-cause bacteria before they rupture the skin. The non-UV light interacts with the bacteria to cause it to self-destruct. It simultaneously treats existing blemishes that have already reached the surface of the skin and eliminates P. acnes bacteria before new breakouts can form. It has proven to clear affected areas up to 70 percent in two weeks.
Blue Light treatments are usually repeated twice a week for about three months. The treatment is about thirty minutes long. Some patients are so relaxed they even fall asleep. After as few as two to four treatments, you will notice decreased severity of acne as well as fewer breakouts.
The V-Beam is an effective laser treatment for unsightly veins and skin blemishes such as facial veins, scars, birthmarks, rosacea, and certain red bumps. The V-Beam provides a laser option that destroys the unwanted face condition with brief, but intense gentle burst of light. Treatment is immediately noticeable and leaves virtually no recovery time for the patient to deal with.
Topical Treatment for Acne
Your Long Island acne treatment involves topical therapy, which means directly applying a cream or gel solution onto the skin. Some topical medications work by killing the bacteria P.acnes, and others decrease the amount of oil produced.
Retinoids, also called tretinoin, are a type of topical therapy that decrease inflammation and promote the removal of dead skin cells. They are applied in a very thin layer over the entire face. A pea-sized amount is enough- using more will aggravate the skin. Other products such as astringents or toners should not be used at the same time as retinoids. Side effects of topical retinoids include irritation, dryness, and redness. These side effects occur mostly during the first month of treatment and decrease with time. Also, during the first few weeks of treatment, your acne may get worse before it gets better.
Tazorac is another topical medication used for acne. Tazorac works by speeding up the turnover of the skin so that dead skin cells are replaced faster by newer, healthier cells. It may take 8 to 12 weeks of using Tazorac until you see optimal results. As with other topical medications, never use more than a pea-sized amount.
Topical medications can be combined with laser therapy for faster, more dramatic improvement of acne.
Oral Treatment of Acne
Oral treatments are medications that are taken by mouth that work throughout the body, from the inside out. Oral medicines are used for moderate to severe acne, as well as cystic acne. They include:
- oral contraceptives
Correcting Acne Scars With Laser Scar Removal
Scarring occurs when the body’s natural wound-healing process is defective when too much or too little collagen is available. The healing process is disrupted and usually leaves behind permanent scarring.
There are several types of scarring:
Keloid scarring – Most prevalent among people with darker skin, keloid scarring is a result of an overaggressive healing process that creates a firm, raised reddish-purple scar and can extend beyond the initial wound area. Keloid scars typically require surgery to remove or by means of steroid injections or silicone sheets to flatten the scar, although smaller ones can undergo cryotherapy which damages and removes the skin by freezing.
Hypertrophic scarring – Similar to keloids for their firm and raised appearance, hypertrophic scars differ in their reddish-pink appearance and eventually fade over time. They do not spread further than the injury boundary and can be treated with injections of steroids and silicone sheets to flatten the scar.
Atrophic scarring – Acne tends to leave behind distinctive atrophic scarring. Its depressed pinhole like pockets and angular appearance can also result from a variety of skin conditions and diseases.
Contracture scarring – A result of second or third-degree burns, these scars tighten skin and can restrict movement. This abnormal tissue response may affect deeper tissue in the surrounding nerves and muscles.
Treatment – The Fractional CO2 laser can treat each different type of scar. The laser can treat a variety of scars and require no anesthesia, although optional anesthesia cream can be treated to the area prior to laser treatment.
The secret to the laser’s effectiveness is in its “fractional feature”. The laser works by treating only small sections of the skin at a time, creating faster healing. The laser works by placing microscopic holes into the skin, stimulating new collagen to generate and fill in and smooth out scars. A topical healing cream must be applied for a week afterward, which will result in a 50-70 percent smoother, less pigmented scar.
Surgical Scar Removal
A scar is the body’s natural way of healing and replacing lost or damaged skin. A scar is usually composed of fibrous tissue. Scars may be formed for many different reasons, including as a result of infections, surgery, injuries, or inflammation of tissue. Scars may appear anywhere on the body, and the composition of a scar may vary – appearing flat, lumpy, sunken, colored, painful, or itchy. The final look of a scar depends on many factors, including the skin type and location on the body, the direction of the wound, the type of injury, the age of the person with the scar, and his/her nutritional status.
A scar revision is a procedure performed on a scar to alter the appearance of the scar. The revision may improve the appearance of the scar or restore function to a part of the body that may have been restricted by the scar. It is important to remember that scars cannot be completely removed.
Why choose Dr. Rokhsar for your Acne Treatment
Dr. Rokhsar is a pioneer in the science of Fraxel laser treatments and presented the first report on correcting scars with the Fraxel laser. He is expertly trained to offer impressive results with lasers and other acne treating methods in the NYC area. To treat acne, or acne scarring, contact Dr. Rokhsar today.
Upper East Side Manhattan
328 East 75th St, Suite A, New York, NY 10021
Garden City Long Island
901 Stewart Ave, Suite 240, Garden City, NY 11530