The Acne Lab

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FAQs

Acne Answers & Resources

What causes Acne?

Acne is definitely a four-letter word for people who suffer with it. This time you really do get to blame your family. It is an inherited disorder of the pores – pores that want to sludge up with dead skin cells much like a clogged drain in your sink. Normal pores shed about one layer of dead skin cells per day inside the pore. The acne-prone pore sheds up to five layers of dead skin cells per day and the body just can’t keep up. This forms blackheads or congestion under the skin; and if bacteria are present (which just loves to feed on the dead skin cells and oil), you will get inflamed pimples or pustules. Back to Top

What makes your system of acne management any more effective than what I’ve already tried?

You may have used some of the same ingredients while trying to get your skin clear, but we use them in a very specific way that is very different from other systems. We want to use the strongest skin care products your skin can tolerate, but have you use them in a way that your skin can adapt to them readily. We then have to make sure your skin does not overadapt and stop responding to the home-care. That’s why we require frequent check-ins and communication with you to make sure your program is on track. Acne is a very tricky disease and requires close monitoring; and you are our partner in that process. Back to Top

Proactiv got rid of my friends’ acne, but didn’t work for me – why?

There is good science behind Proactiv and that is why it works for some people. But Proactiv skin care products just are not strong enough for people with stubborn acne and/or the skin adapts to the regimen. For most people, Proactiv seems to work nicely for about three weeks and then it seems to stop working. Since Proactiv never gets to see your skin or talk to you about how your skin is reacting or adapting, they can’t very well recommend the products strong enough to get rid of acne conditions that are difficult. It takes potent exfoliants and anti-bacterials used in the right way to get acne under control. If you don’t have someone guiding you through this process, you will either: 1. Not have strong enough products and you will still have acne; or 2. The products will be to too strong or you will use too much too soon and irritate your skin and you will still have acne. Back to Top

The dermatologist put me on antibiotics and my acne got better, but it came back even worse. What happened?

Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria, but it doesn’t do anything to unclog your pores. Because most of the bacteria are killed by the antibiotics, your acne will subside considerably. But it will comeback because the bacteria that survive will breed a population of bacteria which is stronger and resistant to the antibiotics and your pores are still clogged, so the conditions are still right for acne to return. According to Dr. Fulton (co-inventor of Retin A and author of Acne RX) says, “The normal action of the bacteria in the pores does play a role in acne, but a relatively minor role. In truth, only a small portion of the tetracycline filters its way into the skin. That portion kills only a relatively small percentage of the bacteria. Even if some magic antibiotic could control 100 percent of the bacteria, you would have attacked only a fraction of the acne problem.” As said before, the real problem lies in the clogging of the pores of too many dead skin cells. Back to Top

My acne is really bad. I’ve seen a dermatologist and he’s tried several different kinds of treatments and now wants me to try Accutane. What’s that?

Accutane is the commercial name for isotretinoin, which causes your body to shut down the production of sebum (the oil that’s found in your pores). It is a very dangerous drug which causes birth defects. Consequently, women of child bearing age must be on two forms of birth control and monitored regularly by a doctor. The FDA warns of many other potential side effects, so this should be a treatment for people with extreme nodular, cystic acne (the type that can be disfiguring); and only when all other methods of acne treatment have proven to be ineffective. Drugwatch.com features up to date information on the drug side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Accutane side effects and Yaz side effects are the most recent drug alerts. Back to Top

Why does my acne get worse sometimes?

You have natural oil in your pores called sebum which is what the acne bacteria feed on. An increase in hormonal activity and/or stress can cause an increase in sebum production. This causes your acne to get worse in two ways. It increases the number of pores that get clogged; and it creates a bigger food source for the bacteria.

Some foods, especially foods high in iodides, i.e. salty foods, sushi, some seafood can actually irritate the follicle walls and make acne worse. Back to Top

What if my skin is very sensitive?

We have lots of clients with very sensitive skin. We will only give you treatments and skin care products that you can tolerate. If we’re not sure, we’ll do a little patch test to make sure your skin can tolerate what we’ve chosen for you. If you try any products and find them not right for your skin, return it and we will give you a full refund. Back to Top

Will my acne ever go away?

You will probably have to continue to treat your acne to keep it under control for awhile. It’s different for everyone, but some people need to continue treatment for years. Eventually, your pores will burn out, not produce as much sebum and will no longer have a habit of getting clogged, but no-one knows when that happens. Back to Top

Sometimes I get a real big pimple in an obvious place and I feel that I’ve got to squeeze it to make it go away more quickly. Is that OK?

No. Every time you pick or squeeze at your skin you are taking a chance on spreading the bacteria, infecting the lesion and creating a permanent future scar. So it is much more likely that instead of making it go away quicker, you will actually make it worse and last longer. When you break the skin and it forms a scab, that will cause a red mark that can last for months – much longer than if you allow us to extract your acne lesions the correct way. Instead of picking at your acne lesions, rub ice on them for a minute. Back to Top

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