6. The Acne Stopper - a Four Step Strategy

Today we're going to be talking about the Acne Stopper - my four step strategy to clearing your skin.

The first step is to remove causative or exacerbating factors, because if you have things that are worsening or triggering your acne and you don't remove those things, then you're never going to get clear.

Foods are a big thing in terms of causative or exacerbating factors. Foods such as iodide and iodide salts, milk, whey protein, peanuts and peanut butter, and sweets including high glycemic index foods can be major dietary contributors to acne. We'll talk about those more in later episodes.

Sunscreens can clog pores, shampoo, conditioners, make-up, cosmetics. Frictions, for example from a brim of a hat, lack of sleep, stress, picking, other drugs that you take for other medical conditions, certain birth-control pills for example, and bodybuilders who take testosterone, human growth hormone or IGF-1 for bodybuilding - these can all be causative factors or exacerbating factors that are worsening your acne.

The next step of the Acne Stopper four-step strategy, step number two, is targeted therapy, either topically or orally, to target the root cause of acne. That's really to unclog the pores.

Everybody has to remember, there are a couple different types of acne and we'll talk about those a little bit later, but we're going to talk about how to target therapy to treat the root cause of acne and unclog the pores. We'll talk about certain oral supplements like zinc and fish oil, we'll talk about over-the-counter medications like benzoyl peroxide or prescription-based face washes like sodium sulfacetamide and sulfur, or even over-the-counter sulfur soaps; we'll talk about toners such as Glycolic Acid toners, we'll talk about the right types of birth-control if a woman is taking birth-control, rather than birth-control pills that can worsen acne. So these are things that are targeting the root causes of acne in many different ways. We'll talk about Vitamin A based topical medications called Retinoids, topical antibiotics, leave on benzoyl peroxide, combination treatments that include multiple of those things, and rarely we'll talk about how and when it's appropriate to use oral antibiotics, for example in cases which overlap with rosacea, which is a cousin of acne, but not exactly acne. We'll also talk about the use of Accutane, also called Isotretinoin, when it's appropriate and how it should be used.

For women with adult-onset hormonal acne we'll talk about an oral medication called Spironolactone, which helps to block the hormones from interacting with the skin, the hormones that could be causing the acne in adult women with adult-onset hormonal acne.

We'll also talk about how to target acne during pregnancy, or people who are trying to get pregnant, because you can't use all the therapies at the disposal for somebody else, for example who's not looking to become pregnant. So that's step two: targeting the root cause of acne with oral or topical medications.

Step three is maintaining clear skin. Often times patients will achieve clear skin and they'll stop all the things that they're doing, but sticking with the anti-acne program is really what's going to be maintaining your clear skin, both in the things from step one and then continuing the treatments from step two.

Finally, the fourth step is addressing acne scars and blemishes. We'll talk about laser resurfacing, we'll talk about all sorts of different lasers, we'll talk about creams to help lighten skin, to help fade the blemishes that come after acne, the dark spots or the red spots that come after acne, and that's addressing acne scarring and acne blemishes.

So that's the four-step strategy that we can turn to to really treat acne.

I'm Doctor Jacob, we'll see you next time.