When it comes to acne-prone skin, there's only one question on everybody's lips - how can you get rid of spots, and fast? Our associate dermatologist Dr. Philippe Beaulieu shares his expert tips on how to stop spots in their tracks and clear that complexion.
The miracle acne cure? Stick to your treatment
What are the fastest solutions to treat acne?
Many patients come to the clinic looking for an overnight cure for acne and I can totally understand why they want to act fast. Realistically, it takes weeks rather than hours to see results, and consistency is the key to clearing skin. But only 30-50% of patients actually stick to their treatment schedule: they begin with the best intentions, then lose heart when things don't change overnight. And that's how acne keeps the upper hand.
What are a dermatologist's preferred weapons against spots?
Doctors have an arsenal of effective treatments, dermocosmetics or prescription medications, which need to be adapted to the severity of the acne.
For mild acne (a few blackheads and small spots affecting less than 50% of the face)
I recommend applying a dermocosmetic and/or a benzoyl peroxide product, or a product containing a retinoid like adapalene to help unclog the pores.
For moderate to severe acne (comedones, spots and sometimes nodules, affecting more than half the face)
I combine the same topical treatments with an oral antibiotic such as doxycycline to kill the bacteria that cause spots.
For very severe acne (the whole face is affected and cysts/nodules are present)
I prescribe a very powerful treatment called isotretinoin.
It targets the excess oil production at the very root of the problem. But this medication is strong and can have severe side effects. It needs to be prescribed with a great deal of care.
You're saying that patience is a virtue. But is there anything we can do to boost the results?
I always recommend that patients combine prescription treatments with smart dermocosmetics choices. Opt for pH-balanced soap-free cleansers and oil-free moisturizers. When it comes to make-up, look out for ‘non-comedogenic' formulas that won't clog pores. Make no mistake - prescription treatments really can be enhanced by cutting-edge dermocosmetics solutions.