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Medical Skin Condition

What Causes Acne? And more importantly, how do I get rid of it?

All types of acne — blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cysts — develop when pores in our skin become clogged. The culprit is sebum [see-bum], an oil in our skin. Our bodies make more sebum when our hormones surge. This is why teens get acne. This is why women often breakout before their periods. Since hormones fluctuate in the years leading up to menopause, many women in their 40s and 50s get acne.

Controlling Acne - A Comprehensive Anti-Acne Program

Acne - without a doubt - is a teenager's most despised problem. Acne pimples, cysts, blackheads and whiteheads can ravage a young person's skin and destroy self-esteem. The best time to begin acne treatment is as soon as it becomes evident. Acne usually progressively worsens if untreated. Prevention and control is preferred before acne has had a chance to take over and cause scarring and psychological damage.

Acne affects approximately 80% of the population. It's an inherited skin condition that is controlled by prescription medications, hormone therapy, topical products, light therapy such as Blue Light and in the more difficult cases, the use of Photo Dynamic Therapy.

Acne is not just a teen's disease. Many adults well into their 30's, 40's and even 50's still suffer from outbreaks. It is never a good idea to "wait" for acne to go away. In some instances irreversible scarring takes place which becomes costly to even improve.

Why do I get acne?

The "cause" of acne is a little bacteria called P. Acnes. This bacteria grows quickly when no oxygen is present. The reason some people have acne and others don't is that a person with acne has skin cells that don't slough off at a normal rate. (The skin cell turnover of a person with acne tendencies is much slower than normal.) This slow turnover rate allows pores to become clogged with natural oils. The more oil your sebaceous glands produce, the more acne has a chance to show up. A plug forms and the little P. Acnes bacteria start to multiply. If nothing interferes with this bacteria growth, a pimple or cyst forms.

Basic attack plan of acne treatments:

Increase cell turnover to keep pores from cloggingIntroduce oxygen into the pore to stop the bacteria growthUse antibiotics to kill and control bacteriaSlow down natural oil production

Specific Treatments for different levels of Acne

I. Very mild acne can often be treated successfully with non prescription acne-fighting preparations and special cleansers. Because acne skin is sensitive skin, it is important to use products that don't throw your already wounded skin into deeper distress.

II. Mild to Mid-Moderate Acne may need additional treatment resources such as oral and/or topical antibiotics, hormone therapy or Blue Light Acne Treatment. Blue Light is a simple pain-free non-medical light based treatment. The Blue Light kills the acne bacteria and can keep your skin blemish free for long periods of time following initial treatment series.

III. Moderate to Severe Acne may not respond to normal measures and in some cases resistance to antibiotics renders them useless. A breakthrough acne treatment procedure called Photo Dynamic Therapy is now an effective measure for controlling resistant acne that includes cysts and painful inflammation. Photo Dynamic Therapy is a two-part procedure utilizing a special solution that is absorbed by the acne cells followed by a light which activates the bacteria-killing power of the solution.

Myths about Acne

Acne is caused by poor hygiene - Not so. Keeping your skin clean is of course important, but overly vigorous washing will only cause more oil production and aggravate your condition.Acne is caused by stress - Not so. But stress can definitely worsen acne.Acne is cause by diet - There's no evidence to prove any correlation between diet and acne. However, there has been some speculation that removing dairy products from your diet makes a difference.Acne is just cosmetic and therefore not serious - Anyone with acne knows this is not so. The emotional impact is very serious. Acne scars are a result of skin damage.Acne will go away on it's own - Acne can be cleared. Delaying or ignoring treatment options can cause permanent skin damage and prolonged psychological suffering.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (305) 856-6555


PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT)
The Turning Point for Acne Control

A remarkable new treatment for resistant acne uses the sophistication of light-based technology combined with a safe, naturally occurring topical chemical. Cases of hard-to-treat, severe and persistent acne show striking improvement in five treatments.

"Photodynamic Therapy is indispensable in controlling cystic acne. Since acne cysts are responsible for acne scarring, it has become a first-line defense for both immediate acne management and prevention of post-acne scars. For the more difficult cases of Rosacea Acne, PDT is sometimes used as part of your control program."

Photodynamic Therapy, often referred to as PDT, is a 2-step procedure.

Step 1: The first step is the application of the light-absorbing agent Levulan. This liquid is left on your skin for 45-60 minutes while it very selectively sinks into pimples, acne cysts and the overactive sebaceous glands that feed acne bacteria. The absorption of the Levulan essentially turns the acne and oil glands into "targets" for the next step - light.

Step 2: The unabsorbed Levulan is removed from your skin and you are placed under a special blue light. This light is drawn to the "targets", strong oxygen radicals are formed and and the bacteria responsible for the acne is killed.

Levulan is a "smart" solution. It is only absorbed by abnormal cells such as those in acne conditions, pre-cancerous actinic keratoses, and sun damage. It is the selectivity of this solution in targeting only bad cells that allows such quick success in restoring skin to a healthy normal condition.

"Photodynamic Therapy is not only a turning point in the control of your acne, it's a turning point in how you live your life."

Once the acne cycle is broken, a consistent yet simple home maintenance program will help prevent any serious relapse. An occasional single PDT session will keep your skin at it's optimum level of improvement.

Photodynamic Acne Therapy is a dependable treatment with proven results. Short term post-treatment side effects can include reddening of the skin, some mild peeling and sun-sensitivity. Please note that for the first 48 hours after a PDT treatment you must stay out of the sun.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (305) 856-6555


Blue Light Acne Treatment
Fighting Mild to Moderate Acne without Medication

Blue Light Acne Treatment is a faster solution to clearing acne than traditional oral and topical medication. By using light to kill acne bacteria, results are apparent more quickly. This extremely safe treatment can control your acne or clear it up for a long period.

How Blue Light Acne Treatment Works

When the skin is exposed to the high intensity ultraviolet light, the response is a creation of oxygen molecules inside the sebaceous gland that destroy the bacteria (called P.Acnes) and help the healing process. With the bacteria gone, acne begins to clear up and skin begins to heal.

Acne bacteria cannot live in the presence of oxygen. What makes Acne so difficult to control in many people is the "plugging" of the follicle by skin cells that have not been shed. This dead skin cell plug combined with oil from the sebaceous glands creates a perfect environment for acne by preventing oxygen from reaching the follicle. Blue-Light Treatments immediately go past the plug and destroy the bacteria.

What will my treatment be like?

Treatments are simple - you simply sit with your face close to the light for approximately 15 minutes. The procedure is noninvasive & pain-free. Once the treatment is done, patients can return to their daily routine. Typical schedules for patients who come to our Clinic, are twice weekly for 4 weeks or weekly treatments for 8 weeks.

There are no side effects, no pain, and no photo-sensitivity so you can come in, have your treatment and immediately go back to your normal schedule of activities.

How effective is BlueLight?

The BLU-U system by Dusa effectively clears 50% of moderate, inflammatory acne in 4-8 weeks. Results are especially impressive when used with conventional treatments, such as topical creams and oral antibiotics.

Maintenance treatments may be required to maintain control of your acne.

What can I do if I have more severe acne?

Acne that is more severe or does not respond adequately to BlueLight alone, can be effectively treated with Photodynamic Acne Therapy. This treatment goes to the next level by combining a topical solution and either a light source such as BlueLight and/or a laser such as Vbeam. Vbeam will also remove much of the redness from acne scars.

Brown spots left behind by acne (hyperpigmentation) can be diminished by use of chemical peels, topical skin de-pigmentation products and laser.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (305) 856-6555


Acne Scarring

To treat Acne scars, Dr. Bowes uses the Fraxel ReStore laser. This technology was co-invented and developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital Wellman Center for Photomedicine by our associate Dr. Dieter Manstein, and by Dr. Bowes' former laser fellowship director, Dr. Rox Anderson.

Because it is based on the principle of fractional photothermolysis, it restores the entire upper layer and part of the second deeper layer of skin, in small microscopic 'fractions', so that the treatment is very safe and has few transient side effects, like mild redness and puffiness for 2 to 3 days afterward. Usually 3 to 5 treatments may be necessary to achieve maximum improvement of acne scarring.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (305) 856-6555


Facials and Chemical Peels

These treatments are performed by our licensed medical aesthetician. They consist of facials aimed at gentle comedone extraction, as well as glycolic or salicylic acid peels to improve and brighten the complexion of acne-affected skin areas.

If you would like an appointment with one of our providers to evaluate a possible skin condition, please CONTACT US to schedule your appointment or call us at (305) 856-6555.

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COVID-19 Update
As we reopen our offices your health and safety is our number one priority. We follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for infection control and social distancing to protect our patients and our team members. During your visit you will see patients and team members wearing masks, other protective equipment as needed, and find a new patient experience that maximizes contactless processes. We are practicing social distancing with new office layouts, modified schedules to include TeleHealth services, and controlled flow of people in the office locations. In addition, we use EPA approved disinfectants before and after every patient interaction, and conduct hospital grade disinfection to the entire office on a regular basis. These steps work together to ensure a pleasant, safe experience at Riverchase; we look forward to seeing you soon!
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