Acne is a general term that refers to lesions commonly known as pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and cysts. These lesions commonly occur on the face and neck, but may sometimes appear on the chest, back, shoulders and the upper arms of many young people. Often associated with puberty, acne may occasionally develop in adulthood, and sometimes persists for many years, especially in women. Acne occurs in both sexes, although teenage boys are more likely to have the most severe outbreaks.
THERMSCAN ACNE LASER TREATMENT
There are many myths about what causes acne. Acne isn’t caused by poor hygiene, uncontrolled sex drive, chocolates or greasy foods. Scrubbing your face 5 times a day won’t change your predisposition to this embarrassing and unsightly skin problem. Stress doesn’t cause acne, but stress can make it worse. Poor diet doesn’t cause acne, but can make it worse. Steroids taken by some athletes and bodybuilders can also cause severe acne outbreaks. Hot, humid weather causes skin cells to swell and thus can make your acne worse. Oral contraceptives may trigger acne in some women but suppress it in others. This depends both on the pill and the woman taking the pill.
The exact reason as to why some teenagers develop acne, while others going through the same hormonal changes don’t, is mostly unknown. Heredity, high levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone, during or after puberty; a person’s skin response to an increase in testosterone production are behind most forms of acne.
Some people are more sensitive than others to increased levels of sebum or testosterone. Sebum, the oil responsible for keeping the skin and hair moisturized, is produced by oil glands (sebaceous glands) found in the skin. Testosterone signals the oil glands to make sebum. When the skin cannot cope with an increased level of sebum, the sebum clogs the openings to hair follicles, and pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads form. Sometimes the follicle walls break under the pressure of sebum buildup and the sebum leaks into nearby tissues giving rise to cysts. Cysts are firm swellings below the skin’s surface that become inflamed and sometimes infected. When ruptured, cysts can leave scars. Moreover, bacteria (P. acnes), naturally found in hair follicles, attract white blood cells to the follicle. These white blood cells produce an enzyme that breaks down the sebum and damages the wall of the follicle, causing inflammation and the formation of papules (bumps that are up to .5 cm in diameter), pustules (dome-shaped lesions that contains pus and sometimes water), or nodules (elevated solid lesions that are greater than .5 cm in diameter).
ACNE LASER THERAPY AT NU VELA
Mild acne cases usually respond well to over the counter topical treatments. Preparations containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and tea tree oil (a natural remedy) are just a few examples that have proven to be effective. For acne that resists topical treatment, or for more severe acne, your doctor may prescribe topical medications containing Retin A or an antibiotic, or a course of oral antibiotic treatment. For women, oral contraceptives or other hormonal therapies are sometimes effective in controlling acne. Accutane (Isotretinoin), a powerful “last resort” medication for severe acne, often gives very good results; however, this drug has many serious side effects (see below) and some people believe that it can lead to suicidal symptoms.
Most successful acne treatments may take months or even years before a person can visibly see the results. The management of severe cases; on the other hand, often requires the intervention of a cosmetic surgeon or a dermatologist, who can offer also a number of effective treatments for any acne scars that are left behind. Click acne scar removal to read about the treatments offered by Dr. Dishakjian, the cosmetic surgeon at Nu Vela Laser Medspa.
Accutane (Isotretinoin), an effective drug for acne therapy, works by inhibiting the body’s cell growth and reproduction and oil-gland function. It also interferes with the production of water binding molecules of the body leading to dehydration and drying of the skin, eyes and joints.
Accutane has been linked to several serious physical and mental health problems. Adverse reactions following Accutane treatment may be so severe and common enough that the FDA now requires the drug to carry a “Black Box Label” with them. The suffering and pain caused by the side effects of this drug have led many patients to file lawsuits to seek compensation.
Reported common Accutane side effects include: dry, fragile, sunburn-sensitive skin, dry or cracked lips, dry mouth, dry nose, itching, joint pains, and nosebleed. Serious Accutane side effects include birth defects, depressed mood, trouble concentrating, sleep problems, crying spells, aggression or agitation, changes in behavior, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide and higher than normal rate of suicide attempts, severe diarrhea and rectal bleeding associated with Inflamatory Bowel Disease including Chron’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Other side effects may include chest pain, liver damage with elevated liver enzymes, problems regulating blood sugar, thinning hair, and urinary discomfort. Many of these side effects are chronic in nature and persist even after the drug is discontinued.
Currently, new FDA regulations require that before taking Accutane, women enroll in a federally regulated distribution program called iPLEDGE, where women are require to read and sign an informed consent form (just like for a surgical procedure) before the drug is prescribed by a physician. The goal of iPLEDGE is to prevent any pregnancies in women taking Accutane. A woman must not become pregnant while taking Accutane. The drug can cause severe birth defects; mental retardation and physical malformations are some examples. In fact, Accutane side effects are considered so severe, that it can only be prescribed by doctors that have been certified by the FDA. Moreover, Accutane prescriptions can only be fulfilled by pharmacists that have also been certified by the FDA.
For patients with resistant forms of acne not responsive to over-the-counter and physician prescribed medications, there are limited number of treatment options. At Nu Vela, a premiere Los Angeles Medical Spa, we offer a combination of minimally invasive treatments including state-of-the-art lasers, microdermabrasion and blue light treatments. Unlike Accutane, these effective alternative therapies do not affect the entire body, do not require any downtime, involve minimal to mild discomfort, have minimal side effects, and an excellent safety record.
Dr. Dishakjian of the Center has successfully treated many acne patients who have failed conventional treatment with medications but who do not wish to be on Accutane. After an initial consultation and examining your skin, Dr. Dishakjian will formulate a specific effective treatment plan designed to suppress and control your acne and to improve scarring that has already occurred as a result. Visible reductions in acne breakouts are typically observed over several weeks after initiation of treatment sessions. Most patients receive about 4 treatment sessions per month for optimal results.
At Nuvela, we use the DiamondTome™ system (crystal free) to gently but effectively exfoliate the top dead layers of the skin. This treatment not only leaves the skin smooth, supple and healthier looking, it also helps unplug the skin pores and prevents the accumulation of excess skin oil in sebaceous glands. In terms of exfoliation, this treatment is a wonderful alternative or compliment to chemical peels, takes less than 30 minutes, is non-invasive, pain-free and requires no down time. The number of treatment sessions required depends on skin type and condition. The treatment is highly effective, but results are gradual. Most people experience softer, smoother skin immediately after their first treatment. Click microdermabrasion to learn more about the procedure.
ThermaScan™ (Nd:YAG) laser treatment
The ThermaScan™ procedure is a FDA approved “no downtime” acne laser treatment. ThermaScan™ delivers infrared energy at a wavelength of 1319 nm, a wavelength ideal for acne treatment. The ThermaScan™ laser works on acne by gently heating up the sebaceous glands found in the upper layers of your skin. The heat produced in the glands causes a reduction of oil production and thus the number of active acne lesions. In addition to treating over-active sebaceous glands, this non-ablative procedure will also lead to collagen remodeling of the treated areas, proliferation of active fibroblasts, and improvement in acne scarring. The computer guided scanner of the ThermaScan™ laser allows for very uniform treatment at high speeds, while its integrated contact cooling allows for accurate and reliable cooling of the skin’s surface to prevent heat injury. This combination results in maximum patient comfort in addition to treatment consistency and reproducibility, unachievable by hand placed laser treatments. The procedure, which takes between 30 and 45 minutes, is effective on all skin colors and types with minimal side effects and no downtime.
BBL™ blue light (Sciton technology)
The final step in your acne treatment session involves BBL™’s pulsed light treatment. The BBL™’s blue light at 420 nm wavelength allows controlled heating of sub-epidermal layers of the skin. This acne blue light treatment takes advantage of the fact that the bacteria which is the root cause of acne (P Acnes), produces a compound known as Porphyrin. When exposed to blue light, the porphyrin molecule produces free radicals that in turn kill the bacteria producing the porphyrin. Reduction of bacteria subsequently results in the reduction of acne.
ACNE TREATED AT THE CENTER – BEFORE LASER RESURFACING
You may reach our Los Angeles medical spa by clicking the “Contact ” button or by calling 818-832-4500. Our receptionist will be delighted to assist you with any enquiries regarding cost, additional information, or scheduling a consultation session with Dr. Dishakjian, the cosmetic surgeon of the center. Consultations with the doctor are free with the purchase of any service. We charge a nominal refundable consultation fee for the first office visit only. This fee is fully credited towards a subsequently purchased service.