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What Are the Most Effective Treatments for Persistent Acne?

At Prizant Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA, we understand how hard it can be to feel confident when acne outbreaks occur. We also understand how frustrating it is that painful, severe acne outbreaks often result in scars marring your face and body. That’s why we proudly offer several effectivest treatments for persient acne. Here’s what you need to know.


What Are the Most Effective Treatments for Persistent Acne?

Some of the most effective treatments for persistent acne include topical medication and oral medication. Furthermore, several effective cosmetic treatments can reduce the frequency of certain types of acne outbreaks and eliminate acne scars. One such cosmetic treatment is photodynamic therapy, or PDT. Another example is microneedling.

What Does Photodynamic Therapy Involve?

During photodynamic therapy, we will apply a liquid to the areas of concern that your skin will absorb. In some cases, only 15 minutes may be required for the skin to absorb the liquid fully. In other cases, it can take a couple of hours for full absorption to occur. Once your skin has absorbed the liquid, the damaged skin cells in the area become very photosensitive.

At that point, we will use a device that emits a light wavelength that kills the bacteria responsible for causing the acne breakouts. The light application portion of the treatment usually takes between eight and 20 minutes to complete depending on the scope of the treatment. This treatment also smooths the skin, improving the appearance of any acne scars you may have.

How Many PDT Sessions Will I Need?

Generally, you can expect to need three photodynamic therapy sessions space roughly three to four weeks apart to treat persistent acne effectively. However, depending on the severity of your acne, you may need up to five treatment sessions before your acne is under complete control. Alternatively, you may only need two treatment sessions if your acne is not very severe.

How Soon Will I Be Able to Enjoy the Results of My Treatment?

It may be one to three months after your final treatment session before you can enjoy the final results of your treatment. Therefore, if you need three sessions spaced a month apart, it may be four to six months before you no longer have to worry about acne outbreaks. However, you can expect to experience fewer outbreaks before your final results develop.

Am I a Good Candidate for Photodynamic Therapy?

Generally, you can expect to qualify for photodynamic therapy if prescription drugs for acne are not right for you and you want to get your acne outbreaks under control. Research results show that this treatment is optimal for people with cysts and red bumps rather than whiteheads and blackheads. Additionally, it is ideal for people with moderate or severe acne. If you have mild acne, another treatment may be most appropriate for you.

However, we need to discuss your medical history before we can confirm that you are a good candidate for this treatment. There are contraindications, including porphyria, systemic lupus erythematosus, and an allergy to the photosensitizer.

What Aftercare Guidelines Are Required?

After your PDT session, you must remain out of the sun for 48 hours. Due to the photosensitizing agent used during the therapy, sunscreen will not provide you with adequate protection from the sun’s UV rays. During your initial consultation, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of topical products to avoid, such as makeup and certain lotions. It is particularly important that you avoid using waxy or oily products post-treatment.

What Does Microneedling Involve?

Microneedling with the FDA-approved SkinPen is a safe, comfortable, highly effective treatment for certain types of acne outbreaks. Generally, you can expect this treatment to take a couple of hours to complete. Before your treatment, we will apply a topical anesthetic to the areas of concern, and it usually takes half an hour for the medication to take effect. However, it can take longer. We will also clean your skin before treatment to ensure your safety.

Am I a Good Candidate for Microneedling?

You should qualify for microneedling if you do not have active acne in your areas of concern at the time of your treatment. However, there are other factors that must be considered before we can determine if you qualify for this treatment. For example, your skin should be free from any other form of irritation, like a viral or bacterial infection, at the time of your appointment to qualify.

Besides the health of your skin, your overall health must be considered. For instance, you will not be able to receive treatment if you are pregnant or nursing. Additionally, to be considered a good candidate for this treatment, you should not have a history of keloid scarring. Furthermore, you should have realistic expectations about the results of treatment and the ability to follow all preparation and aftercare guidelines.

What Preparation Steps Will I Need to Take Before Treatment?

Before you get microneedling to treat persistent acne, you need to stop taking blood-thinning pharmaceuticals, like garlic supplements and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. You also must wear sunscreen diligently and stop using any skincare products that can cause skin irritation. It is also important that you don’t smoke or drink alcohol, and you should arrive for your appointment hydrated and well-nourished.

What Aftercare Guidelines Are There?

Once your treatment is complete, you can return to work or spend the rest of your day relaxing. You may not engage in any activity that causes sweating, like high-intensity interval training or sitting in a sauna. You also should refrain from applying makeup to your treated areas. Furthermore, cosmetic products containing retinol and AHAs should not be used. Additionally, you should avoid sun exposure for at least one week post-treatment.

Discover How You Can Leave Your Acne Outbreaks Behind

Among the most effective treatments for persistent acne are topical and oral drugs, microneedling, and PDT. To discover which treatment method is ideal for you, contact us at Prizant Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA to schedule an initial consultation.

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