Hi Dr. Bailey!
I’m 17 years old and lately I’ve had a remarkable amount of acne breakouts, or more like a really massive breakout. I’ve had many breakouts in the past but lately it has been worse. I want my skin to recover quickly and would like to know what I can do to speed the natural healing process? Also, what can I do to eliminate acne scars from the past breakouts?
Hope you can help,
To speed the skin’s natural healing process after a big acne flare I recommend:
1. Avoid using skin care products with mineral oil or petrolatum. These ingredients can cause new acne lesions to form. Once the original acne flare-up is quiet it’s wise not to provoke a new bout of acne by using the wrong skin care products.
2. Start using skin care products that treat and help prevent acne such as my Ultimate Acne Solutions Skin Care Kits. The Ultimate Acne Solutions Skin Care Kits contain high levels of the best non-prescription acne treatment medicines available for topical acne treatment.
3. Make diet changes that help to prevent acne such as:
- cutting the carbs and junk food
- eating more fruits and veggies
- cutting down on dairy
- loading up on omega-3 rich foods like salmon, walnuts, spinach and flax seeds
These changes will allow acne prone skin to calm down and the active lesions to heal.
It takes time for the marks to fade though. To help stop acne lesions from leaving brown marks on your skin (called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) I always recommend avoiding the sun. Even casual sun exposure can worsen the risk of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This means that wearing an oil-free, mineral zinc/broad spectrum sunscreen everyday in place of a moisturizer can really help. The product I have my acne prone patients use is Citrix.
Also, using glycolic acid products can help to prevent and lighten hyperpigmentation from acne lesion. My favorite glycolic acid skin care regimen for acne prone skin is my Glycolic Acid Skin Care Kit.
Acne scars are tougher to treat than post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Many scars will naturally fade over time, but others require treatment. Laser treatments, IPL treatments (a special kind of light treatments done in the doctor’s office) and topical prescription tretinoin are three of my favorite treatments for acne scars.
A massive breakout of facial pustules may not just be acne. It may be time to get a specific diagnosis because not every skin whitehead or pimple is caused by acne. When I see a real upsurge in pimples I look for a cause. One really important cause to consider is a bacterial infection; bacteria such as staph can ‘dog pile’ on a mild case of acne, infecting what would otherwise be small pimples and causing them to be deeper, redder, more tender, and really dramatic big zits. There are different types of bacteria other than staph that can do this too. Different types of bacteria are treated with different oral prescription antibiotics. The bottom line is that the best treatment starts with the correct diagnosis. If acne isn’t responding to acne skin care products, good non comedogenic skin care practices and an acne diet then it’s time for a doctor’s appointment.
I hope that helps.
Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist
If you have questions about skin care or skin health please send them to me using the Contact Dr. Bailey button at the top of the page.
Disclaimer: Please realize that availing yourself of the opportunity to submit and receive answers to your questions from Dr. Bailey does not confer a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Bailey. The information provided by Dr. Bailey is general health information inspired by your question. It should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem (and is not an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has provided in her office for existing patients of her practice). Never ignore your own doctor’s advice because of something you read here; this information is for general informational purpose only.