Got zits? We feel your pain, and so does pretty much everyone else. Just ask your parents: Acne has been the enemy of picture days, first dates and proms since Day One.
"I love treating acne, because it's the most common place that everyone notices and when it clears, patients are really truly appreciative," says Dominic P. Moccia, RPA-C registered physician assistant in dermatology at Chelsea Skin & Laser in New York City. "There are so many different treatments out there, whether cosmetic, over the counter or prescription. Having someone who knows the skin to help you out is key." And of course, the right treatment is different for each patient and her skin type.
Great! So now that thats out of the way...how do we cure it?
"Unfortunately there really is no cure for acne," says Dominic.
Accutane which is an incredibly effective medication, but has numerous side effects and requires monitoring by your practitioner," he says.
And if you need a quick fix?
"For a less agressive approach, retinoids are my favorite," Dominic says. "They are a topical application and work wonderfully for acne (especially as a long-term maintenance therapy), but also have the extra added benefits of decreasing fine lines and wrinkles, evening out skin tone and, according to some studies, preventing against non-melanoma-type skin cancers."
There are lots of retinol-based products on the market to try, like Philosophy Help Me cream ($49, Sephora) or Boots No. 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum ($30, Ulta).
If those prove to not be strong enough, a new prescription medication, Onexton, hit shelves this year that is supposed to work wonders. Your dermatologist can let you know if it might be a good fit for your skin.
"The active ingredients (benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin) are still the same tried-and-true agents, but the vehical and preparation of the BPO molecule is what really has allowed for better treatment of both inflammatory and comedonal acne," Dominic says. "The new gel formation allows for less irritation [the reason why many patients stop treatment] while the new preparation of BPO allows for the molecule to effectively penetrate deeper and easier, allowing for a higher concentration of the medication getting to where it is needed."
There are a lot of things rumored to zap zits that Dominic says aren't actually helpful. One is Vitamin E. Another is cocoa butter, and similarly, shea butter.
Another thing to note: Birth control is not guaranteed to be effective - some pills might clear up your zits right away, others might not affect it at all.
The moral of the story? Go see your dermatologist and have him/her point you in the right direction. Your clear #IWokeUpLikeThis skin will make you glad you did!