It’s that time of year — the sun’s out, temperatures are rising, and breakouts are beginning to flare. If you have mixed emotions about spring and summer because of what they mean for your complexion, you’re not the only one. The good news is that clear skin and warm weather can coexist! You just need to make a plan.
Tip #1: Keep pores clear
No plug, no problem. Meaning, if your pore isn’t stuffed with dirt, sebum, and dead cells, there’s not a lot there that’s going to get stuck and block your skin’s normal flow of oil to the surface. After all, a pimple comes from a clogged pore. To prevent that from happening, the first step is to get everything on the surface of your face off, every night. (If you decide to wash your face in the morning, that’s up to you. But the pre-bed cleanse is non-negotiable.) Our Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta AHA/BHA Daily Cleansing Gel gently lifts away dirt, makeup, dead cells, and anything else you don’t want.
After that, it’s time to exfoliate on a deeper level. That means a peel, of course. Our Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel contains seven alpha and beta hydroxy acids that can absorb deep into pores to dissolve any gunk lining the pore walls before it has a chance to wreak havoc.
Tip #2: Moisturize — the right way
The minute anyone with acne hears that they need to moisture their skin daily, they usually run away screaming. It’s understandable. If part of your problem is oil, it seems counterintuitive to add anything that seems remotely oil-adjacent to your skin. But keeping your face thirsty won’t solve your oil production problem. It just makes it worse because then your skin is caught up in a vicious cycle of trying to make more oil to hydrate your skin. So, stop the insanity. An oil-free formulation will provide the moisture you need to keep your skin in balance but won’t clog your pores. If you want to address discoloration as you hydrate, try our Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Oil-Free Radiant Moisturizer, which is filled to the brim with antioxidant vitamin C, as well as pore-refining niacinamide. For those who can’t get enough of the alpha and beta hydroxy acids in our Daily Peels, our oil-free Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Moisturizer contains those, plus skin barrier-strengthening squalane and ceramides.
Tip #3: Make friends with a facial steamer
A facial steamer, like our Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer, is the secret weapon of aestheticians and others with blemish-free faces. Steam heat helps liquify blackheads and whiteheads, so they slide out of pores. (This is not an excuse to pick at your skin! Let the steamer do its job and keep your hands off.) Those tiny water droplets also hydrate the skin. As we said, overdrying your face isn’t the way to remedy acne. Steam is another gentle, oil-free way to help keep skin supple.
Tip #4: Blue LEDs bust bacteria
Blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been proven to kill P. acnes, the bacteria that’s the other component of acne (in addition to pore blockages). Even better, blue LED treatments are totally painless, require no downtime, and can be done in as little as three minutes a day. Our Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro is a fan favorite because it’s ridiculously easy to use and delivers dramatic results: 97 percent of test subjects saw an overall improvement in their acne after just two weeks of daily use. Plus, the FaceWare Pro also contains red LEDs, which help reduce the inflammation that often accompanies acne.
Tip #5: Know when to call in the pros
It’s possible that despite your best and most diligent efforts, you can’t get your acne under control. While the aesthetic implications of breakouts may have you thinking that acne is just a cosmetic concern, acne is actually classified as an inflammatory skin disorder and is grouped with other medical conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, warts, and skin cancer. (Cosmetic dermatology, on the other hand, is the province of injectable fillers and neuromodulators.) As such, when your at-home treatments aren’t doing the trick, there’s no shame in making an appointment with a medical dermatologist to get a stronger solution.
One of those is the AviClear laser, FDA-cleared to reduce mild, moderate, and severe acne. Think of the AviClear as the laser version of Accutane (isotretinoin, a vitamin A derivative), only without the horrendous side effects (like birth defects and clinical depression). Like Accutane, which lowers oil production by shrinking sebaceous glands, AviClear also targets the sebaceous glands. Its wavelength is exactly calibrated to destroys sebocytes, the cells that make sebum. Fewer sebocytes means lower oil production, clearing current acne and helping ensure future breakouts are less frequent and less intense. Doctors recommend three 30-minute treatments over eight weeks to get the best acne-reduction results.
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