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8 Acne Blunders: Common Mistakes to Avoid When Working With Acne

By: Mark Lees, PhD
Posted: January 31, 2014, from the February 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
8 Acne Blunders: Common Mistakes to Avoid When Working With Acn

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Solution. The trick in using BPO is to apply a very small amount to all acne-prone areas, gently massage until it penetrates, and then spot-treat raised lesions. If the skin is ultra-sensitive or redness develops, have clients use the BPO gel every other night and on the alternate night, use a noncomedogenic hydration fluid. So one night they flush the follicles and the next night they hydrate.

Sometimes BPO gel medication will act more aggressively if the surrounding skin care products are too irritating or dehydrating. Plan your clients’ entire program so they have a balance between proper hydration and proper use of the BPO product. In most cases, 2.5% concentration is high enough to be effective. Using a gel with a 10% concentration of BPO is often unnecessary and certainly can be more irritating to skin. Estheticians sometimes express worry about BPO causing free-radical damage. Although it is a peroxide, the application is controlled to benefit the skin. The possible damage does not outweigh the benefit.

5. Don’t recommend or use comedogenic skin care products and makeup. Fatty emollients and other oily ingredients used in skin care and cosmetic products can cause or worsen the development of comedones. Substances that cause comedo formation are known as being comedogenic. The oily substances in these products penetrate the follicles, causing the same effect as sebum does from the inside of the follicles. Some of these ingredients are also irritating to the follicle walls, causing inflammation and swelling that can further obstruct the air flow in the follicle. It is almost always the vehicle or spreading agent of the skin care product or foundation that contains these clogging ingredients. The comedogenic ingredients are very often found in products for mature and dry skin.

Solution. Make sure you only use and sell tested noncomedogenic products for your clients with problem skin. Look for products that are labeled both noncomedogenic and dermatologist-tested. This testing is elective and expensive, and not all companies choose to have it done. Double-check the client’s makeup to make sure it has also been properly tested for comedogenicity. This is especially important for foundations, powders and blushes.

6. Don’t ignore at-home care. Unfortunately, this happens too often. The esthetician diligently performs extractions, and uses peels and treatments to help the skin, but fails to recommend or design a home-care program for the client. Home care is the single most important factor in successful acne treatment. Having a program approach to both at-home care and the overall treatment plan makes a tremendous difference in treatment success.

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