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Become an Acne Specialist

By: Laura Cooksey
Posted: January 31, 2013, from the February 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
inflammed acne

It took four months to clear this client’s inflammed acne and pigmentation, using a combination of mandelic serum, vitamin A proprionate serum and benzoyl peroxide.

More and more, estheticians are choosing to specialize in a particular aspect of esthetics. Just as some are compelled to create a waxing-only clinic or to focus on just lash extensions and makeup, there are others who choose to specialize in the treatment of acne.

Estheticians and nurses who treat acne have been around for many years, but acne treatments are usually included in a laundry list of services offered. Now, many esthetic practices are entirely dedicated to treating acne-sufferers.

What dermatology lacks

Dermatologists are the logical first choice for someone suffering from acne. There is a common pattern in the protocol used by most physicians for treating acne. Acne patients are given oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics, and/or a choice of prescription retinoids to try. Sometimes benzoyl peroxide will be recommended. If those treatments fail, physicians will often recommend a cycle of isotretinoin. In many cases, these protocols leave the acne-sufferer disappointed and frustrated.

Oral antibiotics. An antibiotic for acne is, at best, a temporary solution. Research has shown that use of oral antibiotics has led to the development of resistant strains of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria.1 It is also well-known that overuse of antibiotics creates resistant strains of bacteria, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In addition, antibiotics do not address the root cause of acne. Acne expert James E. Fulton, MD, writes: “Even if some magic antibiotic could control 100% of the bacteria, you would have attacked only a fraction of the acne problem. I would estimate that oral antibiotics, at best, provide only 20–30% of the needed acne solution.” Antibiotics do not address the root cause of acne—it is the microcomedo that needs to be managed, not the bacteria.

Topical antibiotics. Clindamycin may have dangerous side effects and, just as with oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics are really only a temporary solution for acne. They don’t resolve the dead skin cell problem, and are, therefore, an ineffective long-term solution for acne management.