There are many options for controlling acne these days. Dr. Davis can come up with a treatment plan for you based on your medical history, type of acne, personal preferences, and financial constraints.
What does an Acne consultation with Dr. Davis involve?
Dr. Davis will begin your visit by taking your medical history. She will need to know if you have any underlying medical illnesses, allergies, or are taking any medication. For female patients, Dr. Davis will need to know whether you are trying to get pregnant at this time or are using birth control pills (these can negatively interact with certain medications). She will want to know what medicines you have already tried for treatment of your acne; whether any were helpful in controlling your condition, and if any caused problems for you. This applies for all topical medications (both prescription and over the counter), oral antibiotics, and other oral medications that you have used. She will want to know what other treatments (i.e. chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser, etc) you have tried and whether any of these were beneficial or problematic for you. Dr. Davis will also need to know what skin-care products you are using since some of these can contribute to or cause acne.
After taking your history, Dr. Davis will examine your skin. She will see whether the acne is primarily on your face or extends onto your body. Acne can occur on the face, chest, back, and shoulders (and occasionally on the buttocks). She will also assess the nature of your acne; whether it consists mainly of blackheads, pustules (pimples with “whiteheads”), or cysts (these are found under the skin, are larger, and can leave scars). All have different treatments.
Dr. Davis will then discuss different options with you, taking into account all of the above, as well as your budget. Certain prescription medications are quite expensive and therefore generally recommended only to patients who have insurance to help with their cost. (Acne is a medical condition and its treatment is covered by health plans. We employ a biller on our staff who will gladly file your visit for reimbursement.) Conversely, some in-office treatments are very effective, but are not be covered by insurance; so if you have insurance, you may not wish to start with these. If a patient wishes to keep costs as low as possible, Dr. Davis can prescribe generic medications since these will be less expensive. We also have manufacturer’s discount coupons available for many of the medicines that Dr. Davis prescribes which helps to make treatment affordable for everyone. In most instances we also have samples of these medications so that patients can try several different ones at home and choose which works best for them before filling a prescription.
What treatments does Dr. Davis offer for Acne?
Dr. Davis can prescribe traditional acne medications such as topical retinoids (over seven different brands exist in several strengths and forms-creams, gels, pumps), topical antibiotics (drying solutions, less drying gels, moisturizing lotions, washes, and wipes), topical acids, topical benzoyl peroxide products (washes, gels, wipes; alone, or mixed with different antibiotics), oral antibiotics (many different types), and others. Dr. Davis also prescribes Accutane, an oral retinoid that eliminates acne. It can have certain side effects so it is generally reserved for patients with cystic acne refractory to other treatments; or can be used for patients who just want their acne cured. Patients should not become pregnant while on Accutane, since birth defects have been reported in babies whose mothers took this drug while pregnant. Several months after completing Accutane it is safe to become pregnant. This medication is very costly and is therefore, generally only prescribed to patients with insurance to cover it.
If a patient wants a pimple/cyst cleared quickly, acne surgery is an excellent alternative or adjunct to medication. During this procedure blackheads are extracted, and Dr. Davis injects cortisone directly into pimples, causing them to shrink and disappear in anywhere from 2-24 hours. Many people see results immediately and are able to attend any social function soon after. This procedure is reimbursable for you under most insurance plans and our biller will be happy to file the claim for you.
The procedures below are performed in our office for acne treatment. They are very effective for controlling acne, but are not covered by insurance.
Chemical Peels - Theraplex SA Facial Peel(Salicylic Acid Peel), and Alpha Beta Peel are all wonderful for treating acne and can also lessen dark pigmentation that comes from acne. Except for the Alpha Beta peel, they are safe for skin of all colors.
The Theraplex SA Facial Peel uses salicylic acid and is available in three strengths. It is generally performed monthly (starting with the lowest strength), and works best on oily skin. You can read more about this peel on the Theraplex SA Facial Peel page.
The Alpha Beta Peel contains salicylic, lactic, and glycolic acids. It is a stronger peel that is only safe to use on Caucasian skin. It helps treat acne of all types, as well as discoloration and photoaging. You can read more about this on our Salicylic Acid Peel page.
Microdermabrasion - This treatment uses micro-crystals to abrade the outer layers of the skin. This procedure is very useful for treating comedonal acne (blackheads) as well as pustules. It can also lessen the appearance of acne scars and pigmentation. Usually, microdermabrasion is performed on a monthly basis with treatments getting progressively stronger until a plateau is reached. Patients can return to work immediately after without any “down time. It is safe for skin of all colors and for women who are pregnant. You can read more about this procedure on our page entitled Microdermabrasion.
Dermasweep - This procedure combines the benefits of microdermabrasion and a chemical peel and is crystal free. Unlike regular microdermabrasion, Dermasweep simultaneously abrades and applies a continuous flow of various serums, tailored to your specific needs. The salicylic acid infusion is very effective when treating acne because Dr. Davis is able to infuse the chemical deep into the skin while simultaneously abrading the outer layers. Other serums used help treat pigmentation, brighten skin, and add moisture to dry skin (without causing breakouts). For best results, we recommend 6 treatments, 2-4 weeks apart. This treatment is safe for skin of all colors and can be performed on the face and /or body. For more information, please see our page entitled Dermasweep.
Photodynamic Therapy - This treatment is very effective for cystic acne. Dr. Davis paints a light enhancing chemical called levulan over the affected area, where it is absorbed for half an hour. The treatment with our IPL/RF laser begins. Generally three monthly treatments are needed, and deliver results comparable to Accutane. For more information, please see our Photodynamic Therapy for Acne page.