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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Acne Q & A—Part 1

I have dry, scaly patches on my cheeks, but my dermatologist said I have acne. He gave me a topical ointment plus oral antibiotics. Is my skin dry or is it acne? It’s all so confusing! Help! Plus an aesthetician said I have a little rosacea on my cheeks. I’m so sensitive and have spent so much money at the dermatologist and having different treatments—what should I do? What is my skin type?

I love this person’s remarks. She exemplifies the confusion so many people face when it comes to their skin. “A doctor said this, and I am taking a prescription medication, but with little or no results. I don’t understand my skin.” Sometimes clients even say “My skin is confused.” Your skin isn’t confused; it is simply reacting to its environment (internally and externally). Your skin, in fact, knows exactly what to do—and is doing exactly what it needs to do. It is the consumer who gets confused, and for good reason. I will break down her comments to see if I can make better sense of what is going on with her skin.

I have dry, scaly patches on my cheeks, but my dermatologist said I have acne. Dry and scaly skin does not equal acne. If your skin feels dry and looks scaly, you probably need to exfoliate. True scaliness could mean your skin is having an allergic reaction or perhaps an intolerance to a product, especially a new product. Dry and scaly skin could be eczema, a common dermatitis. Dry and scaly could also be your skin’s reaction to harsh and drying products you may be using to decrease oiliness or problem skin. Remember: your skin is reacting to something when it becomes dry and scaly. Look to your skin care habits and the products you are using, even extreme weather conditions, to find out what may be causing these reactions.

He gave me a topical ointment plus oral antibiotics. A topical product for acne may help with breakouts, but it also may be causing the dry and scaly condition of your skin to continue or even get worse. Many times dermatologists prescribe creams and ointments that are meant to dry things out. This, as you know (or will find out), is not how I would go about treating an acne or problem skin condition. If your skin seems drier and more scaly or red and irritated after the prescribed treatment products, don’t use them! Monitor your skin and let it be your guide, but do contact your doctor about any reactions.

Regarding antibiotics, taking anything orally affects your entire body. Constant or repeated use of oral antibiotics can cause several problems. First, it can create a healthy environment for unhealthy bacteria to flourish in your large intestines. Your colon is set up with a particular balance of both good and bad bacteria; antibiotics kill both the bad and the good bacteria. Second, your immune system can weaken from constant use of antibiotics. If and when you really do need to produce antibodies to fight off bacteria, your system is less able to do so, which makes you vulnerable to getting sick. Antibiotics—long term—set up imbalance.

Is my skin dry or is it acne? It’s all so confusing! Plus an aesthetician said I have a little rosacea on my cheeks. I have found acne and rosacea to be the most misdiagnosed conditions or at least the two most overused words to describe skin problems. You may very well have rosacea, although the description of your skin didn’t necessarily indicate that. I would suggest reading about rosacea so you can see if the symptoms match your skin’s condition. The treatment for rosacea is miles apart from acne treatment. Perhaps you truly do have acne or even rosacea, but you may just have problem skin that has been adversely affected by the actual treatment of your problems. Now that is confusing. You may simply have problem/dehydrated skin.

I’m so sensitive and have spent so much money at the dermatologist and having different treatmentswhat should I do? What is my skin type? If you take away all the treatments and medications that could be causing problems, it might be easier to determine your true skin type. Your skin’s condition is what you need to treat first and foremost. It is the immediate need, secondary to skin type. Once your skin has normalized, you can better determine what products would be effective for your actual type of skin or skin type.

It’s difficult to treat skin conditions yourself if you don’t know what is going on. That is the purpose of my writing—to help you determine for yourself what the problems are and how to go about solving them. I want to give you the knowledge and the tools to help you help yourself. If you have acne and cannot get rid of it by changing your lifestyle habits (or because you refuse to), then absolutely, go see your doctor. Medications may indeed help you, but in this person’s case, it didn’t help her and seemed to cause her skin more problems.

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