Thanks to the research of Retin-A mastermind Dr. James Fulton, we finally know some important “truths” about acne:
- Acne and its cause are genetic, and most people have that genetic predisposition!
- The cause of acne, the REAL culprit, is inadequate skin cell turnover.
- Though not the cause, there are many well-known factors that can further contribute to one’s acne breakouts, including stress, comedogenic products, and hormones, to name a few.
- There are many methods of treatment that can help with acne symptoms, including antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory products and medications, but these methods will not help correct the inadequate cell turnover process.
But now for some good news!
- There IS a way to control acne once you realize all those aforementioned truths!
We’re now ready to share with you Fulton’s favorite methods for acne treatment, the ones PROVEN, with time, to be effective! First, we should take a look at the different grades of acne Dr. Fulton has outlined:
GRADE 1 ACNE- Closed and Open Comedones
The lowest grade of acne, consisting of blackheads (open comedones,) which are very easy to extract, and whiteheads (closed comedones,) which may remain unchanged for weeks before developing further into a blackhead or blemish.
GRADE 2 ACNE- MOSTLY Closed Comedones
This is one of the toughest grades to treat because with such a small follicle opening it’s difficult to properly exfoliate the whitehead. This is a prime example as to the importance of proper cell turnover and shedding.
GRADE 3- Papules and Pustules
A combination of inflamed acne blemishes, which were once closed comedones, and probably open and closed comedones.
GRADE 4- Nodules and Cysts
At this grade of acne, breaks happen very low in the follicle walls and
deeper infections occurs, resulting in cystic nodules which are large and
painful and tend to linger for long periods of time. Because of the size and
severity of these infections, they will most likely lead to scaring.
Knowing a little about what grade of acne you have will help determine your course of action in treatment. So let’s (finally!) talk about that! As we’ve mentioned several times, Dr. James Fulton is the brains behind Retin-A, a prescription skincare product that helps the skin to renew itself by using Vitamin A acid to encourage faster cell turnover. Unlike many other chemical exfoliants that are used to treat acne (salicylic acid is an example,) vitamin A molecules are small enough that they can successfully exfoliate all the way down inside the pore, loosening existing impactions and speeding up cell-turnover. By working vitamin A into your daily skincare regimen you’ll be able to exfoliate the micro-comedones responsible for acne AND stay ahead of the game by further maintaining consistent cell turnover. Vitamin A, whether prescription-strength or in over-the-counter products (retinol,) is Fulton’s key weapon!
Fulton also suggests combining use of a vitamin A acid, even with its Holy Grail properties, with an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid.) He favors mandelic acid, derived from almonds, for its exfoliating, lightening, and antiseptic properties. Like any AHA, it has the ability to strip dead skin cells off the surface, which allows for better product penetration.
Finally, for those with Grade 3 and 4 acne, the last step would be to add benzoyl peroxide to your regimen. Around the time of Fulton’s first success with vitamin A therapy came the benzoyl peroxide breakthrough, during which dermatologists found the ingredient to be an effective treatment against infection (pustules) exacerbated by acne bacteria. Since the bacteria can’t live in the presence of oxygen (that’s where the –oxide comes into play!), benzoyl peroxide makes for a great add-in to a regimen containing Dr. Fulton’s recommended acid therapies.
Now, before you run off to the closest dermatologists office and Rite-Aid to stock up on Retin-A prescriptions and benzoyle peroxide creams, hear us out for just a minute more!
At Be Smooth, we stand by our philosophy that “less is more,” but acknowledge the necessity for exfoliation and in-spa treatments that are necessary for successful acne treatment. That’s why we’ve combined our own methods and Fulton’s to create custom regimens based on your own skin type and grade of acne, and in the meantime have found products that are formulated for maximum efficacy with minimal irritation (great news when dealing with daily exfoliation!) We’re working with a new skincare line that utilizes all of Fulton’s favorite ingredients, balancing them with our own gentle cleansers and moisturizers, and creating a treatment series combining facials and mandelic acid peels. Stay tuned for more information here on our website, or feel free to stop by our Pearl District spa! We’re excited to chat with you, and ready to strategize an attack on your acne, from the inside out!