Have a question about acne but don’t know where to get it answered? With so much information (and misinformation) out there, it can get confusing. Take the guesswork out of effective skincare and get your information straight from the source. Audience, meet the source: board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Glynis Ablon. Because who better to answer all your acne-related questions than a leading dermatologist?
In honor of Acne Awareness month, Dr. Ablon answered your top 10 acne-related questions and shared her thoughts on LED light therapy as an effective treatment.
So read on, your skin will thank you for it.
Dr. Glynis Ablon has 26 years of experience in medical, surgical and aesthetic dermatology, completing her residency training at Texas' Baylor School of Medicine. She is currently an associate clinical professor at UCLA and has published over 50 medical articles, and has written three books. In addition to being an on-camera medical consultant for The Doctors Show, ABC, NBC and E! Entertainment, she also runs The Ablon Skin Institute Research Center, an independent clinical research site specializing in dermatology clinical trials.
Dr. Ablon is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Academy of Liposuction Surgery, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, and American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. She also received the IMCAS Research Award in 2010 for innovative research on Botulinum Toxins. You go, Dr. Ablon!
Q: Does having acne mean I'm not cleaning my face well or often enough?
Dr. Ablon: It is important to wash your face at the end of the day to remove make up, sunscreen, environmental exposures but you don't need to wash more than once or twice a day. And gentle cleansers work great. It's important to look at your skin type when choosing a cleanser, so someone with acne would likely do well with a cleanser containing salicylic acid or low dose glycolic acid to help with acne. You don't have to be aggressive to have clean skin.
Q: I haven’t had acne since I was a teenager but now I’m in my 30’s and having breakouts. What is happening?
Dr. Ablon: The cause of acne is multifactorial. Hormones, stress, and environmental issues can play a big part in adult acne. It is important to see your dermatologist to discuss and make sure there aren't any other causes contributing to the breakouts.
Q: How should I go about my anti-aging skin routine when I’m also trying to treat my acne?
Dr. Ablon: This really depends on what kind of topicals you are using. I typically like to put on any prescription medication first but depending on whether it is a cream, gel, ointment, or serum would determine the order of things. When it comes to LED, no products should be worn prior. I like keeping it simple and when you have acne, less is better. So, make sure you discuss with your dermatologist exactly what you need. If you layer too many products on top of one another, some will not penetrate through the skin barrier or do anything.
Q: I'm considering LED light therapy. How does blue + red light, like the Omnilux CLEAR mask, work to treat acne?
Dr. Ablon: At the correct wavelengths, blue and red LED light work in combination with one another to successfully treat acne. The blue light neutralizes bacteria on the surface of your skin that is responsible for acne. The red light reduces inflammation and redness and is great at reducing excess oil production in the sebaceous glands. When these two wavelengths are used together, you receive a more effective and efficient acne treatment, as opposed to having to do multiple sessions with individual wavelengths of light. This is why I love the Omnilux CLEAR mask.
Q: Can the CLEAR mask help with acne scarring?
Dr. Ablon: The red light used in the device helps with healing and the evening of skin and may result in minimizing the visibility of acne scars.
Q: Should I be using other acne skincare products while using the CLEAR device?
Dr. Ablon: For the best result, it's best to avoid other skincare products while using the CLEAR mask. You can certainly wash your face prior to treatment with a gentle cleanser and use a light moisturizer after treatment, but I recommend against using spot treatments or other topicals during your 6-week course of LED treatments. Prescription treatments such as Tretinoin and Accutane should also be avoided if you choose to use light therapy.
Q: Topical and more aggressive treatments have not worked for my acne - will Omnilux CLEAR?
Dr. Ablon: Omnilux CLEAR is an amazing low level light therapy device that I feel works on everything from acne to rashes. The old adage "no pain no gain" is not true when it comes to low level light therapy technology. This device does not hurt, or cause side effects and really does work for acne and redness.
Q: What ingredients should I stay away from for a more natural acne treatment and why?
Dr. Ablon: This is always a very difficult question. I always believe everything starts with your gut, so I would certainly look at what I was putting in my body nutritionally. The only big ingredients I really try to stay away from are phenol and phthalates, and some parabens. I love adding vitamins to treat acne and of course low level light therapy.
Q: Why did you choose to use Omnilux devices at the Ablon Skin Research Center and UCLA Derm department?
Dr. Ablon: I own more than 30 devices in my office. I have used the Omnilux device for over 20 years. It is one of my go-to devices! I actually own two of the Omnilux Medical units and they work constantly throughout the day. I consistently see excellent results from all Omnilux products, including the Contour and CLEAR home-use devices.
Q: In your opinion, what separates Omnilux from other LED devices on the market?
Dr. Ablon: The amount of LED bulbs, the ease of use, maneuverability, portability, and significant results all played a part in my choice of purchasing not one but two Omnilux Medical devices for my office - and to offer the home-use Contour and CLEAR units to my patients.
A big thanks to Dr. Ablon for sitting down with our team to answer some of our community's most asked acne questions.