Saratoga Dermatology and Medical Spa
54 Seward Street
Saratoga Springs, New York 12866
tel: (518) 581-2860
fax: (518) 581-7358
Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
What Is Acne?
Most teenagers and young adults develop acne at some point, although the severity varies widely. An increase in certain hormone levels at the onset of puberty increases oil production. Hair follicles trap the excess oil, which clogs pores and causes blackheads or whiteheads to emerge. Bacteria tend to grow in the follicles, leading to pimples, cysts, papules, and other blemishes.
Not all acne treatments work for every patient. Our dermatologists, Dr. Jean Buhac and Dr. Jennifer Smith, use their experience and expertise to create treatment plans based on examining a patient’s skin. Dermatologists grade acne on a scale of 1 to 4, based on its severity. Some individuals can see improvement with over-the-counter anti-acne products. For many people, though, a dermatologist can more effectively control moderate to severe acne.
We offer a variety of acne treatments for our patients from Albany, Schenectady, and other nearby communities, including:
- Topical treatments: Prescription creams and gels applied to the skin can help kill bacteria or reduce oil produced by glands. These medications include prescriptions marketed under brand names such as Retin-A, Tazorac®, and Differin®. They also reduce inflammation and help prevent scarring.
- Systemic treatments: Oral medications that work throughout the body may be prescribed for patients with red, swollen acne, such as cysts and nodules. The treatment plan may include a combination of antibiotics and isotretinoin, a medication that effectively treats severe acne.
- Laser procedures: Patients who want to avoid oral medications can benefit from a series of noninvasive laser treatments which shrink oil glands and kill bacteria. We often combine 2 lasers—the Vbeam and Smoothbeam—during a single appointment to treat both active acne and acne scarring. Our dermatologists recommend 4 to 5 treatments scheduled every 3 to 4 weeks to produce optimal results.
- Chemical peels: Superficial peels penetrate the skin’s surface layer, helping reduce skin oil secretions and inflammation. Peels can supplement other acne treatments, or be used alone for mild cases.
The side effects of acne treatments vary, depending on the procedure used. Our dermatologists thoroughly explain the procedures and side effects during your consultation and will recommend the treatment that’s best suited for your particular case.
Acne Scar Treatments
Acne scarring is fairly common, especially for individuals who didn’t treat acne as adolescents or young adults. It can be an annoying or embarrassing condition, but there are ways to reduce the appearance of acne scars. The first step in treating scars is scheduling a consultation with one of our dermatologists, who will assess the type of scarring and determine the best treatment for you. There are 3 types of acne scars:
- Ice pick: Deep, but small pits
- Boxcar: Scars with sharp angles that can be shallow or deep
- Rolling: These create a wavy look and tend to be wide and shallow
The best treatments depend on the type of scars you have. The treatment options include:
- Laser skin resurfacing: Fractional carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers can smooth acne scars without surgery and can be used on all skin types and colors without side effects. We use the CO2RE laser to improve the skin’s tone and texture without the downtime of more aggressive ablative laser treatments.
- Microdermabrasion: For mild acne scars, microdermabrasion offers a versatile treatment that can be used on all skin types and colors. It’s generally not effective for deeper scarring.
- Chemical peels: Moderate and deep peels penetrate the deeper layers of the skin using high concentrations of acids. Deep peels are very effective, but should only be performed by a highly-trained and experienced dermatologist. The side effects of deep peels include swelling, crusting, and redness that can last for several weeks or months.
- Fillers: The same dermal fillers used to reduce wrinkles can be used to temporarily smooth mild acne scars.
As you can see, multiple treatment options exist for treating acne and acne scars. You can learn what treatments are best for you by requesting a consultation at Saratoga Dermatology using the online form, or calling our office at (518) 581-2860 to schedule an appointment.