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July 25 2014

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New Ways To Keep Breakouts At Bay

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This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail celia_ellenberg@condenast.com.

I’ve been crippled by the onset of adult acne recently and am wondering if there’s any new buzz in the industry about the best ways to treat it.

“There are good treatments for adult acne out there, but it’s so important to figure out the cause of the acne before attempting to treat it, if you want effective results. In many cases of women who break out in their 30s and 40s, the culprit is fluctuating hormone levels. Since the problem is coming from inside the body, many topical acne treatments can actually be too drying and do nothing to control the breakouts. Birth control pills can be very helpful since they regulate hormones, but not all women can take them due to their medical history and other factors. I’ve seen two new options that show promise: Spironolactone, a prescription medicine that helps modify the effects of hormones on the skin, and Vitalize chemical peels, a combination of glycolic acid and retinoic acid that’s uniquely helpful for acne-prone skin. The glycolic acid helps to exfoliate while the retinoic acid or Retin-A helps to clean the debris from pores. When performed in a series, the peels not only reduce breakouts, but also impart some antiaging effects on the skin—an added bonus.”

Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., is a cosmetic dermatologist and co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at John Hopkins Hospital Center. She is a leader in the field of laser surgery and recognized as one of the most experienced experts in the field of injectable procedures.

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