Dr. Lana Kashlan shares her knowledge about acne.

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting about 50 million Americans annually. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that nearly all of us have suffered from acne, whether in a mild form with blackheads and the occasional pimple or the severe cystic type. Regardless of severity, acne can be extremely frustrating for people as the drug store shelves are full of creams and gels, all marketed as the miracle cure, but what really works? To understand acne treatment, we must take a step back and understand what acne is.

What Is Acne?

Firstly, acne is a problem with pore congestion. In patients with acne, their oil (also known as sebum) and dead skin cells get stuck inside the pore, creating a blockage we see on the surface as a blackhead or whitehead.

Despite the blockage, your oil glands continue to produce oil. Hence, the congestion worsens over time, and this promotes the growth of bacteria called Cutibacterium Acnes, which causes inflammation around the pore that looks like the classic red acne pimple on the surface. We all have bacteria on our skin surface, but there is a link between the types of bacteria in acne-prone patients versus non-acne patients.

Where do hormones play a role? Hormones help regulate oil production. Increased androgens cause the oil glands to grow and produce more sebum, hence more pore congestion and increased bacterial growth. 

Clogged Pores

Where do hormones play a role?  Hormones help regulate oil production. Increased androgens cause the oil glands to grow and produce more sebum, hence more pore congestion and increased bacterial growth. 

Always Wash Me Goodnight

Lifestyle and environmental factors do contribute to acne formation and severity. Some makeup or skin care products may contain oils that can cause breakouts. Look for products that say they’re non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog pores. Sleeping in makeup (even non-comedogenic products) can lead to acne. So always ensure you completely remove your makeup and clean your skin before going to bed.

This is where the FOREO LUNA™4 cleansing device comes to the rescue, as it gives a gentle but 99% effective cleanse with its ultra-hygienic silicone bristles. The patented T-Sonic™ pulsations help dilate pores, ensuring that any makeup residue is dislodged from the openings.


I prefer the FOREO LUNA over other cleansing devices because the silicone bristles of the LUNA won’t harbor any bacteria, making it more hygienic and they are gentle enough that I don’t have to worry about patients over scrubbing their skin. Dr. Kashlan


When To Take Acne Treatment

The best acne treatment depends on your skin condition and the severity and type of acne present. Still, most people generally need a good skincare routine and, in severe cases, prescription medications. When the acne is mild or predominantly made of blackheads and whiteheads, topical medications like retinoid creams can help unclog pores.

When inflamed, in cases of severe acne, oral medications like antibiotics may be necessary, in addition to medicated creams. Regardless of the medicines your dermatologist prescribes, a good skincare routine with a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and daily sunscreen is essential.   


young girl putting a cream on her face


Next Gen Solution: LED Lights

Besides antibiotics and topical retinoids, one of the most innovative recent options for acne is LED light therapy. LED therapy works by decreasing the amount of C. Acnes bacteria present in the skin and calming inflammation around the pores.

Recently, we’ve seen a number of new products that allow for at-home LED treatments.  My favorite of these is the FOREO UFO™  device because it combines LED technology with sheet masks that are formulated depending on skin type and treatment goals.  It’s a quick and easy to use device that really takes your skincare to the next level.

For my acne patients who have very oily skin, I recommend using the charcoal based mask to help remove impurities from pores. Acne creams are by nature quite drying so I recommend the hydrating H2Overdose hyaluronic acid mask with the UFO device to help fight the acne but also to moisturize the skin. -Dr. Kashlan

Acne treatments require consistency and patience to see results. Most skincare routines need 4 to 6 weeks to see results, so unfortunately no quick fixes here! And always consult with your dermatologist to get the best acne treatment customized for your skin.