Dermatologists Share Their Favorite Acne-Fighting Innovations of the Past Decade

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According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S., affecting up to 50 million Americans annually and racking up an into-the-billions dollar mark for costs associated with treatment. Here’s what hits the high note for making the biggest impact on the acne-fighting list over the past decade for these dermatologists.

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Diamond Glow Infusion

“Although acne isn’t a sexy topic, let’s not forget that it is one of the most common and most challenging skin conditions a dermatologist treats,” says Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD, who names Diamond Glow Infusion, a “ramped-up microdermabrasion procedure,” as one of the most popular acne-specific treatments at her practice.

“For those patients who would like a gentler and more economical in-office approach, this type of microdermabrasion is a great option and has come a long way in the last decade. I’m a big fan of Diamond Glow Infusion because it is a medical-grade system where one can customize the infused therapeutic serums to suit the patient’s needs. It microdermabrades and suctions out pores and comedones (whiteheads and blackheads), while infusing medicated serums into the skin, all at the same time. We are able to achieve incredible results for the treatment of acne and improve the appearance of secondary scarring dramatically.”

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Multimodality Treatments

In tandem with Diamond Glow, Dr. Honet likes combining prescription medications, great skin care and “any number of other procedures in the office” like blue light, chemical peels, microneedling, and/or laser. “A multimodality treatment approach will often yield the fastest and most significant results. And, with Diamond Glow Infusion as part of the treatment plan, my patients are thrilled because there’s very little downtime, and the price point is affordable. It’s also a very dependable and consistent in-office treatment and the results are outstanding.”

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Laser Tag

New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD says, in her opinion, lasers have been an excellent addition to the acne-focused treatment options over the past decade. “We’ve been using our combination of Nd:Yag and Er:Yag laser to treat active acne with excellent results in both inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions and the redness.”

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All derms we spoke to were buzzing about the recently FDA-approved topical of Winlevi, which is scheduled to be on the marked first quarter of 2021. “We may be on the harbinger of new treatments led by Winlevi (clascoterone), which is an androgen receptor inhibitor and essentially affects the hormonal component of acne while being safe to use in both males and females,” says Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias. “There are other new types of treatments in the pipeline. Unfortunately, one of the many new advances, Sebacia—which used gold microparticles to affect sebum production by remodeling the sebaceous glands—had its parent company go bankrupt due to COVID. I’m hopeful another company purchases it and is able to get it off the ground.”

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Retinol Rollout

“Treatments that use topical medications are usually the first line of defense for treating acne but go-to’s like retinoids and antibiotics haven’t changed all that much since the last century,” says Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman, who points to several new drugs as offering improved options: “Altreno is a relatively new retinoid featuring tried-and-true tretinoin, which is the same drug found in Retin-A, but as a first-of-its-kind lotion. It is formulated with hydrating glycerin and hyaluronic acid and it feels like you’re using one of your ‘regular’ skin-care products, as opposed to a prescription cream. In addition, there is also the first new type of retinoid to be approved in more than 20 years, called Aklief. The difference between Aklief and others, like tretinoin and adapalene, is that this drug is the only topical treatment that’s been proven to safely and effectively treat acne on the face as well as the chest, shoulders and back.”

Likewise, New York dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, who refers to retinoids as “pipe cleaners for the skin,” also gives an A-plus to Altreno. “It’s a light gel that feels hydrating on the skin—the aesthetics of the formula makes it a really nice option.”

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