The Best Tools and Ingredients for Treating All Types of Acne

Here are the best ways to treat acne // Photo Credit: michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images Plus (michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

There’s one skincare concern that keeps popping up at spas time and time again—acne. From teens struggling with persistent breakouts to adults who hoped their acne would go away after puberty but are still dealing with the issue years later, acne doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age and lifestyle. In fact, 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. Approximately 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience at least minor acne. What’s more, acne can continue into the 30s and 40s, and adult acne is increasing, affecting up to 15 percent of women. 

Each year, Americans spend billions of dollars on acne, which is why it’s so important for you to offer treatments and products that target acneic skin. “Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand,” says Lydia Sarfati, master esthetician and founder and CEO of Repêchage. “This is why it can be so difficult for clients who suffer from acne. The affliction can have a devastating effect on self-esteem and confidence.”

It’s no surprise that many who suffer from acne often withdraw socially and can be prone to depression. “While an esthetician cannot treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease, the good news is that most oily, problem skin can be treated with outstanding results,” says Sarfati. “And as you help your clients improve their skin, you’ll also improve their confidence and self-esteem. Treating this skin type can be one of the most rewarding experiences for an esthetician.” 

There are several ingredients that are highly effective in treating and preventing acne, including:

  • Alpine Willow Herb: Calms and soothes the skin.
  • Azelaic Acid: Reduces inflammation and clears pores.
  • Bentonite: Detoxifies skin and reduces inflammation.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Kills bacteria that causes acne, removes oil, and exfoliates the skin. 
  • Chamomile Extract: Calms the skin, cleanses pores, and reduces the appearance of inflammation. 
  • Cinnamon Extract: Fights acne-causing bacteria.
  • Glycolic Acid: Exfoliates skin and promotes cell regeneration.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Reduces the occurrence of blackheads and breakouts.
  • Mandelic Acid: Treats existing acne and prevents future breakouts.
  • Salicylic Acid: Increases moisture in the skin and unclogs pores.
  • Sulfur: Unclogs pores.

In addition, spas are utilizing a wide range of devices and techniques to help treat clients with acne. Here are some popular tools:

  • Comedone Extractors: Helps get rid of blackheads by applying slight pressure from side to side and gently lifting the comedone.
  • Galvanic Machine: This small hand-held device releases a low-voltage current into the skin to improve blood circulation and unclog pores, helping to soften and loosen blackheads and hard sebum.
  • High Frequency: This device uses a glass electrode to transmit a mild electrical current that helps destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms and help rapidly heal acne. 
  • Skin-Resurfacing Facials: Non-invasive facial devices, such as Hydrafacial and DiamondTome, cleanse, extract, and hydrate the skin. 
  • Lancet: This tool with a tiny needle helps to remove comedones (closed and open), milia, papules, and pustules.
  • LED Light Therapy: Using LED technology, blue and red light therapies help kill acne-causing bacteria and calm skin inflammation.
  • Microneedling: This handheld skin-resurfacing device pokes tiny holes in the skin to remove the top layer, encouraging new skin cell development.   
  • Oxygen: Oxygen treatments using an oxygen machine help to reduce and eliminate bacteria and heal the skin.
  • Radio Frequency: This device uses a variety of energy wavelengths of visible light to help eliminate cystic acne. 


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