With prom season and graduation coming up, a lot of younger people (and their parents!) are worried about clearing up acne.

I had a very nice couple in the clinic last week who asked me about what could be done for their son. His dermatologist wants to start him on Accutane but 2 family members developed depression on Accutane so they don’t want to go there.

We have a number of treatments that clear up acne, including treatments for the severest form of cystic acne.

The first line of treatment for acne is the skincare regimen, including a retinoid and, often, benzoyl peroxide. A topical antibiotic helps with mild papular acne (zits) but has to be stepped up to an oral antibiotic for moderate acne (zits and pus).

In addition to skincare, we offer chemical peels and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments that can make a big difference to acneic skin.

Our receptionist and makeup specialist, Claire, had mild-moderate acne when she started here and now has a beautiful complexion, thanks to her skincare regimen, IPL treatments and peels.

In the case of severe cystic acne, we offer photodynamic therapy — a supercharged form of IPL — that can really cut down sebum production for 6 – 12 months.

If you are thinking about clearing acne up in time for a big event, we really need 2 or 3 months to make a big difference.

One last point: if you are older than your early 20s and dealing with acne, please don’t use products like ProActiv which are really meant for the oily skin and hormonal shifts of teenage acne. We have much better products to clear up your acne without drying out your skin.