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Acne Awareness Month: What can be done about your breakouts?

Whether you are in your adolescent years, or into your adult life you may struggle with annoying breakouts. People of all ages can be burdened with acne and although it is frustrating to deal with, it is very normal. September is acne awareness month and this month we wanted to go through some information that you may find helpful if you or someone that you know is struggling with acne. Acne can affect more than just the surface of your skin and may even cause problems with confidence and self-esteem. That is why we wanted to bring awareness to this common skin condition and recommend some of our favourite ways to manage it. 

What is acne? 

Acne is a skin condition where the hair follicle underneath the skin becomes clogged with sebum and/or dead skin cells. The clogged pore then causes pimples on the affected area – which is most commonly the face but can also appear on the shoulders, neck, back, or chest. Acne is an inflammatory skin response to clogged pores and can appear as different types of lesions or pimples. These can include whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, nodules, or severe nodules. Nodules and severe nodules are sometimes referred to as cystic acne and are usually the most painful, and challenging type of lesion to clear up. 

What causes acne? 

As mentioned above, acne occurs when sebum and/or dead skin cells become stuck in the hair follicle and prevent the keratinocytes from going through their normal skin cycle. Keratinocytes are skin cells that line the hair follicle in the skin. Healthy skin goes through a skin cycle where the keratinocytes rise to the top of the skin. When people have acne the keratinocytes cannot rise to the surface of the skin. Instead, they stay stuck inside the follicle and cause an inflammatory response – acne. There are several reasons why this may occur. Sometimes it can be as simple as someone not washing their face correctly. Alternatively, a  more complicated reason for this could be a hormonal issue. Seeking a doctor’s advice on what may be causing your acne will help you get closer to being able to clear it up. Doctors may recommend different treatments depending on what types of lesions are showing on your skin. 

Types of treatments that can help reduce the appearance of acne

At South Okanagan Laser and Skin Centre we have several treatments that have helped reduce the appearance of acne on our patient’s skin. It is important to book a consultation with one of our industry professionals prior to booking one of these treatments so that they can assess your skin and help guide you to which treatment will be best for you.  

Acne Laser

Acne Laser Treatment works well for people who currently have nodules or acne scarring on their skin. The laser safely penetrates the skin and the heat from the light can prevent overactive sebaceous glands from producing sebum. Acne Laser Treatment has also shown great results for speeding up the healing process by stimulating collagen production which is integral for producing healthy skin.

Chemical Peels

Chemical Peels are effective ways of safely exfoliating the skin. Safe skin exfoliation is an effective way of removing dead skin cells, built-up sebum, and dirt from the skin which can be the cause of your breakouts. Chemical peels are more effective than forms of physical exfoliation like scrubs – which can be damaging to the skin if the products are not formulated correctly. Peels are an intense chemical exfoliant that has shown effectiveness in reducing the appearance of blemishes, wrinkles, fine lines and roughly textured skin. 

BELA MD Facial

The BELA MD Facial treatment is an all-in-one facial that targets several different skin concerns – including acne. Getting regular BELA MD facials can reduce the appearance of acne and acne scarring. The microdermabrasion portion of the facial is a great exfoliation technique to remove dead skin cells and encourage the production of healthy skin, while cleansing and extractions can deeply eliminate clogged pores. 


IPL (intense pulse light) treatments have shown great results when treating patients with acne. The IPL penetrates deep into the skin to kill the acne-causing bacteria. The light can also help reduce inflammation caused by acne flare-ups. Some patients have also noticed a decrease in oil production after receiving consistent IPL treatments. 


When done by a professional, microneedling can be very effective when treating acne and acne scars. We do not recommend any at-home microneedling tools as they can cause more damage to the skin. At South Okanagan Skin and Laser, we use the first FDA-approved and Health Canada-approved microneedling device to ensure that your treatment is safe and effective. Microneedling creates thousands of small microchannels in the skin that stimulate the immune system’s wound healing response to heal scars and lesions quicker. 

Types of products that can help acne 

At South Okanagan Laser and Skin Centre we believe in using the most effective products on your skin. Our treatments will use two of our favourite skincare brands, ZO Skin Health or SkinCeuticals. Some of the products we recommend using to treat acne are listed below. If you are looking for products to treat your acne we recommend products that contain chemical exfoliants like AHA/BHA, benzoyl peroxide, sulphur, or retinoids. 

ZO Skin Health 


Book a Consultation Today

Acne is a common skin problem that can be difficult to deal with. At South Okanagan Laser and Skin Centre in Penticton, BC we want to help you feel and look your best. We would love to help you combat your struggles with acne. Book a consultation with us today to get one step closer to clear skin!