How to Treat and Heal Acne

As you know, I am a firm believer in practicing good skin care routines. This includes how you treat your skin and what you put on it. Consistent use of good quality skincare will maintain your beautiful youthful skin and medical grade skincare can completely transform your skin. It has for me and thousands of my clients.

I have many many clients who will report back after a few months of consistent use of medical grade products saying, “I honestly didn’t think it was possible for me to have skin this clear!” Those are the messages that never get old. Even though they don’t surprise me ;). I KNOW the products work when matched properly for everyone’s skin type and need. 

I believe every person should be able to feel amazing in their own skin and I want to give you the tools to make that happen. 

Acne is common in so many people. It can show up in teen years or adult years, often feeling very out-of-nowhere or random, and often very persistent and painful. While I routinely prescribe plans for anti-aging, pigmentation, and non-inflamed acne – I do get some clients who are dealing with more severe, chronic, cystic, inflamed-acne. In this case, I collaborate with Lucy Greene, LE who is a dear friend, master esthetician, and acne guru. Her passion is treating the most difficult acne and helping people celebrate their healed, clear and beautiful skin. In today’s blog Lucy and I will give you some of our favorite ways to prevent and treat acne.

So, What is Acne?

For most people acne is an inherited disorder of the pores – pores that shed dead skin cells much faster than normal. Normal pores shed about one layer of dead skin cells per day inside the pore. The acne-prone pore sheds up to five layers of dead skin cells per day. This forms a microcomedone which is the beginning of acne. The microcomedone build up turns into blackheads or congestion under the skin. If bacteria is present it turns into inflamed pimples. Bacteria is almost always present because it’s in the air and on our hands which we touch our face with. Even though you know you shouldn’t! 

It is imperative to use products that will penetrate the pore and prevent dead skin cells from building up. Here’s the reason why using medical grade skincare products is so important— it’s all about preventing the microcomedones (the beginning of acne) from forming at all. Other skin care products might simply clean the surface of the skin helping to reduce bacteria and slightly reducing the severity of pimples but they will keep forming.

Non-Inflamed VS Inflamed Acne

Acne can present in two ways: non-inflamed and inflamed. We treat these types of acne differently. Blackheads and whiteheads are considered non-inflamed. A blackhead is a non-inflamed acne lesion where the pore remains open and the tip of the plug darkens as it is exposed to oxygen. Hence the name “blackhead”A whitehead is a “closed comedone”. It is basically a blackhead that has not “matured” because the pore remains closed. It looks like congestion and bumps under the skin. For non-inflamed acne I use customized plans with different exfoliating acid pads and they work beautifully. 

Non-Inflamed Acne
Non-Inflamed Acne
Non-Inflamed Acne
Non-Inflamed Acne

Inflamed acne is characterized by large red pustules and cysts, and it is very painful for the sufferer. P. acnes bacteria grows inside the clogged pore and infects the surrounding skin creating a red bump. When a patient has inflamed acne it usually is representative of a larger, underlying balance within the body. This might be with hormones or diet. This is when I refer clients to Lucy to use her acne healing magic which is a multifaceted approach of healing the gut and skin. Lucy uses a special line called Face Reality that is geared to treat acne in its more inflamed state. Once we get your acne cleared, then we can consider getting you set up on a regimen with the exfoliating pads which benefit the skin in so many ways. With inflamed acne the first step is to get the under control and cleared up, or at least non-inflamed. If you are unsure of what type of acne you have, do not worry – I will tell you! Once you fill out the form on my blog and send over photos I will assess your skin and point you in the right direction.

Example of Inflamed Acne
Inflamed Acne

Tips to Reduce Acne Formation

I asked Lucy if she would share her top 5 acne tips with us and here is what she had to say:

Everyday choices that you make contribute to your acne! We fall into habits and sometimes we don’t realize that they can be contributing to acne recurring. But a good and consistent at home skincare regimen is the best way to treat acne.

Here are a few of my favorite tips for acne clients!

1) Get sleep and reduce stress! Stress stimulates the adrenal gland in an acne prone individual, your adrenal gland promotes oil production which can lead to clogged pores.

2) High Androgen foods contain hormones that may exacerbate acne. These are found in peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter, & corn oil to name a few.  

3) Don’t pick. Picking causes scarring, inflammation, and spreading of bacteria. The skin injury from picking can take weeks to months to fully heal. Instead of picking, rub ice on pustules and pimples for 5 minutes and twice a day if you can. Try icing when blemishes are first forming and they will actually most likely will go away.  

4) Do not use fabric softeners and/or fabric softener sheets in the dryer, especially on pillowcases or bath towels as they cause a waxy residue that can clog pores in the acne prone individual. Avoid these on anything that touches your face! Choose a natural alternative like YoungLiving laundry soap! 

5) Do not use harsh scrubs or cleansing brushes on inflamed acne. This can lead to more irritation and inflammation in the skin. Also, this could potentially spread bacteria as well.  Gentle pressure with your hands only is the best way to cleanse!

These tips alone will not get your skin clear however. They just support your acne-clearing skincare routine which is truly the key to clear skin. If you are ready to take the next step outside of routine home skin care here are our top 5 in-office treatment recommendations

Top 5 in-office treatments for Acne

Lucy administering a Hydrafacial on me!

There are many in-office treatments that can be used to help reduce the recurrence and inflammation of acne. What is right for you will depend on you the severity, inflammation and scars you have. Here are some of the treatments to give you an idea of what you may need but discussing it with your esthetician will help you make the final decision! 

  1. Custom Acne Facials- Acne Facials are a great way to extract blemishes, exfoliate, & treat current breakouts, and soothe inflammation. This will also help boost your at home acne regimen. Recommended every 4-6 weeks. Non-inflamed only
  2. Blue LED treatment- Blue LED treats P.Acnes Bacteria within the pore. This can be a stand alone treatment or within a facial.  Inflamed or Non-Inflamed
  3. High Frequency Treatment- High Frequency is an anti-inflammatory treatment to help improve acne. Inflamed or Non-Inflamed
  4. Hydrafacial- This exfoliating facial helps to remove build up in the pores. Non-Inflamed only. (Read more about hydrafacial in this blog).
  5. Light to Medium Depth Chemical Peels- Administered by a Licensed Professional, chemical peels can clear acne when done in a series of 3 and completed with home care to follow. Non-Inflamed only. 

My Favorite Products For Non-Inflamed Acne

*You can search for and purchase these through my shop page.

  1. RFA Gentle Foaming Cleanser – I like to keep the cleanser gentle because we will be incorporating exfoliating pads which can be a bit drying.
  2. HA Peptide Serum – This is a great moisturizing serum that hydrates the skin without causing irritation or breakouts!
  3. Lux Pads – These are excellent to use a 2x per week when treating acne. Yup it will burn a bit when you use them, that’s the healing acids at work cleaning all that bacteria away!
  4. Koji-C Pads – These are great for getting rid of PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) once the acne is cleared and we need to reduce the scarring or little red marks that are left behind.
  1. Face Reality Sulfur Spot Treatment is a gentle yet potent combination of 6% sulfur and an innovative peptide that provides an instant fix for red and inflamed acne lesions. Unlike other spot treatments, our Sulfur Spot Treatment is effective without harsh ingredients, strong odor, and calms and soothes irritated skin. Not only will you see an immediate decrease in redness, this spot treatment won’t leave behind any pesky dry patches and will accelerate the skin’s healing process. 
  1. Opti Greens – This is a dietary supplement to help reduce gut inflammation. Opti-Greens 50 are a concentrated veggie powder made from real fruits and vegetables. The blend is great for bloat, motility and inflammation.
  2. Harmony – Designed to help the female body find a healthy hormonal balance through supporting better sleep, energy levels, weight management, fertility, and complexion. This is a DIM (diindolylmethane) supplement, DIM is a compound found in broccoli, cabbage, kale and other cruciferous vegetables. 

My Favorite Products to treat Inflamed Acne

  1. Face Reality products – More specifically a customized Face Reality regimen put together by Lucy! Like I said when it comes to inflamed acne she is the expert.
  1. Opti Greens – As mentioned before this is a dietary supplement to help reduce gut inflammation. Opti-Greens 50 are a concentrated veggie powder made from real fruits and vegetables. The blend is great for bloat, motility and inflammation.
  1. Harmony – Designed to help the female body find a healthy hormonal balance through supporting better sleep, energy levels, weight management, fertility, and complexion.

Before and After Acne Treatment

I hope this information has helped and remember if you have acne do not give up. Lucy and I would love to help you love your skin! It takes time and patience, but together we can get control of the acne and help you love what you see looking back in the mirror. We love to help acne clients achieve their best skin and I do take virtual skincare clients and ship medical grade skincare nationwide! 

Make sure to check Lucy out on IG, she posts a ton of great acne information



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1 thought on “How to Treat and Heal Acne”

  1. If you have a problem with acnes then this content will help you. It is all about how to cure your face if you have acne problems. Just read and understand each step so that you can have a clearer and brighter skin soon!

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Racquel Frisella

Board Certified Nurse Practitioner & Aesthetic Specialist based in Saint Louis, Missouri

I work as a cosmetic injector and skincare specialist with 12 years of experience in the Aesthetic Industry. I see patients both in-office at Racquel Aesthetics for treatments as well as online for customized, complimentary skincare plans. I focus heavily on preventative and corrective injections, treatments, and skincare.  My career is my passion and I love to help people feel like the very best version of themselves. I am a wife and a mother of 3 beautiful children under the age of 3. I love all things beauty, fashion, and fitness. I am creating this site as a place to share my expertise on beauty, anti-aging, and skin while also giving a glimpse into my lifestyle as a mom, wife and lover of fitness!  


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