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According to the Canadian Dermatology association, acne affects about 90 per cent of adolescents and 20 to 30 per cent of adults aged 20 to 40 years. Even with a large number of the population being impacted, there are still plenty of misconceptions.

Do’s and Don’ts

“The biggest misconception is that people with acne have dirty skin and that they don’t clean their skin enough. I often see people washing their faces four or five times per day,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York City dermatologist and the author of Skin Rules. Over-working the skin through excessive washing and scrubbing can do more harm than good by aggravating inflammation. Clients with acne-prone skin should be washing their face two times a day and using products with acne-fighting ingredients. “For over-the-counter products, good ingredients to look for include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinol and glycolic acid,” says Dr. Benjamin Barankin, a dermatologist and medical director of Toronto Dermatology Centre. Jaliman adds that clients should avoid ingredients that can clog the pores like cocoa butter and coconut oil.

Adult Acne

Acne is one of the biggest obstacles to clear skin, and it doesn’t always clear up after adolescence. “There are many people who go on to suffer adult acne or develop adult acne anew,” says Barankin. Aestheticians should not be offering one-size-fits-all treatments for acne, but instead must offer individualized solutions based on age and skin type. “With adult acne, the skin is more sensitive and tends to be drier,” says Jaliman, who suggests gentler products that won’t dry out the skin. “With teenage acne, the skin is oilier. You can use toners or pads impregnated with salicylic acid or glycolic acid.” For skin with extensive scarring, there are a variety of medical spa treatments to aid in correction including chemical peels, microdermabrasion or lasers.

The Acne Effect

Acne does not only affect the outer appearance, but also has strong psychological effects. “Ì have seen countless people with acne that have very significant psychosocial impact from their skin condition,” says Barankin. A Canadian study of nearly 500 patients with acne found that even mild acne can bring on feelings of low self-esteem, depression as well as suicidal thoughts. The spa should be a judgment-free space that offers practical and effective solutions to its guests. Providing a client with sample products after a facial treatment will allow aestheticians to begin a dialogue about appropriate skin care practices and follow-up care.

  1. Belmondo The Dunes Exfoliant - Belmondo.ca
  2. Just Neem Neem Clay Mask - Justneem.com
  3. Babor Purity Cellular Ultimate Blemish Reducing Cream - Babor.com
  4. Obagi Cleanziderm (Normal to Dry) - Obagi.com
  5. Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing Cooling Mask - Dermalogica.ca
  6. Herborium AcnEase - Acnease.com
  7. IX SPA BAR Volcanic Ash Mask - Ixspabar.com


by Lindsay Grummett | Fall 2014