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Nashville Acne Treatments

What causes acne?

Acne is caused by pores which become clogged and then infected with bacteria. It is not necessarily caused by diet or lack of hygiene. Acne treatments typically aim to destroy the bacteria or improve the function of the skin so it does not become clogged.

How can acne be treated?

An inordinate amount of time seems to be devoted to facials and extractions. Certainly well performed "physical" exfoliation can indeed cleanse cellular matter caught beneath the surface. But poorly executed, glands can be ruptured contributing to sudden acne flare-ups. What they don't do, however, is tackle those other contributing causes of large-looking pores. Chemical-based treatments can often succeed in solving multiple issues. Sometimes the key factors that cause exaggerated pore diameter quickly minimize visibility.

  • Unplugging debris
  • Eliminating bacteria
  • Reducing excessive oiliness
  • Removing blackheads
  • Smooth out the edges
  • Reduce sun damage
  • Draw the pores closed

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a category of advanced clinical skin rejuvenation treatments that aid in reversing damaged skin due to factors such as aging, sun exposure and acne. There are three levels of chemical peels ranging in intensity and strength:

Illuminize Peel – (SkinMedica)

Alphahydroxy Acids (AHA)

These are the mildest form of chemical peels and provide smoother, brighter-looking skin with no downtime. The peels' ingredients originate from glycolic, lactic and fruit acids.

Glycolic Peel

Glycolic acids are the mildest of the chemical peel formulas and produce light peels. These types of peels provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who can't spare the time to recover the harsher phenol or TCA peels. Candidates for glycolic acid peels include individuals with:

  • Superficial wrinkles of the face, neck, upper chest, arms, etc.
  • Uneven pigmentation problems
  • Enlarged facial pores
  • Superficial acne scars of the face
  • Age (liver) spots
  • Areas of dryness

After treatment, the skin may be a transient pink discoloration that quickly returns to the normal color. On some occasions, there will be some minor flaking in a few localized areas, which are seen for a couple of days. Normally, the skin does not severely peel as compared to more invasive chemical peels (i.e. phenol).

Your skin care provider will determine the optimal concentration of glycolic acid to be used, as well as application regiment. Concentration can range from 20 to 70 percent glycolic acid, and treatment may last weekly for as long as six weeks.

Vitalize Peel – (SkinMedica)

Lactic Acid, Resorcinol, Salicylic Acid

These are the more moderate forms of chemical peels.

Anyone who wants their skin to look better and help fight the effects of time should consider Vitalize Peel. Those who have sun-damaged, aging, blemish-prone, acne-scarred skin, hyperpigmentation, melasma or general poor skin quality will benefit most.

Obagi Blue Peel

Trichloracetic Acids (TCA)

This type is a medium-depth peeling system that may be performed in different variations. Fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigmentation problems are commonly treated with this type of chemical peel.

Blue Light Phototherapy: 10-20 Minute Sessions

During blue light phototherapy, high-intensity blue-violet light is applied to the face by a medical professional. The light activates photosensitizers within the acne bacteria. This creates a toxic bactericidal environment in the sebaceous glands, which inhibits the formation of the acne lesions. The light may be applied alone or may be combined with an anesthetic. 70 to 90 percent of acne is cleared after the recommended number of treatments.

Antibacterial Pills

Because bacteria cause acne, most mild to moderate acne will respond to antibacterial medication. However, these medications can interfere with other medications and may have side effects.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy is used to treat severe acne and the preventative treatment of some skin cancers. Levulan, a photosensitizer is topically applied to the patient's clean skin. The product then remains on the skin for an hour. The solution is then cleaned off the skin with cool water and the patient sits in front of the Blue-U light for a recommended period of time that will be predetermined for you. The light is directed on tissue containing the drug, it becomes activated, and the tissue is rapidly destroyed. Patients must stay out of the sun for 24 hours to prevent further activation of the solution. Not all patients have the same reaction to this procedure. Some have very little peeling, while others experience several days of exfoliation. Thorough skin care instructions are given as well as samples of sunscreen for post use.

SmoothBeam®: FDA-Approved

SmoothBeam® is a nonablative laser, meaning that it does not burn, cut or remove the skin's surface. Instead, it works on the deeper layers of the skin. The laser produces a beam of light at a specific wavelength and heats the sebaceous glands, destroying bacteria and effectively treating acne. SmoothBeam® also stimulates collagen, which produces healthy, younger skin.


In the case of severe acne that does not respond to other treatments, you can talk to your physician about Accutane®. This drug may cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy. A course of Accutane is five months. It clears the bloodstream in one month, so avoiding pregnancy is for six months. Thorough research now indicates there is no increased risk of depression and suicide.

Belle Meade Dermatology
24 White Bridge Road
Nashville, TN 37205

Phone: 615-352-7735

Business Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, Closed