Treating (and Beating!) Adult Acne: A Personal Story

Treating (and Beating!) Adult Acne: A Personal Story

I knew the routine by heart. After a dermatologist visit I would begin a regimen of several oral antibiotics. Three to four months later my skin would somewhat clear, and I would move onto maintenance using topical prescription creams. Eventually the breakouts would return, and I would start the same process over again. This isn’t the routine of a 16-year-old; it’s the routine of a 40-year-old. For those of you with adult acne, you recognize that it isn’t a joke.

Six months ago, at the height of my frustration, I decided to try something different. After reading about her in Stylebook and knowing numerous women who trust only her with their skin, I decided to call Sarah Akram. She was finally able to help me break this frustrating cycle.

After arriving at her elegant spa on King Street and settling into a room decorated in colors of soft gray, pink, and white, Sarah and I talked for about 20 minutes. The focus at Sarah Akram is exclusively on skin, and Sarah provides a customized approach for each of her clients based on their needs. Her “one-size-does- not -fit-all approach” was evident in the first five minutes of our conversation. First, she examined my skin and then asked me about my skin history and my current skin care routine. I mentioned my challenges with congestion and prescription medication, as well as finding the right products for my skin and my less-then-desirable facial experiences. An aesthetician at a reputable spa in D.C. actually told me not to bother with facials because my skin was just too congested! 
Sarah recommended an approach to clear congestion, control oil production, and prevent future breakouts.  She was honest and direct. It was going to take a minimum of six treatments in combination with a daily skin care routine to notice a difference in the appearance of my skin.  My customized regimen would encompass the traditional elements of a facial but would also include advanced technology and tools to combat adult acne that can’t be found in most spas in the D.C. area. Let’s just say this isn’t your mother’s facial!

  1. After cleansing , Sarah used microdermabrasion to remove layers of dead skin and trigger the skin’s natural repair process that refines pores and accelerates skin renewal.
  2. After steaming the skin, extractions were next. This isn’t exactly enjoyable, but I’ve come to accept this is an integral part of the process, as it clears debris that clogs pores and leads to acne.
  3. An acid cream mask followed. This sounds frightening, but it really wasn’t. This mask sterilizes the skin and kills bacteria that reside deep in pores.
  4. Next up was the use of two hand-held Light and Heat Energy (LHE) devices that emitted a flash after Sarah positioned them on the congested areas of my skin. The localized treatment, specifically for cystic acne, works to calm inflammation.
  5. More light-based treatment with LightStim , an LED light therapy that uses wavelengths of light to reduce inflammation and destroy bacteria.
  6. A custom-blended cream mask finishes my treatment and deposits nutrients back into my skin.

Sarah walked me through each step of the treatment so that I knew what to expect, and explained to me the associated products and tools that she used. She quickly calmed any nerves that I had and the time passed quickly. Now that I know my treatment routine, I often find myself drifting off while she’s working on my skin — a testament to her gentle hand and calm demeanor.
I also purchased skin care products from the plant-based Environ line that Sarah used during my treatment. I would rather purchase products formulated to address my skin issues from someone who understands my skin than purchase from someone at a big-box skin care store that doesn’t know me or my skincare needs. I’ve been using four products for about six months and find that they manage my breakouts and oil production much better than other acne-focused product lines.

After six facials and continuing to follow my treatment regimen my skin looks and feels so much better! It’s not only less congested, but is much smoother in texture and in general looks “refreshed.”  I can tell that the combination of treatments and products make a significant difference in the severity and frequency of breakouts.  I’m again comfortable leaving the house without makeup for more than just a quick coffee run!
Over the last six months I’ve learned the importance of sticking to a routine, both for daily skin care as well as regular skin care treatments.  But most of all, I learned how important it is to find a skin care professional that is informed and honest. If you are struggling with your skin give Sarah a call — I know you will be glad that you did. You can book an appointment with Sarah at