Treatments for Acne That Work!

Serving Denver, Broomfield, Westminster, Boulder, Arvada, and surrounding areas

If you suffer from acne, you are not alone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, over 50 million Americans are affected by some form of acne each year. Additionally, approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience at least minor acne. It can cause significant physical and physiological problems including scarring, poor self image, depression, and anxiety. So, it comes as no surprise that costs associated with treating and preventing acne are estimated at over $3 billion each year!

At Sonata, our goal is to help you feel beautiful both inside and out. To bring beauty, love, light, and compassion to our amazing patients and friends. And to help you live your most beautiful life. We've dedicated a lot of our training and time into developing specialized treatments for preventing and treating acne and acne scars.

We've worked with thousands of patients - adolescents and adults - on solutions for acne. If you suffer from acne, please don't hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation. We will work to develop a customized treatment plan just for you, so you can live your most beautiful life.

What is acne?

Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a chronic long-term skin condition that occurs when hair follicles (pores) are clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. If the clogged pores are large, blackheads are typically formed. If the clogged pores are smaller, whiteheads are generally the result. Both types of acne can develop into tender and swollen inflammations, deeper lumps, or nodules. Severe nodules are called cystic acne - extreme cases of swelling beneath the skins surface that become inflamed, tender, and sometimes infected.

It is typically centralized to locations on the body that produce the most oil - face and neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. Although it typically begins in adolescence between the ages of 10 and 13 (around the time of puberty), about 20% of all cases occur in adults - and that number is on the rise. Teenage acne typically lasts about 5 to 10 years, fading for most people during their early 20's.

Acne does not discriminate. All ages, genders, and races are affected. Teenage boys usually have the most severe cases, and women are more likely to develop acne in the 30's and beyond. ​

Here's a great infographic put together by the team Mario Badescu

What causes acne?

The short answer is that we don't know if there is 1 specific cause of acne, although it's widely thought that genetics is a primary cause in about 80% of people. That being said, almost every case is different - and a multitude of factors can play a role.

  • Genetics

As mentioned above, about 80% of all acne conditions are due to genetics. Although there's not much we can do about our genes, it's good to know if there's a history in your family

  • Hormones

Acne typically starts for teenagers around puberty - when hormones are going crazy. Both boys and girls produce high levels of androgens; sex hormones that include testosterone. This, in part, signals the body to produce more sebum, which is the oil in the skins glands.

  • Diet

This topic has been debated for years - and unfortunately there seems to be no real conclusion on whether your diet causes acne. If you Google "diet and acne", there are over 17 million results offering about 17 million different opinions! Science doesn't have a clear determination yet, but some evidence is starting to trickle in.

Early research results suggest that a low-glycemic diet (less bread, rice, pasta) consisting of more fruits and veggies and omega 3 fats, and less processed sugars, can *help prevent acne. The more likely answer is that there is no "perfect diet", but eating healthier is generally never a bad thing.

can diet affect acne?
  • Bacteria

As sebum (oil) clogs the hair follicles, bacteria can grow inside the pores and form whiteheads, blackheads, or even cysts. There are literally thousands of products on the market aimed at killing or neutralizing this bacteria. Some work. Some don't. Some are gentle, and some are more harsh, causing overly dry skin that can be red and painful in some people. As with any treatment, every persons skin is different, and it's best to find what works best for you.

  • Stress

Can stress cause acne? As with other factors, more research is needed for a clear determination. In some studies, higher stress levels have resulted in increased severity in certain contexts (such as hormonal changes seen in premenstrual syndrome). That being said, stress has been linked to a multitude of health factors - so we believe that reducing the stress in your life can never be a bad thing!

  • Medications

Studies have shown that some medications can worsen pre-existing acne - examples being lithium, steroids, and glucocorticoids. Oral contraceptives have been shown to trigger acne in some women, but suppress it in others. Injectable contraceptives and IUD's may also be triggers. ​

Is there a cure for acne? ​

Unfortunately, the answer is "no". However, while there is not a 100% cure at this time, there are plenty of steps that you can take to reduce, and even prevent, breakouts. As mentioned above, there are literally thousands of products claiming to cure acne. Common topical products include antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids. Oral antibiotics, hormonal agents, and oral retinoids are sometimes prescribed for more severe cases. ​

It is widely accepted among Dr's and scientists that gently washing affected areas once or twice a day, or after sweating vigorously, with a mild non-drying cleanser will help. Excessive, aggressive washing or scrubbing can irritate your skin and can potentially worsen breakouts.

Which products are best for you and your skin?

While every persons skin is different, there are some guidelines we tell our patients to follow:​

  • Find products that are noncomedogenic, nonacnegenic, and oil free
  • Avoid stringents, toners, and harsh exfoliants - these may unnecessarily dry the skin
  • Use sunscreen on a daily basis - with multiple applications throughout the day
  • Certain moisturizers can help excessive dryness without clogging the skin with extra oils

Resolution of acne takes time - any product that offers an overnight or immediate cure is not worth your money. Your dermatologist can help determine which products are best for you.

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​Our treatment solutions for acne

​We have seen thousands of patients at Sonata, many of whom are either currently dealing with acne or have acne scars from their adolescent years. We have dealt with it ourselves, as well. Because we see how negatively it can affect confidence we have worked hard to develop multiple treatments to assist in clearing and preventing breakouts, and reducing scars from earlier years. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss what treatment plan is best for you.

  • Skin care: Retin A and Clenziderm

Retin A has been around for almost 30 years, and was created to treat acne. It is now widely used as an anti-aging treatment as well. Retin-A is incredibly effective in the treatment of acne because it opens up clogged pores. It also prevents your pores from becoming clogged with oil, dirt and bacteria. Used alone and over time, it can rid an acne prone person of up to 50% of their acne.

By combining tretinoin (the clinical name of Retin-A) with other anti bacterial products such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic Acid, like in the Obagi Clenziderm system, we can increase the effectiveness of both products, rendering your acne practically obsolete.

Retin-A comes in different formulations. Some of you may have used a strength in the past that irritated you skin and left it red and flaky. The key is to gradually increase the strength and frequency of Retin-A application. We also carry Refissa, which delivers Retin-A in a moisturizing formulation, which reduces irritation.


  • Chemical Peels

Medical grade chemical peels are the quickest method rid yourself of active acne and prevent future outbreaks. The have greater efficacy than topical treatments alone, and work more quickly than oral medication. Peels combined with our favorite topical treatment, Retin-A, can rid your skin of acne for good. Both peels and Retin-A increase cell turnover, which leads to a more exfoliated skin. All physicians will tell you that healthy skin turnover and exfoliation is the key to preventing the dead skin cell and oil build-up that causes breakouts. Peels can be done as frequently as monthly, depending on the type of peel you select.

Our most effective chemical peel, and one originally formulated to combat acne, is the ViPeel. While all peels will give you a healthy exfoliation, the ViPeel has proprietary ingredients that treat and prevent acne, like salicylic acid. Salicylic is a lipid soluble acid meaning it is able to penetrate the sebaceous glands and clean out bacteria, excess oil and dirt from your pores. The salicylic in the ViPeel drys up active acne, unclogs pores and removes white heads, black heads and various forms of acne with almost instantaneous improvement.

By rapidly exfoliating the skin surface, pimples are immediately pulled to the surface and flushed out. The Vi Purify peel also includes all of the ingredients necessary to purge the skin of imperfections plus benzoyl peroxide to help kill bacteria. It contains an extra dose of Kojic acid that aids in brightening the skin and reduces hyperpigmentation and acne scarring. This is a medium depth peel that will produce maximum results.


  • Dermaplaning

Dermaplaning uses a surgical blade to gently remove fine, viscous hairs and dead surface skin cells. It exfoliates the skin and when done frequently, it will leave your skin clearer and more even in appearance. 

Because exfoliation increases skin cell turnover and collagen production, is helpful in both preventing acne and reducing the appearance of acne scarring. The more often you dermaplane, the better results you will see over a shorter period of time. We also love adding in dermaplaning before a chemical peel as it allows the peel to penetrate more deeply and for skin care products to be more efficacious.


  • High frequency and medical facials

High Frequency Acne Treatment uses a small device to literally zap active breakouts, killing bacteria and shrinking pimples instantly. A High Frequency Acne Treatment creates a germicidal ozone that kills the stubborn acne causing bacteria, stops the spread of further breakouts, and helps stimulate the skin to heal more quickly. We love it and it is a part of any of our Medical Facials. A medical facial also includes a deep but gentle exfoliation and extraction.


  • Microneedling with plasma facial

This procedure is great for healing active breakouts, preventing future breakouts, and reducing acne scars. By creating tiny micro-injuries to the dermis, microneedling encourages your skin to rejuvenate. Pore size is also reduced post-treatment, leaving the skin is left taut and smooth. We love using (your own) PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) or growth factors to heal your skin from the inside out - also know as a plasma facial. 


  • Filling acne scars with Bellafill

Bellafill is the first and only filler that is approved by the FDA to treat acne scars. It is typically used on deeper and wider scars that microneedling isn't able to affect. It literally fills in the pitted scar by stimulating your own body to make new collagen (a miracle substance!) at the site of the injection. This means that your own collagen becomes the filler, which leads to long lasting correction. 


  • Halo fractional laser

This is the newest, and most innovative laser on the market today. We've had great success in treating acne, reducing pock marks, and eliminating acne scars. You can read more about the Halo laser here


  • J Plasma skin resurfacing

This procedure is generally reserved for extreme cases of acne scarring, and we have had absolutely incredible results with our patients. As it is a more involved procedure than those listed above, it is best to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Janowski to see if you are a good candidate for J Plasma


Before & After images from our patients

successful acne treatment in broomfield colorado

We love our patients, and love seeing your inner beauty shine on the outside. If you have moderate or severe acne or acne scarring, we are here to help. Contact us to set up a free consultation today!