The laser specialist
Dr. Lisa Kellett is a dermatologist and medical director of DLK on Avenue in Toronto.

The causes
"Acne is caused by many factors, including clogged pores, hormones, bacteria and inappropriate skin care and cosmetics products."

Her go-to remedy
"The best treatment is photodynamic therapy, using Levulan - a topical photosensitizing drug - in conjunction with light. It's ideal for patients who have tried the standard topical treatments but still have acne. It also works faster than most other treatments, so it's great for people who want to see results as soon as possible. Levulan is prepared as a liquid and applied to the entire treatment area. It requires an incubation time of one or two hours, after which it is activated with a specific wavelength of light. The standard light to use is Blu-U or Lumenis One technology. The number of treatments needed varies among patients, but sometimes results are seen with just one or two treatments. Most patients see a marked improvement in acne - some of which is permanent - but if maintenance is needed, we do two to four treatments a year."

At home
"Depending on the patient, I often prescribe topical agents in addition to phototherapy. A five percent benzoyl peroxide solution in a moisturizing gel base - so you don't dry out the skin - is a good place to start. With the exception of acne treatment gels, avoid applying any white lotions or creams, and use clear spray sunscreen with an SPF of 30. Using a gel-based exfoliator twice daily is very helpful."

Biggest mistake
"Not seeing a dermatologist for a proper consultation - many people turn to products that make their skin even worse."

Tech massage
The newest in-office acne solutions are seriously high-tech. Recently approved by Health Canada, Isolaz is a 15-minute treatment that involves opening pores with a vacuum-like device to remove sebum and dead skin cells and using a laser to destroy bacteria. The treatment begins with dermaplaning, in which a device that resembles an electric razor with an oscillating blade sloughs off dead skin cells. This is followed by cryogenic therapy, which involves flash-freezing the skin with liquid nitrogen or solid carbon dioxide to encourage peeling. This helps to reduce congestion and minimize the appearance of scars.