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My poor son’s face has become a wasteland of angry red bumps. It brings him no end of misery, and nothing I’m bringing home from the drugstore is doing much good. Time to call in the big guns.

Nargis at Re-Nous San Diego Day Spa in Del Mar (858-755-5754; renousdayspa.com) told me that they favor the “organic, natural line of products from Epicuren. It was developed by a doctor who worked with burn victims. He found that enzymes help to regenerate skin. We’ve had great results with teenagers.”

The Re-Nous teen-acne facial uses what Nargis describes as “teen-appropriate products. They contain enzymes — acidophilus, which is a probiotic, and sulfur, which promotes antifungal and antibacterial activity. We clean the face, then exfoliate to remove any dead skin, and then do any necessary extractions. That means we clean the pores and remove any blackheads. Once we get the dead skin off, we apply the product and the rejuvenation happens quickly.”

The facial runs 45 minutes and costs $65. “Frequency depends on the condition of the acne. If it’s bad, he should come back in three weeks. Once he’s treated, it will get better, but then whatever is deep down in the skin will come up, and he will break out again. So we’d clean it off again, and then I’d say come back every four to six weeks.”

After the procedure, “The esthetician will teach your son how to clean his face. For boys, I would suggest three steps: a cleaner, a moisturizer, and one other product. Maybe a toner or maybe a glycolic, which he can use once or twice a week. The glycolic is an antibacterial agent. It will help with his skin; it removes the top layer. Most of these products run $20 to $30. So, the first time you come in, you’ll spend $60 to $80 for home-care products, but they should last you for three months.”

Paula, operations manager at the La Jolla Cosmetic Laser Clinic (800-515-7753; lajollalaser.com), told me that the clinic offers several laser treatments for acne that has not responded well to creams or medication. “The idea behind the laser is that it penetrates below the skin and kills the bacteria there. First we wash the face, and then we apply a topical numbing gel for 15 to 30 minutes. That’s removed, and we put on a clear treatment gel, which helps to keep the laser applicator properly positioned on the face and ensures deep penetration. Then we fire the Acne BLU-U laser — the blue light helps to destroy bacteria. The price varies depending on how large the treatment area is. Sometimes it’s just the cheeks or the chin, and sometimes it’s the whole face. It ranges from $250 to $450 per session, and we recommend a series of five. If you purchase four treatments up front, you get the fifth one free.”

That’s a lot of money, but Paula said, “Typically, we find that people who come to us have tried over-the-counter products. They’ve tried the Proactiv line, and those things are not working for them. They’re willing to spend the money.”

The mention of Proactiv put me in mind of my pal Sarah, who confirmed that it had worked wonders for her teenage daughter when, she said, “None of the typical drugstore products did much good.” I gave a call to Ashley at the University Towne Centre Proactiv kiosk in La Jolla (877-275-2561 x3083), and she was a believer, too.

“Proactiv gets under the skin to clean up the bacteria and prevent new acne from coming out. My brother had really bad acne, and Proactiv cleaned it up. It usually takes three to six weeks because of the way acne cycles.”

The kiosk carries three-, four-, and five-piece systems. “The three-piece set [$50.95] has a cleanser, a toner, and a repair lotion. The four-piece [$60.95] adds an oil-free moisturizer. The five-piece [$68.95] adds an oil control. Those are for two-month supplies of the basic three products and four- or five-month supplies of the two additional products. I demonstrate to the customer how to use the system.”

Other dermatology centers around town include the Beatitude Aesthetic Medicine & Acne Center in Mission Valley (858-668-6133; beatitudemedicalspa.com) and the Scripps Ranch Dermatology & Cosmetic Center (858-689-4990; scrippsderm.com).

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