Acne can be a painful and embarrassing condition and we are here to help answer all your acne questions. Acne Vulgaris better known as simply acne is reported to affect approximately 80-95% of adolescents in some form and can often persist into adulthood for up to 50% of acne sufferers. This is particularly the case in females. Normally, acne is a self-resolving inflammatory skin condition, lasting usually only months. In some cases acne can last years. Acne is a complex condition with many factors potentially contributing to development and progression of acne. There is believed to be an increase in the production of sebum (which comes from the sebaceous glands which are basically our oil producing glands) Sebum helps to form the slightly oily surface film of the skin; it helps keep the skin flexible and prevents the skin losing excessive amounts of water. There is also follicular hyperkeratinisation which is key element in the development of acne and is the main target of retinol (vitamin a) which is a key part of our skincare routine for acne suffers. This follicular Hyperkeratinization occurs when the cells of the follicle become unified and do not shed normally onto the skin’s surface. This result is a microcomedone (black head/ white heads) and subsequent lesions characteristic of acne. The Blackheads and whiteheads then will enlarge. There is also a blockage to the follicles, which increases the presence of a bacteria called p.acnes bacteria. This is followed by an inflammatory response which is the point where we will see the lesion fully progress and develop. There are also believed to be genetic, hormonal and dietary factors contributing to the development of acne.
Given acne can have negative impact on our mental health and the high risk of scarring, treatment intervention at first onset of acne is strongly encouraged. There are a variety of treatment options out there for acne, some good and some merely a gimmick. At Revita Medical And Skin Clinic, we assess the extent of the acne and have a treatment plan that delivers results in a timely manner. Our recommendations for acne is to start with a combination of skincare and chemical peels.
It is very important to ensure that the skin care used promotes hygiene without harshly “stripping” the skin. The aim is to preserve the PH of the skin, prevent lipids being removed and preventing trans epidermal waterloss. The PH of the skin acts as a barrier to prevent infection taking hold. Removal of lipids and increased transepidermal waterloss contribute to a loss of skin barrier function and skin integrity being impaired. This loss of barrier function contributes to an inflammatory response within the skin layers, which leads to acne development and progression.
Cleaning the skin twice a day (at the very most) and after exercising with a good cleanser which is balanced or neutral cleanser to preserve the natural barrier function of the skin. Retionol or vitamin a is a serum that is extremely beneficial for use at nighttime only. It helps to stimulate the skins shedding abilityso we don’t have a blockage to the follicles and cell turnover is normal.
The use of harsh soaps and excessive use of foaming agents or aggressive acidic products should be avoided.
As mentioned previously, chemical peels are a great in clinic treatment to do in conjuction with a good skincare routine for home. Chemical peels are a skin resurfacing procedure, which aim to regenerate normal skin from the application of exfoliative agents. It creates a controlled destruction of the epidermis and dermis (Two of the skin’s layers). This prompts exfoliation which is followed by regeneration of the dermis and epidermis so there is an improved texture and appearance of the skin. Chemical peels have been used in treatment of acne and other skin conditions for decades so they are safe and controlled with little risk. At revita medical and skin clinic we use jessner peels which are a combination of 14% salicylic acid, 14% lactic acid and 14% resorcinol. Salicylic acid prevents the pores from clogging and encourages exfoliation of the skins top layers. Latic acid also has exfoliation properties alongside anti-inflammatory properties.
It is important to note that more severe forms of acne that do not respond well to these treatments may be treated with medication or topical medical creams. A consultation with Dr Reza our acne guru will determine which treatment is right for you and whether or not a dermatologist referral may be warranted.
In addition to this, sometimes after acne we are left with the scary reminders of where our acne spots used to be, this can be termed acne scarring. We can treat the scarring through microneedling treatments, which are surprisingly quite comfortable.