Acne Can't Be Cured ...But It Can Be Controlled
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Acne – also known as Acne Vulgaris
Vulgaris is the medical term for “common”.
Acne is a major contributor to low self esteem and self confidence when it comes to facial appearance. Acne is not only seen in adolescents, as many adults also suffer from significant acne. Hormonal changes, bacterial infections and imbalances in your body chemistry can cause acne breakouts which are painful, embarrassing and can lower your self-confidence.
And if problematic acne alone was not enough, those who with time get over major breakouts, usually end up with the consequences of acne scars.
There are varying opinions as to whether acne is a “disease” or a “skin condition. Either way, it is important to realise that ACNE cannot be cured, only controlled. It’s not always a quick fix, but don’t give up hope!
Everyone wants to get rid of their acne as quickly as possible which is why the quick fix sounds so appealing. The reality is treating acne takes time and patience. In mild cases that may mean a week but for more severe forms of acne, it can take a few months. The upside is you’ll see results along on the way.
It is also equally important to understand that as all cases of acne are not created equal, there is no one treatment fits all acne problems. Everyone’s skin is different and there are so many products and treatments out there that it’s difficult to know what will work and where to start!
And because everyone’s skin is different, what works for one person, may or may not work for you. Acne can be as much internal as it is external, so finding your way to clear skin can get very overwhelming, very quickly!
Which Acne Treatment is Best for Me?
Sudden breakouts are incredibly frustrating. And even if you eat a healthy diet, wear makeup that won’t clog your pores, change your pillowcase regularly, and use acne-fighting skincare products (such as cleansers that contain ingredients like salicylic acid), you can still wake up to the unpleasant discovery that a pimple has pushed its way to the surface of your skin.
The unfortunate Rule of Thumb for treating and ridding you of your acne concerns, is that there is NO “Rule of Thumb”. Everyones skin is different and so everyones acne is also different. What works for someone might not work for you. It can be aggressive or mild, it can be stress or diet related, it can be hormonal.
Ultimately, acne is as a result of when the pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, or bacteria. Each pore of your skin is the opening to a follicle. The follicle is made up of a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland. When everything is working as it should, the oil gland releases sebum (oil), which travels up the hair, out of the pore, and onto your skin. The sebum keeps your skin lubricated and soft.
But when it isn’t working properly, one or more problems may have occured in the lubrication process, and this can cause acne. The problems are caused by “rogue” sebacious glands. These are glands that produce too much oil and too many skin cells, creating oil & skin plugs which start the acne cycle. Treating your acne relies on finding the best treatment to expel the underlying bacteria caught in your skin pores, address sebum oil control and to repair existing acne damage such as mild scarring.
Our experienced dermal therapists focus on fighting the root cause of breakouts, combining in-clinic treatments with professional home skin care products and recommendations to accelerate visible results and help you regain control of your skin.
Studies show acne can be linked to social isolation, self-consciousness, low self-esteem, reduced employment prospects, anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts so it’s important to seek medical help as soon as possible.
Treating & Controlling Your Acne
A single treatment is rarely the answer to any instance of acne and often a series of treatments and skin care will work best. LED light phototherapy, serum infusion skin micro-needling, IPL photorejuvenation, chemical peels and high frequency facials, are just some of the more popular and effective acne treatments we offer at Nascent Skin and Beauty, as well as clinical cosmeceutical acne skin care.
Our experienced skin specialists focus on fighting the root cause of breakouts, combining in-clinic treatments utilising industry best equipment coupled with home-care recommendations to accelerate visible results and help regain control of the skin.
Skin Consultation & Analysis
Before undertaking your first *clinical skin treatment for your acne (*IPL Laser Photorejuvenation, Skin Peel, High Frequency Facial, Dermafrac Needling or LED Light Phototherapy) we will require you to undertake a Skin Consultation with our highly trained Skin Specialist who can identify the type of acne you may be suffering from and recommend the best course of action.
All consultations and treatments are conducted in our well equipped, safe, private, comfortable and stylish clinic where our Skin Specialists are able to answer any questions or concerns you may have in regard to treating and managing your acne.
Tailored Acne Treatment Plan
Our Skin Specialist understands the science behind acne and will recommend a suitable individually tailored treatment plan for the repair and management of your acne skin condition. It’s important when coming to us with a skin condition or disorder that you meticulously follow the treatment plan we provide, otherwise your desired results are unlikely to be achieved.
Skin disorders and conditions don’t develop overnight and neither should you expect that a single treatment will rectify the disorder or condition. Similar to a physician prescribing you a pharmaceutical product, you will be expected to follow the recommended treatment plan for the prescribed period to repair and rejuvenate your skin.
If you have acne, you’re not alone. It’s the most common of skin diseases – affecting 85% of Australians aged 15-24 years old. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a guy or girl as both sexes get acne.
Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a long-term skin disease that occurs when skin pores & hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin.
To keep our skin healthy and supple, our skin’s sebaceous or oil producing glands produce sebum. Acne occurs when an overactive sebaceous gland (containing a hair follicle) becomes plugged with oil (sebum – which is the naturally occurring oil produced by the body) and dead skin cells, helping the bacteria (a bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes) to multiply, leading to acne breakouts. As the bacterium multiplies, our immune system reacts to it in the form of pus, redness, itchiness or pain.
It is characterised by blackheads or whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and possible scarring. It primarily affects areas of the skin with a relatively high number of oil glands, including the face, upper part of the chest, back and shoulders. Other pores in your skin, which are the openings of the sweat glands, aren’t usually involved in acne.
Since acne is a serious skin concern, opting for home remedies like washing your face frequently, drinking lots of water etc. might not turn out to be effective. Hence, we suggest seeking professional help. The first step towards knowing about acne starts with understanding our skin.
Who Suffers from Acne?
Acne is most common among teenagers, though adults can suffer acne and acne breakouts as well. Teenage boys and young men have higher levels of androgens (male hormones like testosterone) than teenage girls so they are more likely to have acne, and unfortunately, are also more likely to have severe acne.
Androgens are not the only hormones that play a role in acne. Many women and teenage girls notice their acne worsens just before their period. This is due to changes in female sex hormones (such as oestrogen), which can contribute to blockage and inflammation of pores.
An accumulation of bacteria in the pores, skin irritation or scratching, stress, hereditary factors and other forms of hormonal activity also play a crucial role in the development of acne.
Women are more likely to suffer with ongoing acne. In some cases, this means acne can be hanging around even in your 30’s and 40’s. Women can also develop acne for the first time later in life and bear the burden of adult acne – a frustrating condition that’s becoming more common and appears to be linked to both hormones and stress.
Hormonal changes related to pregnancy or to stopping and starting oral contraceptives (the pill) can cause acne in some women.
Once you reach your mid-20’s, acne often clears up by itself, especially in men. However, for some young people acne is a serious, ongoing problem that needs medical help for the physical and psychological issues acne can sometimes cause.
Four main factors cause acne:
- Hair follicles clogged by oil & dead skin cells
- Excess oil production
- Excess activity of a type of hormone (androgens)
Acne typically appears on your face, forehead, chest, upper back & shoulders because these areas of skin have the most oil (sebaceous) glands. Hair follicles are connected to oil glands. The follicle wall may bulge and produce a whitehead. Or the plug may be open to the surface and darken, causing a blackhead. A blackhead may look like dirt stuck in pores, but actually the pore is congested with bacteria and oil, which turns brown when it’s exposed to the air and oxidises.
The cause of the blockage to the gland can often be a hair that has twisted or fractured within the gland causing a plug that blocks the pore opening. The plug prevents oil & dead skin cells from escaping the gland.
Excessive oil production within the gland, usually as a result of hormones (androgens), can also cause a blockage in the gland itself with similar results. An accumulation of bacteria in the pores, skin irritation or scratching, stress, hereditary factors & other forms of hormonal activity, such as menstrual cycles, also play a crucial role in the development of common acne.
Pustules (pimples) are raised red spots with a white centre that develop when blocked hair follicles become inflamed or infected with bacteria. Blockages & inflammation that develop deep inside hair follicles produce cyst like lumps beneath the surface of your skin. Initially these lumps will start as small tender red lumps called papules.
As the bacteria builds in these pustules, or when a series of pustules are gathered closely together, they will form nodules (large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin). In some instances the nodules become so infected they form angry, red, and extremely painful pus-filled cystic lesions beneath the surface of the skin (also referred to as cystic acne – an uncommon but severe form of acne).
Other pores in your skin, which are the openings of the sweat glands, aren’t usually involved in acne. Both teenage & adult acne are fundamentally caused by hormones. In the case of teenage acne it’s the ‘arrival’ of hormones, in adult acne it’s due to a “change” in hormone levels. In both cases the hormonal activity stimulates the sebaceous glands to over produce sebum.
Acne lesions have many visual forms, but are generally classified into three (3) main types.
1. COMEDONAL ACNE
This is the kind of mild acne that involves blackheads and whiteheads. It forms because a component of skin oil called sebum, along with old skin cells, block the pores of the skin.
Comedonal acne appears most often on the forehead, nose, and chin.
Blackheads, a form of non-inflammatory acne, appear as tiny, brown or black plugs of foreign matter within the hair follicles. These deposits, or plugs within the follicles, mainly consist of keratin (a natural protein found in hair, nails and skin) and oily secretions from the sebaceous gland. Oxidation then causes the deposits to darken in colour. When blackheads break the surface of the skin, they are medically referred to as open come done. Blackheads often remain on the skin for extended periods of time because of their inability to drain and disperse through the skin’s surface. Manual extraction is usually the best way to remove them completely.
Whiteheads, another form of non-inflammatory acne, typically appear as small, white-coloured bumps or pimples on the skin. The bumps develop after trapped bacteria and sebum form a blockage beneath the skin’s surface. A whitehead is considered a closed come done because the lesion does not break the skin’s tissue. Many whiteheads are often invisible to the naked eye. With proper care, most can be easily drained through the skin surface. If left alone, whiteheads and pimples are prone to regression, and usually eliminate themselves through the skin’s surface over time.
2. INFLAMMATORY ACNE
Papules are the mildest form of inflammatory acne and appear as tiny, pink bumps on the surface of the skin. They form when white blood cells begin to collect around sebaceous bacteria and break the follicular wall. This attack of infection causes inflammation and irritation, which can lead to more severe forms of acne if the lesion collapses into nearby pores. Papules are often the first sign of a future pimple.
Pustules are an inflammatory collection of white blood cells that have made their way to the surface of the skin, often appearing as enlarged and pus-filled bumps. This moderate, often severe, form of acne is otherwise known as the common “zit.”
Nodules and Cysts
Nodules and Cysts are the most severe forms of inflammatory acne. The lesions are usually painful to the touch and appear as large and swollen red bumps on the surface of the skin.
Nodules and Cysts contain pus and sebaceous matter that has ruptured deep within the follicle walls. These infections can last weeks and months and are extremely prone to scarring.
3. CYSTIC ACNE
The most severe form of acne, acne cysts (cystic acne) develops as the result of an actual infection in the area of the outbreak. Cystic acne often runs in families. It’s often very painful and can result in disfiguring and permanent scarring.
You get a pimple when a pore in your skin gets clogged, usually with dead skin cells. Sometimes bacteria get trapped inside the pore, too, causing the area to become red and swollen.
Cystic acne happens when this infection goes deep into your skin, creating a red, tender bump that’s full of pus. It may hurt or itch. If a cyst bursts, the infection can spread, causing more breakouts.
- Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
- Blackheads (open plugged pores)
- Papules (small red, tender bumps)
- Pustules (visible papules that have developed pus at their tips owing to bacterial infection – commonly referred to as pimples)
- Nodules (large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin)
- Acne Cysts or Cystic Lesions (painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin)
Looking to deal with your acne skin?
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Acne Treatment at Home (Self Care)
If you have acne there are a number of things you can do to help to manage the condition
- Do not squeeze spots and try not to touch them because this can lead to an infection.
- Cleanse with a mild ‘soap free’ liquid face cleanser that’s acid and/or pH balanced and free of abrasives and alcohol.
- When washing your face you should clean it gently rather than scrubbing the skin. Pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it.
- If you wear make-up, remove your make-up before going to bed will also help to keep the skin glands unblocked. Choose non-comedogenic makeup products that are suitable for acne-prone skin.
- If you use hair products such as gels, sprays and waxes, you should make sure they don’t come into contact with your face, especially your forehead. You may also find keeping your hair away from your forehead can help improve spots on your forehead. Washing your hair more regularly also helps improve spots.
- Use makeup and/or sunscreen only during the day and a moisturiser at night. Apply makeup, moisturisers and sunscreens after or on top of your morning or evening acne treatments.
- When shaving, moisten hairs for a few minutes first to soften them. Use a shaving cream designed for sensitive skin and make sure the razor is sharp. Don’t try to shave off pimples and use light pressure only when shaving.
These factors can trigger or aggravate an existing case of acne
- Hormones: Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives also can affect sebum production. And low amounts of androgens circulate in the blood of women and can worsen acne.
- Drugs: containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium can worsen acne.
- Diet: Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods — such as bread, bagels and chips — may trigger acne. Chocolate has long been suspected of making acne worse. Clinical studies suggest that it is not necessarily chocolate but more that a high-sugar/high-fat diet can increase sebum production and promote inflammatory responses in the body — which can lead to acne.
- Stress: Stress can make acne worse.
These factors have little effect on acne
- Greasy Foods: Eating greasy food has little to no effect on acne. Though working in a greasy area, such as a kitchen with fry vats, does because the oil can stick to the skin and block the hair follicles. This further irritates the skin and can promote acne.
- Dirty Skin: Acne isn’t caused by dirt. In fact, scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals irritates the skin and can make acne worse, though it does help to gently remove oil, dead skin and other substances.
- Cosmetics: Cosmetics don’t necessarily worsen acne, especially if you use oil-free makeup that doesn’t clog pores (non-comedogenics) and remove makeup regularly. Non-oily cosmetics don’t interfere with the effectiveness of acne drugs.
Additional Information regarding acne treatments
For those that suffer from enlarged pores or acne, most tend to have an oily skin type, and an effective at home skin care routine is extremely important. The regular application of an enzyme cleanser and vitamin A based formulation designed specifically to treat and manage blemished oily skin, as well as a well designed skin care routine are paramount. Specifically designed acne skin care products can be found and purchased in our Online Skin Care Shop.
Our Skin Care Specialists can analyse your skin needs and hand select appropriate and effective cosmeceutical formulations as well as design a skin care regime specifically for you.
The formulations used in medical-grade skin treatments such as Acne Facials and Chemical Skin Peels, are effective at smoothing and cleansing the skin, healing scars and acne, and balancing oil production in skin cells to reduce future acne outbreaks. Medical Grade Clinical Chemical Peels exfoliate the skin, kill bacteria and unclog the blocked pores that cause acne. The process involves the application of a chemical agent to the skin that penetrates the outer layers and works to reveal the brighter, healthier skin beneath.
The peel treatment is regularly partnered with LED Light Phototherapy as an alternating treatment to aid in the regeneration of healthy skin.
DermaFrac is the latest state of the art Fractional or Collagen Induction Therapy available. As opposed to Dermapen or Dermal Roller skin needling, the DermaFrac system delivers controlled skin micro needling with direct serum infusion but with NO PAIN, NO ANAESTHETIC required, and NO DOWNTIME.
DermaFrac Skin Needling works by stimulating your own body’s collagen to plump up the skin and break down scar tissue without damaging the epidermis. This promotes your skins own healing mechanisms to stimulate new collagen growth, improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of scarring.
With the Dermafrac System, active ingredient serums are infused directly into the skin during the procedure. The serums are able to use the micro needling fractures to deliver the serum contents direct to the Dermal Epidermal Junction where they can best feed your skin and effect real change.
For acne suffers, we recommend DermaFrac treatments commencing with HYDRATE serum to ensure the skin’s health before proceeding to a series of CLARIFY serum treatments to address the underlying acne causing issues.
LED Light Phototherapy can be used to treat acne, fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, acne scarring and rosacea. The treatment can help minimise acne while also soothing the skin and reducing redness and inflammation.
Our LED Photo Treatment Units are Medical Grade and are equipped with Near Infrared, Red and Blue LED’s with optimal power and controlled delivery to target different concerns. Settings are matched with your skin concerns, creating a pattern of different lights, to ensure maximum results.
Blue Light therapy targets and neutralises the bacteria responsible for the redness and inflammation typically seen with an outbreak of acne. It provides great, scientifically proven results for clearing acne lesions and scarring. It can be used on the face, chest and back and is suitable for all patients with acne.
Alternating treatments of Red Light are used to rejuvenate the skin after the Blue Light has dealt with the bacterial element.
LED Phototherapy is non-invasive and non-thermal, and hence requires no recovery time after treatments.
A series of gentle IPL Photorejuvenation treatments can be utilised to provide skin resurfacing and address textural irregularities such as enlarged pores and acne scarring, without ablating the epidermis (top layer of the skin). The IPL treatment triggers a wound-healing process that replaces the disorganised, compacted scar tissue with healthy new tissue, greatly diminishing the appearance of the scar tissue and enlarged pores.