Acne

Acne

…how can we control acne?

 

Causes of Acne?

Acne is generally caused by hormonal changes in the body, and other factors acting on the sebaceous glands of the skin. Sebaceous glands are the oil-producing glands of the skin and are most numerous on the face.

Genetics have an effect on acne breakouts and may be the reason some people are acne-prone while others are not.  Genes play a role in several ways; firstly, they contribute to skin sensitivity.  Acne-prone skin is more susceptible to oil production and tends to shed and regenerate skin cells fasters.  Those prone to acne also exhibit strong inflammatory responses to skin irritants and bacteria.

Understanding why you break out.  Simply pimples are caused by fluctuations in hormone levels during puberty which causes the adrenal glands to go into overdrive and produce sebum within the sebaceous glands. The more sebum produced, the easier for the hair follicle to become clogged and the oil cannot leave the pore collecting dead skin cells hanging onto bacteria.
 

What can trigger acne?

  • OIL-BASED MOISTURISERS: Oil-based moisturisers contain large-molecular size oils or similar occlusive agents that can block pores and cause acne.  The skin of acne sufferers already contains enough oil, so a moisturiser is rarely necessary. If you believe that you do need a moisturiser, our doctor will recommend one at your initial consultation that won’t block the pores.
  • OIL-BASED COSMETICS such as oily foundations, many moisturisers, powder compacts, oily cleansers etc.
  • SUNSCREAM CREAMS: Choose instead a sunscreen milk, lotion or gel.
  • ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES AND INJECTABLE CONTRACEPTIVES always check with your general practitioner for side effects before taking any medication
  • SQUEEZING/PICKING: Do not pick or squeeze.  Squeezing spreads the inflammation deeper into the skin which can then lead to scarring.
  • STRESS AND POOR SLEEP:  These probably act via hormone release.
  • UNHEALTHY EATING HABITS

 

Can acne be successfully treated?   YES!

Our Cosmetic Physician would firstly need to consult with you to assess whether you have a mild, moderate, or severe form of acne.

A customised program would be designed that will include different treatments to get the best possible results.

Your individual treatment program could include one or more of the following:

  • AVOID ALL trigger oil based cosmetics. Many oil-based cosmetics (including sunscreens) contain ingredients that block the pores and may trigger acne and lead to ‘breakouts’Such ingredients include, but are not limited to:
    – isopropyl palmitate
    – isopropyl myristate
    – butyl stearate
    – isopropyl isostearate
    – decyl oleate
    – isostearyl neopentanoate
    – isocetyl stearate
    – myristle myristate
    – cocoa butter
    – lanolin
    – and various oils.
  • Use a good quality cleansing/moisturising oil-free daily routine to unblock the pores. 
  • Prescription Antibiotics may be included initially and for a short period to bring your acne under quicker control. Our Cosmetic Physician will advise you after examination to see your general practitioner should you need a prescription.
  • Prescribed oral contraception: Some low-dose birth control pills may help control acne in women who tend to have flare-ups before menstruation.  If you need to take an oral contraceptive. Our Cosmetic Physician will advise you during consult to see your general practitioner should you need to discuss a change in your prescription.
  • Medical-Grade Micro-Dermabrasions
  • Superficial Chemical Peels
  • RF & LED TherapyCombined Bipolar Radio Frequency and Blue Light LED energies can penetrate the skin to both reduce sebaceous gland activity and destroy active acne-causing bacteria.

 

People often make errors in judgment in treating their acne

1:  NOT CONTINUING WITH AN ACNE TREATMENT LONG ENOUGH:
You must give a product at least 6-8 weeks and then keep using it if you notice an improvement.  In some cases, your skin might feel a bit irritated in the first couple of weeks of treatment or even look a little worse before it gets better.

2:  USING TOO MANY PRODUCTS AT ONCE:
People usually try more products when they don’t get results in the first few days of treatment.

What then happens is that they start using different products, using more if they don’t see results within a few days. This can actually irritate the skin and worsen the acne.

3:   SCRUBBING OR OVER-CLEANSING THE SKIN:
Scrubbing the skin will actually worsen acne because it can compromise the skin’s protective barrier and increase irritation.

4:   USING THE WRONG PRODUCTS ON ACNE-PRONE SKIN:
Certain ingredients found in products such as cosmetics (oil-based foundations & powder compacts), some moisturisers and sunscreens can clog pores and aggravate acne or even be the sole cause of it.

5:  PICKING AND SQUEEZING AT PIMPLES:
Squeezing pimples can drive the bacteria into the deeper skin layers and cause scarring.

6:   WAITING TOO LONG TO SEE AN ACNE SPECIALIST:
Acne sufferers at times delay seeking an assessment and treatment from doctors specialising in acne, or they receive inadequate treatments in the form of prolonged antibiotic courses which, without any of the other necessary measures, usually deliver a partial improvement only or none at all!

Delaying an effective treatment program not only has a profound social and psychological impact in the form of self-consciousness and embarrassment, but it can also lead to permanent and disfiguring scarring.

7:   USING A PRESCRIBED ACNE MEDICATION:
Always use the medication as prescribed. Over-using it won’t help clear the acne any sooner or better. In fact, it can cause irritation, redness, dryness and flakiness of the skin forcing you to then stop it.

Under-using it by forgetting it or stopping it when the skin improves will only allow the acne to return.

If you are using a prescribed lotion, you must apply it to the whole face, not just the area currently showing pimples.  Such “spot-treatments” must be avoided because you haven’t addressed the area next to it where another pimple could be growing!

8:  STOPPING THE ACNE TREATMENTS AS SOON AS IT STARTS TO CLEAR UP:
Our Cosmetic Physician will advise which parts of your treatment program, if any, you can reduce once the acne has cleared.  Most people need some form of maintenance to avoid repeat outbreaks.