Acne is associated with significant morbidity and is more than just a normal part of growing up. Poorly controlled acne, whether mild, moderate or severe, can have a lasting legacy in terms of both physiological and physical scars. Studies have shown acne to be associated with feelings of self consciousness, low self esteem, depression and anxiety.
Acne is common and troublesome for teens and adults alike. It is one of the most common skin diseases in young people aged 15 to 24 years. Adolescent boys and young men are more likely to have acne than their female counterparts and make up the majority of severe scarring cases.
Acne, a clinical diagnosis, mainly affects skin with high density of pilosebaceous units, such as the face, neck, upper trunk, shoulders and proximal arms.
Women are more likely to suffer from ongoing acne that commences or reappears during their early adult years. Around 8 % of women have acne persisting into their 30’s and in some it continues into their 40s and occasionally 50s. Why this occurs is poorly understood but may be related to hormones, childbirth, menopause, or stopping the pill. Adult women may be treated at the period and at ovulation when acne is especially severe, or throughout the entire cycle
There is also a subset of women with “true” hormonal acne who have abnormal levels of androgenic (male-type) hormones. These women often have accompanying excess facial hair (also hormonally regulated) and irregular menstrual cycles, although women who have normal hormone levels may also have excess hair.
Causes of acne:
The two main causes of acne are blockage of the pores and bacterial growth. Oil and cells get trapped below the surface of the skin, creating a growth medium for the bacteria. White cells migrate to the site to fight the bacteria, in turn releasing chemicals that lead to swelling, redness and further attraction of white cells (inflammation). The result is a dilated pore, filled with white cells, inflammatory and anti-inflammatory chemicals and bacteria. This is the content of the acne pimple.
The following causes have been associated with the development of acne
- Abnormal Keratinization: This result in formation of keratin plugs which blocks off the drainage of the pilosebaceous unit leading to accumulation of pro inflammatory debris and increased bacterial numbers of P acnes. The first sign of altered keratinization is a blackhead which consists of keratinized material and lipid material. Closed comedones are thought to be precursors of more disfiguring lesions
- Lipid Abnormalities: Acne patients excrete more sebaceous lipids onto the surface of the skin which produce marked inflammation of the skin.
- Bacterial action: he most commonly found organism is Propionibacterium acnes. The bacteria produce an inflammatory response by their breakdown of fats and oils within the plugged sebaceous glands. The result is redness and pus.
- Hormones; In both men and women, the androgen hormones are present in much higher concentrations at puberty and acne results.
- Flare Factors for acne are: stress, menses and puberty (new onset hormones).
- Diet: In a recent study, a diet high in beef and with a low GI was associated with a clinically significant improvement in acne irrespective of its severity.
- Skin care ingredients to AVOID if you have acne: cinnamon oil, cocoa butter, cocus nucifera, isoprpopyl isostearate, isopropyl myristate, isopropyl myristate, butyl stearate, isostearyl neopentanoate, myristyl myristate, octyl palmitate, isocetyl stearate, propylene glycol 2, myristyl propionate, lanolin, peppermint oil, decyl oleate, octyl stearate
Classification of acne: Acne can be classified as mild, moderate or severe inflammatory acne. When acne is severe and forms deep “pus-filled” lumps, it is called cystic acne. This may be more common in males and this kind of acne should be treated early as scarring is inevitable.
Topical therapies: At Body Renewal we offer traditional topical therapies with Neostrata, Nimue and Dermalogica Medi Bac acne range as well as Antibiotics and prescription medicines if indicated.
In Office treatments: Recent advances such as Laser genesis, PDT photo dynamic therapy and Beta Hydroxy Peels are available at Body Renewal to treat acne. Deep cleansing, Danne enzyme treatments and Lamelle Acne plus treatments which include Beta Peels and retinol may be prescribed.
For more severe acne, PDT/ALA therapy is recommended for enhanced results.
As each patient's case is different we will tailor a treatment program specifically for you and your circumstances. A highly professional team led by a medical doctor assesses every patient and an appropriate combination treatment together with long term maintenance program is recommended.
Body Renewal Tip:
Newly introduced Carboxytherapy treatments are fast becoming a favourite treatment for acne. After the introduction of Carbon Dioxide into the dermis, Carbonic Acid is formed which destroys P acne. An added benefit is that acne scars can be treated at the same time.