What is it and what causes it?
Acne is a common, chronic skin disorder categorised by blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and red oily skin, which consequently may also result in significant scarring.
Acne forms when hair follicles beneath the skin's surface become blocked with excess oil or dead skin. Bacterial infection of these clogged pores results in painfully swollen and red pimples. Its severity is often dependent on factors including a genetic disposition or hormonal imbalance. Certain triggers such as stress or hormonal changes associated with puberty and the menstrual cycle may also contribute to the development of acne. While acne most commonly occurs during adolescence, presentation during adulthood is not uncommon.
There are many treatment options for the management of acne and depending on each individual case, such options may have varying degrees of success. To determine the most appropriate course of treatment for each individual, it is highly recommended that you consult a trained professional before commencing any form of treatment. Here at the Tasmanian Skin Clinic, Dr. Chris Kear specialises in the treatment of acne, particularly more difficult cases that have had poor success with previous management.
Treatment options for the management of acne include;
- Over-the-counter and prescription creams (topical antibiotics, retinoids, antiseptic creams) are aimed at cleansing the skin of bacteria, unblocking pores and preventing future blockages.
- Prescription antibiotics may help to eliminate bacteria and reduce inflammation.
- The contraceptive pill is commonly used for females suffering from acne associated with hormonal imbalances.
- Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a method of light therapy targeted at eliminating bacterial infection and reducing the severity of inflammation and pain associated with acne. While predominantly used for the treatment of sun damage, for moderate to severe cases of acne PDT is the newest and most effective advance in treatment options. PDT works to successfully deactivate acne-causing bacteria, exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells, unclog pores and ultimately prevent hyperactivity of the skin’s sebaceous glands.
- Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatment, designed to decrease the overall production and secretion of oil (sebum) that leads to acne formation. IPL methods have also proven successful in the treatment of acne scarring.
- Larger acne cysts that have not responded to primary treatments can ultimately be surgically removed.
Our doctors and professional skin care specialists choose DMK Paramedical skin care products for the achievement and maintenance of healthy, trouble-free skin. DMK skin care has an entire range dedicated to the effective treatment and management of acne and acne scarring. Ask our Paramedical Skin Therapists about the Acu Klear range or visit the DMK website for more information.
How long do acne treatments take?
Treatment involving the use of acne creams or prescribed medications should start to show improvement within 6-8 weeks, while hormonal acne may need management over several years with the use of the contraceptive pill or anti-hormone medication. As for other treatment modalities, success and the rate of improvement often differs from one individual case to the next, therefore it is important to consult an experience medical professional to determine the most appropriate course of treatment for you.
What can I do to manage my acne at home?
• Cleansing the skin of acneic conditions is the first and most important step in managing your acne. It is also important to use a cleanser which has been purposely designed for acne-prone skin. Do not over-cleanse as this can also irritate the skin and worsen it’s condition.
• Use water-based make-up and other oil-free products. Thoroughly remove all make-up before bed.
• Avoid the urge to pick or squeeze! Picking or squeezing pimples can increase the chance of bacterial infection and lead to scarring.
All about Acne is a fantastic website to help individuals suffering from acne gain a better understanding of the condition and how to seek assistance with treatment and management.
How does stress affect acne?
Stress can often result in an acne breakout as it can result in hormone fluctuations.
What sunscreen should I use?
For people with acne prone skin, sunscreen application is vital. Choosing the right sunscreen is also vital though. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that is lightweight, non-greasy and has a SPF15 or greater.
Before: Image courtesy of Danne` Skin revision clinic
After: Image courtesy of Danne` Skin revision clinic