What is it?
Acne is caused by inflammation of the pilosebaceous unit (aka the hair follicle and oil gland). This causes blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and larger lesions called nodules and cysts.
Acne occurs on the face, chest and back and may cause scarring. Acne is disfiguring and the resulting depressed scars (hyperlink to article on acne scars) are permanent, which is why we must treat acne early and take measures to prevent new ones from forming.
What causes acne?
People with acne produce more keratin which blocks drainage of oil from the oil gland. Keratin is a protein made by skin cells.
Acne sufferers also secrete excess oil as they are more sensitive to male hormones in their body. Note that ladies also have male hormones. The excess oil and keratin form plugs called whiteheads and blackheads or comedones.
Acne sufferers also have an acne bacteria called P. acnes which act on these comedones causing inflammation. These inflamed lesions are commonly called pimples, which are red bumps or red bumps with pus. More serious inflammation results in larger bumps called nodules and cysts.
What can we do about it?
Acne must be treated early to prevent depressed scars which will last for life. Treatment targets the processes that cause acne.
Treatment for acne comprise skin care in combination with procedures which speed up clearance and make the skin clear and smooth. Sometimes oral medication is also prescribed.
What type of skin care?
We will recommend an appropriate cleanser that will remove surface oil effectively and gently. Creams will be prescribed to treat and reduce the number of comedones. Excess keratin will be tackled with gentle fruit acids. Antibiotics and antiseptics applied to the skin will clear acne bacteria.
In addition, it is important for acne sufferers to keep their skin moisturised and use sunscreen. We have light and oil free moisturises and sunscreens that will not aggravate acne. They make the skin feel hydrated and not dry and irritated as irritation may cause acne to flare.
What about oral medication?
Those whose acne is not controlled by oral medication may be prescribed a course of antibiotics or isotretinoin tablets.
Do you treat acne with injections?
Large pimple and nodules should be treated early with a small injection of steroids which will reduce the inflammatory process and cause the large lesion to reduce in size within 2 days. This not only helps it to heal quickly, it also prevents scar formation.
Can we prevent acne from forming?
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. After the acne has cleared, we will recommend a maintenance plan with daily skin care and procedures to prevent new acne from forming and keep the skin clear, smooth and glowing.
Stress, hormones and an unbalanced lifestyle can contribute to the cause of aggravated skin breakouts. At The Chelsea Clinic, our doctors will analyse your skin condition, before referring you on a recommended treatment regime.
To understand how to combat acne prone skin better, click here.