Nearly all of us at some point in time have experienced acne. For most people, it develops in our early teenage years, as we progress through puberty and our hormone levels begin to change. However, this is not the case for everyone. In some cases, some people can experience acne in their late adult life. This can be a result of multiple factors such as; hormonal imbalances, diseases or environmental influences. In this article, we look at some of the ways that acne can be managed, from clinical skin treatments to medical treatments like Roaccutane.
The severity of this disease varies to each individual. In spite of this, there are four key factors that lead to the formation of this acne condition. These include:
1. An increase in oil production within the sebaceous glands (influenced by hormonal changes);
2. An increase in skin cell production leading to an accumulation of dead skin cells that causes blockages in the oil glands (formation of blackheads and whiteheads);
3. Infection with bacteria “Propionibacterium acnes/P. acnes”; and
4. Inflammation due to the localised infection of bacteria causing redness and swelling papules, pustules or in severe cases cystic nodules.
It’s on the basis of these four principles that the severity of this disease can be determined.
As anyone who has suffered from acne can tell you, it is a debilitating disease that can rapidly erode your self-confidence. It can also have the long-term consequence of permanent scarring if the disease runs unchecked.
The treatment options are varied but are primarily aimed at:
– Unclogging the blocked pores and allowing the oils to run;
– Reducing the amount of oil production;
– Killing the bacteria that cause the infection and pustules;
– Reducing the inflammation and redness; and
Altering the hormonal balance
Treatment options for Acne Management
Medically we have lots of options and some big guns but they can have side effects.
Medical Treatments like Roaccutane
There are creams such as benzoyl peroxidase which help unclog the pores but can be drying and irritating to the skin. Vitamin A derivatives are very good in reducing the oil production and reducing cysts, and come in cream form, as a last resort in the tablet form of Roaccutane. Vitamin A derivatives are very drying and can be very irritating to the top layers of the skin. We can also use antibiotics and when appropriate the contraceptive pill can help address hormonal imbalances.
Clinical Skin Treatments
We use the same formulations: vitamin A products and products that unclog pores as well as reducing oil production but have access to preparations that are less drying and less irritating to the skin. By combining appropriate home regimes with monthly in clinic treatments we can reduce the severity of the acne. For some patients, this is enough to avoid ‘medical drugs’. In others, we can reduce the amount of medical intervention required and work in with that and then there are the few whose acne is so severe they do need Roaccutane.
Being a medical clinic we work in with local physicians and dermatologists to back up the medical treatments that are prescribed and reducing the amount or strength of drugs required. There are many patients whose skin we can control without resorting to prescription drugs. We start new patients and those who wish to avoid prescription drugs on proven regimes. However, there are times when you will need that next level of treatment to clear up the acne.
The types of treatments we commonly utilize are:
– in clinic intense skin treatments to deliver preparations deep into the skin where it is needed to reduce oil production and inflammation;
– microdermabrasion to hep unclog the pores;
– extractions of pimples and clogged pores; and
– lasers to reduce the redness (and later if necessary scarring)
Every patient is different, and we target the treatment on an individualized basis. That is why we have a thorough consultation first and make a plan. To book in for a consultation contact the clinic today.