Acne is a common condition which affects about 85% of teenagers and can also carry on in adult life. It is a very important condition due to its physical and emotional aspect.
What causes acne
During puberty, oil producing glands which are located near hair follicles are very active. The oil is released in the top layer of the skin for protection. Dead skin cells present on the skin surface combine with the oil and clog up the skin pores. The skin always has hapless bacteria that live on the surface layer and near the oil glands. The build up of oil and skin cells form a plug and the bacteria grow in it causes localised inflammation in the area. As a result you get a small solid bump or a larger pustule on the surface of the skin.
Excess oil in the skin, pollution, makeup and dirt on the skin surface can all make acne worse. Stress of illness can aggravate acne as the body is less able to keep the bacteria in check. In most people food does not affect the acne. However, in some individuals dairy and sugary foods do make the acne worse.
How is acne treated?
Acne is classified as mild, moderate or severe depending on how much of it is present, how often and which area it spreads to.
Cleanse and exfoliate – the removal of any dirt/makeup and the gentle exfoliation of dead skin cells on the surface can help to reduce the amount of acne. Attempt to avoid harsh scrubs or masks as they can dry out the skin.
Medical creams and lotions
- Salicylic acid – This is anti-inflammatory and is available in over the counter creams and face washes. Please note that in some people salicylic acid can be irritating to the skin.
- Benzoyl peroxide – This is available on prescription and works well against pustules. It is advised not to use this near the eyes. Please note that over use can cause dryness of the skin.
- Vitamin A derivatives (retinoids) – These are available on prescription and work well against blackheads and can help to exfoliate the skin. Please not that using an effective sub screen is very important.
- Antibiotic solution/gel/cream – Available on prescription and help to reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin and therefore reduce inflammation. Please note that it is important to follow the instructions for application of the antibiotics carefully.
Systemic medications – These are prescribed and include oral contraceptives (to help with hormonal control), antibiotics and Accutane (isotretenoin). These medications are to be used with a dermatologist prescription only.
Chemical / Medical Peels – May studies have proven that glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels (commonly called fruit acid peels) reduce acne and improve scarring. They work by removing the top surface layers of the skin and encourage the growth of new skin which is clear of acne. Repeat application of the peels may be needed depending on the severity of the acne. The advantage of this treatment is that the result can be seen in a short period of time and is effective in all skin types.
At the Better care Clinic, Dr Minal Amlani treats active acne and acne scars using a combination of advice, medication and acid peels. Please note that a consultation will be required prior to treatment.
Please contact us to book an appointment.