Acne is a common skin condition that usually starts in puberty due to a surge in hormones
Acne causes oily skin and spots.
Spots can take on many forms – blackheads, whiteheads , papules (small red lumps under the skin), pustules (like papules but filled with pus) , nodules (painful hard lumps under the skin), and cysts (large pus filled swellings)
What causes acne?
Sebaceous glands are located next to the hair follicles in the skin. They are responsible for producing oil to help keep our skin moisturised
They are stimulated to produce excess oil by hormones, typically testosterone.
The oil then mixes with dead skin cells and blocks the pore that the hair follicle exists from.
This blocked pore then can bulge outwards – creating the ‘spot’.
Normal bacteria that exist on the skin surface, usually causing no problems, are attracted to the blocked pore and cause it to become infected – causing the painful inflamed spot.
Acne in people of Asian descent
Acne is no more common in Asians compared to other ethnicity, however due to darker skin types Asians are more likely to experience scarring and pigmentation where they have had spots.
Always see a medically qualified professional to assess and advise on treatment because it is easier to treat acne before scarring or pigmentation occurs.
The purpose of treatments is to address the causes behind why the acne has happened i.e – unclog the pore, reduce the hormones, reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin
Depending on stage/degree of acne you may be offered:
Medicated creams containing benzyl peroxide, retinol – unclog the pores and remove dead skin
Oral antibiotics – reduce bacteria
Chemical peels – unclog the pores
Contraceptive pills – reduce hormone levels
LED therapy – reduces bacteria
Oral retinoids – only dermatologist can prescribe this and reserved for severe acne due to the risks attached with the medication, but works really well in most cases
If you have scarring –
micro needling – tiny needles penetrate skin and stimulate new collagen to help plump out scars
surgical procedures – for more sever scarring – helps release the scars or can be filled with dermal fillers
If you have pigmentation-
De-pigmenting creams – can help reduce the melanin in the pigmented areas and improve overall skin tone
Topical prescription strength retinol – helps to unclog pores, reduces oil production and increases skin turnover
Psychological effect of acne
Plenty of research and evidence that tells us that acne sufferers can experience problems with self-consciousness, embarrassment, self-esteem and self-image.
Interestingly the degree of psychological issues is not related to the severity of acne, i.e mild acne can have profound effects on a person’s mental wellbeing.
So seeking treatments for acne shouldn’t be seen as a cosmetic /vanity issue but should be encouraged.
Lots of myths around acne – all have been disproved
Acne is due to poor diet, caused by ‘dirty skin’, only teens get acne, squeezing a spot helps a spot clear up faster!
At MySkyn we can provide a medical assessment and all of the above treatments ( except oral retinoids).