The scourge of acne can blight the life of a teenager and in some cases continue on into adulthood. No matter how reassuring people are (“It’s just part of growing up”; “It will pass”; “Beauty isn’t skin deep”), acne afflicts young people when they are least able to cope emotionally with its problems. The good news – and the confusing news – is that there are many options for treatment.
There are several over-the-counter options available for treating acne, but most of them give only temporary, if any, relief. The first thing you need to learn about acne is that the condition, like the treatment, can be different for everyone. Just as there are many types and causes of acne, so there are many cosmetic medicine treatments; what works for one person might make no difference for the next.
Acne Vulgaris: the Skin Disease
At puberty, oil-producing glands at the base of hair follicles in the skin begin to produce oil. They are actually stimulated to do this by the adrenal glands, as they start to produce male hormones (in females as well as males). The oil, and the dead skin cells that mix with it, can block the pores of the skin; it then continues to build up under the skin, producing an infected ‘plug’.
Some bacteria can be good for the skin, but much of it causes various types of acne: whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.
You Are Not Alone
Roughly 75% of people will have acne sometime between the ages of 11 and 30. Even the experts are not completely certain of the cause, although they attribute it to the increase in various hormones. Some people are more genetically predisposed to acne, and others may increase their chances of acne from the lifestyle choices they make. ‘Lifestyle acne’ is the easiest to treat.
An acne sufferer should follow basic healthy diet principles: drink sufficient water, eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, and avoid over-indulgence in ‘junk’ food. Just as important is basic skin care; take particular care with cleanliness (but don’t over-scrub the skin), keep very clean, avoid over-exposure to the sun and don’t try to squeeze pimples – you may simply push the infection deeper into your skin.
You may find that hot, humid weather, anxiety, pre-menstrual times for women or oil-based creams and make-up might exacerbate the problem. You will be the best judge of these situations, and they are matters you can discuss with your medical practitioner.
The good news is that there are a number of medical-grade skin treatments that have proved to be successful in reducing the symptoms and severity of acne. Look for a clinic that offers a whole approach to acne treatment with a registered nurse who has cosmetic medicine qualifications and experience.
Treating the Whole Problem of Acne
Whole acne treatment involves getting to the source of the problem as well as treating the surface of your skin. This begins with checking the hormones that may have caused the problem in the first place. If they’re out of balance, all other treatments are just trying to control the symptoms. Hormonal balancing should always be done naturally, with a minimum of biologically identical hormones, to ensure your body is in balance. At the same time, a careful practitioner might also recommend some appropriate nutraceuticals to ensure you are absorbing the full range of vitamins, minerals and amino acids for optimal health.
A topical prescription cream will help deal with the existing outbreak, and provide an environment where new outbreaks are less likely to occur.
Two types of light therapy have proved particularly useful in helping to reduce acne. They are Medicated Acne Photodynamic therapy treatment and Angelite II and Crystalite Blue Light facials.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is one of the most recent advances in skin therapy, treating both acne and pre-cancerous skin lesions. It works using a medicated cream, which acts as a photosensitising agent activated by a blue light. The results after 3 to 6 treatments 2 to 4 months apart are significant and long-lasting.
Because acne is such a complex condition, experienced practitioners usually recommend that PDT be used in combination with Angelite II and Crystalite Blue light facials. This sophisticated machine delivers special light that contains no harmful ultra-violet radiation. The light helps to increase blood flow and oxygen to the skin, which in turn helps to remove toxic substances and enhances cell growth.
This combination ‘whole’ approach to acne treatment offers a great opportunity to achieve lasting improvement when administered by a qualified and experienced practitioner. Please call 07 33915710 to find out more about a whole approach to acne treatment.