Dr Mervyn Patterson gives us the definitive guide for treating acne.
Acne results from a build-up of sebum and dead skin cells in the entrance to the skin pore. The skin starts to mount an inflammatory reaction to the area which leads to a pimple forming which can then develop into a full blown spot.
Those with oily skin types are much more prone to acne as they tend to have more sebum and therefore pore blockage. Hormonal imbalances with a slight excess of testosterone is a common factor in teenage acne.
Makeup can be a particular problem for some as the use of heavy foundation although effective at covering the blemishes, may lead to an overall worsening of the problem. Switching makeup to a mineral makeup line is sensible as the lighter coverage from the minerals avoids clogging pores and therefore doesn't aggravate the condition.
To tackle the problem, develop a good cleansing routine, using for example Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser which contains salicylic acid.
This has a deep pore cleansing effect whilst at the same time reducing inflammation without drying the skin.
However, if the issue cannot be cured at home, Dr Mervyn does not recommend going to the GP as a first port of call. Sometimes people turn to their GPs for help but often courses of antibiotics are prescribed and lots of evidence now shows that they are losing their effect in acne.
Doctors can prescribe topical creams containing various combinations of antibiotics and antibacterials. Retinoids have their use but can be irritating and difficult to tolerate. Ultimately one can get a referral to a dermatologist for Roacutane (Isotretinoin) which although very successful in treating acne, the list of potential side effects can be off-putting.
Microdermabrasion and light peels are beneficial as they loosen material that is blocking the pores and help treat the underlying cause.
DermaFrac is a new treatment option that combines microdermabrasion, gentle microneedling under vacuum, infusion of salicylic and lactic acids and LED light therapy.
One can see very dramatic responses to acne with the DermaFrac as one is removing all pore blockages, delivering salicylic to combat infection and inflammation and the LED component provides blue light therapy to treat the bacteria contributing to the acne.
Those suffering with acne scarring should try lasers-
IPL and lasers can have some benefit for people suffering from acne particularly if the acne has left red marks and scars.
Deeper scars can respond to microneedling and fractional lasering but clearly it is better to treat the condition early so as to prevent the skin becoming scarred in the first place.