Acne typically begins during adolescence, when hormonal changes cause the enlargement and obstruction of sebaceous glands in the skin. These glands can rupture into the surrounding dermal tissue causing inflammation, which is made worse by the build-up of bacteria. This then causes the typical painful, pustular inflamed lesions that can appear on the face (predominantly), chest, back, limbs and virtually any part of the body.
Although most people eventually outgrow their acne in their late teens and twenties, for some it can continue to be a problem into middle age.
Acne can often be of such a severity as to cause physical and emotional pain, and in vulnerable individuals, severe social disadvantage.
Acne treatments have three basic aims:
- Resolve and prevent the underlying cause of acne which is the formation of tiny keratin plugs which block up the oil-secreting sebaceous glands. Dead surface skin cells in the neck of the glands mix with the oily secretions, causing obstruction of the glands, resulting in blackheads, small cysts and pustular pimples.
- Resolve and prevent the unsightly inflamed and potentially disfiguring pustular and cystic lesions. Pustules arise when the obstructed sebaceous glands rupture into the surrounding tissues, with resultant inflammation and pus formation.
- Repair the damage and scarring resulting from acne, following successful treatment or resolution of the active phase.
Skin Doctor SA recognizes there is no one product or treatment which will always ‘fix’ acne. Those with mild acne can be treated with topical agents (gels, creams and lotions). Those with moderately severe acne usually requires a topical agents, but with the addition of an oral medication, usually for six months or more (antibiotics, anti-androgen hormonal agents for females, non-steroid anti-inflammatories). Those with resistant or severe acne may require oral isotretinoin which can have side-effects.
Advice on oral medications can be discussed with your General Practitioner.
Light-based Therapies for Active Acne
In recent years, a range of light-based therapies have proven effective in arresting or lessening the severity of acne outbreaks. Skin Doctor SA clinicians are abreast of developments in this area and Skin Doctor SA has purchased a range of state-of the art treatments systems to offer a comprehensive service. Light-based treatments available include:
- Dual Yellow Laser
- Chromolite IPL
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Blue Light Therapy
Scarring after acne can take several forms:
- Small “pits” or “ice pick” scars
- Larger “hollows”
- Hypertrophic or keloid scars
- Areas of large pores
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Acne scarring can be improved to varying extents by a range of possible treatments.