All About Acne

Acne can be one of the most complicated and debilitating skin conditions, which can affect individuals of all ages and genders. If you are dealing with acne, or have in the past, you would understand just how tricky it can be to find out what is causing your breakouts and a solution to keep your skin clear. 

In this blog, we are going to discuss types of acne, some of the most common (and overlooked) causes, tips for keeping your skin clear, clinical treatment options and topical products. 

 

Types

Firstly, it’s important to know there is a big difference between the occasional pimple and acne. The type, regularity and severity of breakouts will play a role in your treatment.

  • Blackheads (open clogged pores)
  • Whiteheads (closed clogged pores)
  • Papules (small red, tender bumps)
  • Pimples/pustules (papules with pus at their tips)
  • Nodules (large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface)
  • Cystic lesions (painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin)

 

Causes

When it comes to causes, there are 3 main areas: hormones and internal triggers, lifestyle triggers and topical triggers. 

 

Hormonal/Internal

Hormones

Our androgens hormones increase during puberty, causing sebaceous glands to enlarge and create more sebum. Hormonal fluctuations can also lead to inflammation, congestion and bacteria growth. While this is more common during puberty, hormonal changes can occur at various stages of life, including during pregnancy and menopause. Hormonal conditions such as PCOS and Endometriosis can also lead to acne. 

Contraceptive pill (and other hormone medication)

While the pill can be prescribed to treat acne, it can mask the problem. The pill feeds your body synthetic hormones and stops its natural hormonal function as well as reduces sebum production. Once you stop taking it, your body will try to regulate hormones and dispel synthetic hormones, which can result in increased sebum and inflammation.

Excess oil production

Oil is key to healthy skin! But excess oil causes a change to the viscosity of the oil produced, clogging pores, enlarging their size and trapping dead skin cells.

 

Lifestyle

Hydration

Both internal and external hydration plays a role in skin functioning. Our skin has a natural enzyme process that helps to remove dead skin cells. This is often referred to as transepidermal water loss, resulting in congestion, inflammation and bacteria growth.

Diet

Food groups such as refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats can cause an increase in blood sugar levels. When this occurs, your insulin production increases to process the sugar.  This increases androgens activity, causing a rise in sebum production and acne-causing bacteria. The same response can occur from a number of triggers, including food intolerances and allergies.

Stress/Sleep

When we are stressed, our body produces more cortisol. This hormone activates our sympathetic nervous system, slowing our wound healing response, increasing inflammation and changing the viscosity of sebum

Hygiene

Bacteria is a big cause of acne. Pillowcases, sheets, towels, hats, glasses and any other items that come into contact with your face need to be kept clean and changed regularly. 

 

Topical

Insufficient oxygen/exfoliation

P.acne is the bacteria that causes acne. It cannot thrive when oxygen is around. When it is trapped in a clogged pore with no air, inflammation will occur, leading to breakouts. This is why regular gentle exfoliation is beneficial for the skin, as it removes dead skin cells, oxygenates the pores and killing the bacteria (just make sure you don’t over-exfoliate!). 

Incorrect skincare

Choosing the right skincare is essential! For example, if you are trying to remove excess oil by using a daily facial scrub, harsh toner and skipping moisturiser, your skin will try to compensate by producing even more oil. Cosmeceutical products are always recommended over cosmetic, as they are able to initiate change at a cellular level and improve the health and functioning of your skin. 

Makeup (and makeup tools)

A lot of makeup contains comedogenic ingredients, which clog the pores. While you may want to cover up those pimples, choose a product that will also allow your skin to breathe. Makeup that is free of fragrance, alcohol, talc, silicones and parabens will make a big difference to skin health! Regularly washing your makeup brushes is also key, as bacteria and oil can be trapped in the bristles.

 

Tips

  1. Don’t squeeze or pick! This can exacerbate inflammation as well as trap dirt, oil and bacteria in your pores, leading to more breakouts
  2. Eat a varied diet with lots of fresh produce, protein, healthy fats and limited processed foods
  3. Limit (or find ways to manage) stress and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  4. Nourish your skin and look after it’s barrier (don’t over-exfoliate, strip good oils or exacerbate inflammation)
  5. Book a free consultation with us! As you can see, there are basically endless causes of acne. If you’re wanting to diagnose the cause and find a treatment, speaking to a skin expert is the fastest pathway to clear skin!

 

Treatments

LED Light Therapy

LED Light Therapy uses light to penetrate the skin at a cellular level. There are three different types including near-infrared, red, and blue light. Blue light has been shown to kill the bacteria that cause breakouts, whereas red light has been shown to reduce inflammation, pimples and redness associated with acne. A series of treatments combining the two can be a great option for those dealing with acne.

Facials

Microdermabrasion is a gentle, exfoliating treatment that addresses issues including blemishes, acne, congestion and pigmentation. Chemical Peels are also great as they use acids to breakdown dead skin cells to reveal a smoother complexion. Ingredients such as salicylic acid help to reduce excess oil, clear pores and fight acne. As Peels encourage cell turnover, they can also help reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the scarring left from acne). 

Skin Needling

For those dealing with uneven skin tone, texture and scarring, Skin Needling is a must-try. This process uses micro-needles to penetrate the skin, speeding up the skin’s healing response and encouraging cell turnover. It can even be beneficial for pitted scarring left from deep, cystic acne. 

IPL

IPL uses light to create controlled wounds that encourage cell turnover. This treatment can effectively treat acne and breakouts, destroying bacteria and calming inflammation. It also helps to improve skin tone and texture, helping with scarring. 

 

Real client results

Start your journey with the acne experts at Laser Skin Specialists! Book your FREE consultation today.

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