Acne is a common skin condition that causes pimples or “zits.” This can include whiteheads and blackheads, cystic pimples, milia and red, inflamed patches of skin.
Hair Follicles commonly known as pores overproduce cells and can get blocked. Sebum (oil) from the glands combine with dead skin cells to block hair follicles when it is trying to drain out of the skin. Under the blocked pore, oil builds up. Skin bacteria can then grow very quickly. This infection makes the skin become swollen and red, which become visible causing pimples.
The 2 most common forms of non inflammatory acne are:
Blackheads – Many people believe that a blackhead is formed when dirt forms in the pore and an effective form of acne treatment is to just simply wash it away but this isn’t true. A blackhead occurs when the pore opens to the surface, and the oil, which contains the skin pigment melanin, oxidizes and turns a brown/black color. Blackheads can last a long time because the contents very slowly drain to the surface
Whiteheads –When the trapped oil and bacteria stay below the surface of the skin, a whitehead is formed. Whiteheads are filled with the same material as blackheads, but as it lacks a small opening to the skin surface and air cannot reach the follicle, the material is not oxidized, and remains white.
The following forms of inflammatory acne are a more painful, serious form which can not only leave scars on the face and body but can affect the sufferers’ social life and self esteem and need a stronger acne treatment than whiteheads/blackheads.
Papule – A papule occurs when there is a break in the follicular wall. White blood cells rush in and the pore becomes inflamed which then after a few days forms a pustule which is when white blood cells make their way to the surface of the skin and create what is commonly known as the pimple!
Nodules and Cysts – The most painful and severe forms of acne. Sometimes a severe inflammatory reaction can result in these very large pus filled lesions which can go up to centimeters in length that feel like soft, fluid-filled lumps under the skin’s surface.
Acne can appear anywhere on the body with the most common areas being the face, chest, back, and upper arms.
But I’m an Adult, surely I can’t get it?
Not true! Even though acne is most common in teenagers during puberty anyone can get acne, even babies. Contrary to popular belief a bad diet is not the main cause of pimples but the following:
Your hormonal activity plays a big part in the formation of acne:
During puberty, an increase in male hormones (both males and females) called androgens cause follicular glands to grow larger and make more sebum therefore enhancing the chances of your pores to block.
Ladies, ever wondered why acne gets better and then get worse when you go through you monthly menstrual cycle? Estrogens, which are the female hormones, actually help improve our acne! But only for a short amount of time until those pesky male hormones kick in! This is why doctors may recommend acne treatment with the contraceptive pill, which contain the helpful estrogens
Use of anabolic steroids that affect male hormones may have a similar effect as taking them leads to growth of the sebaceous glands, which then produce more sebum which combines with the abnormal production of keratin in the skin to cause the formation of acne.
Adult conditions such as pregnancy, polycystic ovary syndrome and even menopause can cause adult acne to form due to abnormal hormones.
Both clinical and genetic research show that people with a family history of severe acne are more likely to get acne. Genetics influences the thickness of skin, oily tendencies of the skin and basic hormone responses.
What Acne Treatment can I do to fix the problem?
There are many steps you can take to reduce acne that can be performed at home or at the Australian Laser & Skin Clinic
Clean your skin gently with a mild, nondrying soap such as:
ASAP Daily Cleanser: A gentle, oil free cleanser that removes make up and impurities without drying or irritating the skin. Contains glycolic acid to loosen and remove dead skin cells leaving skin feeling refreshingly clean and smooth.
Skinstitiut Gentle Cleanser: An extremely gentle and soothing cleansing gel that effectively removes surface impurites and long lasting makeup.
IN THE CLINIC
Microdermabrasion – Deeply exfoliates, polishes, and increases the lymphatic drainage of skin. The gentle vacuum with a diamond coated head will exfoliate the top layer of dead skin and get rid of congestion caused by acne.
Lilt Therapy –Our medical grade LLLT laser is fast becoming a popular treatment for acne as it regenerates the damaged tissues caused by acne cysts and black heads and can help improve the problem in as little as one treatment.
Peels – Assist in shedding dry, damaged skin cells and unclog blackheads and acne. They’ve been known to help minimize acne scarring and stimulate collagen production. Our Chemical Peels can also be used in conjunction with Microdermabrasion for a more intense treatment.