Acne is probably the most stressful of all skin conditions. It can leave those with it confused and frustrated with the mixed information out there, the variety of treatments both medical and clinical and the array of products that can be used. Here is a little bit of information on the different types of acne and how it can develop:
Acne is a condition where you have build up of dead skin and oil that gets plugged in the hair follicle. These are the different types of acne lesions:
- Blackheads - A plugged hair follicle that is open and the dirt on top is tinted by the oxidation of melanin (appearing dark) rather than it being the presence of dirt.
- Whiteheads - A closed plugged hair follicle that appears as a small white bump under the skin.
- Papule - Also known as a blind pimple. These can be small, painful, red lumps that appear under the skin, if squeezed they won't budge.
- Pustule - This is a papule with a pus filled head on it.
- Nodule - A large, firm, painful lump under the skin.
- Cyst - Large painful pus filled lump that is under the skin.
How it develops:
To start off with, the skin cell turnover is roughly a 28 day cycle.This is where our skin cells start their life at the bottom of the epidermis and gradually move upwards to become dead cells on the surface, ready to be sloughed away. When someone has acne the cell turnover can be sped up and therefore you get more of a build up of dead skin on the surface which, in turn, can stay in the follicle. Sebum is vital for keeping the skin healthy however the quality of the oil you produce and the overproduction of oil can lead to further blockages in the skin.
The oil and dead cells can create a sticky like substance that bind to each other in the pore and while the process is repeating an acne lesion is born. The melanin in the skin cells will oxidise and darken creating a blackhead, whereas a whitehead will have a layer of skin grow over the top becoming a closed lesion. Here is where the inflammation starts, as oil is still producing, the pore starts to enlarge generating inflammation which can then become a papule or blind pimple. C. Acnes bacteria (used to be known as P. Acnes) exists in all skin but is more active in some than others and C. Acnes bacteria loves oil! It will infect the oil in the now inflamed pore, encouraging a pussy head or Pustule. Alternatively the C. Acnes bacteria infects the oil and this leads to more inflammation in the deeper layers of the skin, also known as a nodule and potentially becoming a cyst.
A good point to remember is that not all acne appears as skin that is slick with excess oil, some are severely dehydrated with a build up of cuticle.
Other factors that can impact acne are:
- Genetics - Yep, unfortunately your genes can be part of the reason and can determine the severity. Although different family members will have different experiences with their skin so don’t let this map out your skins future.
- Stress - When stressed the body can release a hormone called Cortisol, this raises the inflammation in our bodies and surpresses our immune responses, not allowing us to fight off the C. Acnes bacteria.
- Hormones - The fluctuation of hormones at various stages of life can contribute to faster cell turnover and the overproduction of oil. Although acne is most commonly talked about in teenage skin, it is also very present between the ages of 20 - 40 years, however this is predominantly in women.
- Environment - This could be a change in season, humidity and air quality can really affect how your skin behaves. Also certain ingredients in skincare or makeup can contribute to a breeding ground for acne.
- Gut health and Diet - there is a direct link between high sugars and oily skin. This is because when eating sugary foods you will find more insulin in your blood and this can cause the skin to over produce oil. Gut health is really important as the bad bacteria that can be found in your gut can have a direct impact on your skin. That being said, we are all about balance and a balanced diet and lifestyle is what you should strive for.
There are many options available to those with acne and it is important to remember that it is not a quick fix but a skin journey. Whether you decide to go with in clinic treatment or medical intervention we would generally recommend combining either with a good at home skin care regime chosen for the individual.
- Oxygen infusion - In this very gentle hydrating treatment, we are infusing a serum into the skin using hyperbaric oxygen. The hyperbaric oxygen not only infuses the serum, but also cools and calms inflammation in the skin and is fantastic after a peel or microdermabrasion because of this! There are 3 serums to choose from, Rejuvenate to nurture skin barrier and repair, Clarity both hydrates and infuses a small amount of Salicylic Acid to treat and calm acne, Opulence to reduce Post Inflammatory Pigmentation.
- LED - Depending on which Light or combination of lights, LED can target skin repair, barrier function and can even fight C Acne Bacteria! LED is a wonderful modality that almost anyone can have, either alone or in conjunction with any other treatment to increase skin function and even decrease down time in some treatments.
- Carbon Facial - A Carbon serum is applied all over the face and as the laser passes over the skin, it is attracted to the carbon and any skin cells that are attached to the serum. This gives the skin a beautiful, gentle exfoliation that can help with any build up on the surface of the skin, contributing to black heads and whiteheads, it can also help improve the appearance of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, without the downtime of traditional peels. Often called the “Hollywood Facial” as it is frequently used before red carpet events give the skin a smooth, plump appearance!
- Customised Peels - Can target a number of facets around acne, and can be completely tailored to your skin each time, depending on your concerns, skin strength and history of corrective treatments! AHA Peels like Brightening, Lactic and Mandelic all break down sticky bonds between dead cells to help them lift away, while Azyme causes the skin to shed by accelerating cell turnover. Each peel formula has its own unique properties that are tailored to you and your skin each time! There is 1-7 days of downtime where you may experience mild discomfort, redness and/or dryness/flaking. It is best to plan your Customised peel for a time when you will be able to avoid sun exposure the week after as your skin will be more sensitive to the sun.
- Skin Needling - While not suitable to treat active acne, Skin needling targets the signs of post acne, including acne scarring. It achieves this by stimulating a wound healing response in the skin, that increases the production of collagen in the skin, plumping out the uneven texture within the scar and smoothing the overall texture of skin. As skin needling also strengthens and firms up the tissue in the skin it can also minimize the appearance of post inflammatory pigmentation! For your perfect Skin Needling Journey we recommend at least 4 treatments 4-6 weeks apart to progressively target the condition of the skin.
- Microdermabrasion - Mechanically buffs and polishes the surface of the skin to stimulate cell turnover to improve the condition of black heads and whiteheads. It also increases circulation in the skin, which can push under the skin congestion up to the surface to clear deep seated impurities. While Microdermabrasion isn’t suited to all forms of active acne, it is a great option for an exfoliating treatment with little to no downtime.
- DMK Enzyme Therapy - Is a completely customised skin journey. Each treatment and treatment plan is completely tailored to your specific skin and treatment outcomes. One-two treatment spaced within a fortnight between will improve skin health and strength by increasing blood flow to the skin, to increase free water levels within the skin. This will help to lift deep seated congestion to the surface to be treated an managed. For treating and managing acne, we strongly recommend a course of treatments to not only bring the congestion to the surface, but treat, clear, manage and maintain the condition of the skin!