Coping With Acne

What is acne?

Acne has been described as ‘the worst kind of house guest’, showing up uninvited, at the least convenient time, overstaying its welcome, and leaving a mess after it’s gone! It is a very common skin condition that mainly happens in our teen years, but it can also happen in adulthood.

There is so much conflicting information about acne to confuse you out there. But control of acne does not need to be as complex as it may sound. With realistic expectations and a consistent routine, it is likely that you will be able to control symptoms most of the time.

What causes acne?

There is so much conflicting information about acne to confuse you out there. But control of acne does not need to be as complex as it may sound. With realistic expectations and a consistent routine, it is likely that you will be able to control symptoms most of the time.

What are the simple things you can do to help acne at home?

  • Try not to wash the area too often, as frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse. Use mild soaps or cleansers with lukewarm water.
  • Do not try to squeeze spots or pimple pop!. This can make them worse and cause permanent scarring.
  • Use water-based makeup that are described as non-comedogenic. This means the product is less likely to block the pores in your skin. Completely remove make-up before going to bed.
  • Shower as soon as possible once you finish exercising as sweat can irritate your acne.
  • Wash your hair regularly and try to avoid letting your hair fall across your face.
  • Change your bed sheets, clean your phone regularly and avoid touching your face
  • The evidence for diet affecting acne is poor, although a low sugar diet may be helpful

How do you treat acne?

The ultimate goal is to prevent scarring. Acne can be treated by cleaning pores, getting rid of bacteria and reducing inflammation. There are a variety of active anti-acne agents, some are over the counter products and others require a prescription from a doctor.

Which topical Ingredients help?

One of the best treatments for acne is salicylic acid. This can deeply penetrate pores to dissolve oil. It is a powerful exfoliant of the hair follicle keeping pores clear. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. 

Other topical treatments include:

  • Benzoyl peroxide: targets bacteria, removes excess oil, and exfoliates dead skin cells.
  • Antibiotics (like clindamycin) kill bacteria
  • Retinoids (like tretinoin and adapalene) exfoliate and heal skin 
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid (like Glycolic and lactic acid) chemically remove dead skin cells that can clog pores
  • Azelaic acid is anti-inflammatory that deeply penetrates the skin helping to reduce skin congestion.
  • Niacinamide, or vitamin B3 is another anti-inflammatory whichreduces sebum production to reduce clogged pores.

What medication helps?

Oral treatments are usually used for more moderate and severe acne. They usual need a prescription from your doctor.

  • Oral antibiotics include tetracyclines which control surface bacteria and reduce inflammation in the skin.
  • Isotretinoin is reserved for people with severe (nodular or cystic) disease that does not respond to other less aggressive treatments. This shrinks the size of oil glands. This medication is associated with marked side effects and requires rigorous monitoring and follow-up under the care of a dermatologist.
  • Hormone therapy (like the oral contraceptive pill) may be helpful for some women with acne to reduce sebum production. Spironolactone, a medication traditionally used for blood pressure control, also has hormonal properties and is sometimes used.

What treatments are there for acne at The Academy Clinic?

Treatments at The Academy Clinic are helpful in accelerating the results of acne management and help keep it at bay. They are also useful in helping treat pigmentation and scarring. These include chemical peels and microneedling.

So it's good news!

Most people face acne at some time, so you are certainly not alone. While there is no instantaneous solution, with a regular special routine and patience, acne can be controlled most of the time. A skin consultation is your best bet to make a bespoke home and in clinic plan so that you can walk with skin confidence!