Acne & Acne Scarring
About 80% of teenagers are affected by acne between the ages of 13 and 17. However, about five percent of women and one percent of men aged 25 to 40 continue to get or develop acne (late-on-set acne). The processes that cause acne are exactly the same in people with all skin colours, but the impact of acne can be worse if you have darker skin.
Topical application of the obagi skin care system can help with the symptoms of acne and works particularly well when there is also a problem with pigmentation known as Post Inflammatory Hyper Pigmentation (PIH).
Symptoms of Acne
Acne typically causes one or more of the following:
- Greasy skin;
- Blackheads (open comedones);
- Whiteheads (closed comedones);
- Red or yellow spots (pustules);
- Deep inflamed lesions (nodules and cysts);
Complications of Acne
There are a number of things that can make your acne worse. These include the following.
- If you pick and squeeze the spots, it may cause further inflammation and scarring;
- Excessive production of male hormones may cause acne. For example, testosterone from conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome;
- Some contraceptive pills may make acne worse. This is due to the type of progesterone hormone in some pills. However, some other types of contraceptive pills can improve acne;
- Some cosmetic products such as moisturisers can make acne worse if they are greasy;
- Some medicines can make acne worse. These include some epilepsy medicines and steroid creams and ointments that are used for eczema. Do not stop a prescribed medicine if you suspect it is making your acne worse, but tell your GP. He or she may be able to recommend an alternative medicine;
- Steroids can cause acne as a side-effect.
Causes of Acne
Acne is caused by over activity of the sebaceous glands that secrete oily substances on to your skin.
The surface of your skin has lots of small sebaceous glands just below the surface. These glands make sebum (a natural oil) that keeps the skin smooth and supple.
Tiny pores (holes in the skin) allow the sebum to come to the surface of your skin. Hairs also grow through these pores.
The sebaceous glands of people with acne are especially sensitive to normal blood levels of a hormone called testosterone, found naturally in both men and women.
If you are prone to acne, testosterone triggers the sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum. At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the openings of the hair follicles (the tubes that hold the hair) are not shed properly and clog up the follicles.
The combination of these two effects causes a build-up of oil in your hair follicles. This causes blackheads and whiteheads to form.
For some people, their acne does not progress beyond this stage.
However, in other people the build-up of oil in the hair follicles creates an ideal environment for a bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes to grow.
These bacteria usually live harmlessly on your skin, but when the conditions are right, they grow. They feed off the sebum and produce substances that cause an immune response. This inflames the skin and creates the redness associated with spots.
In more severe inflammatory acne, cysts develop beneath the skin's surface. If these cysts rupture, the infection can spread. This can result in acne scarring.
Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by diet or hygiene. However, acne can be hereditary.
Acne is not infectious, so you cannot catch it.
Removal of Scars
Scars caused by acne can be helped with a number of procedures and which treatment is more suitable is determined by what type of scarring is present. Some scars respond well to chemical peels or laser resurfacing whilst other scars can be lifted using a dermal filler.
Chemical peeling is an extremely valuable technique to achieve optimum skin health and correct many skin problems.
Dermal fillers in simple terms is a product that is injected just under the skin to fill lines, folds and wrinkles that appear on the face with age and with repeated facial movement.
Obagi Medical Skin Care
With prescription only topical medication and anti oxidants in combination with diet and lifestyle advise a beautiful flawless skin can be achieved.