THE MYTHS & MAXIMS OF ACNE
A large number of patients that approach the 111SKIN counters are acne sufferers looking for a solution. Physically uncomfortably and emotionally debilitated, they are often struggling with masses of misinformation on the causes and treatments of the issue. Let’s break down the facts, myths and maxims of the skins biggest nuisance.
Acne is a disease that occurs when the skin is clogged with dead cells, oil and bacteria. It is characterised by the increased production and secretion of sebum, which may result in oily skin, blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules and cysts. It primarily effects areas of the skin with a high number of oil glands, such as the face, chest and back.
Acne is estimated to affect over 600 million people worldwide (about 9% of the population), making it the 8th most common disease in the world. While an estimated 80% of adolescent’s experience acne during puberty due to spiked testosterone levels, the occurrence of acne well into adulthood is a growing epidemic.
The causes of acne are diverse - genetics, hormones, diet and allergens are all proven to be significant contributing factors. A genetic predisposition to acne is thought to make up around 80% of sufferers, while hormonal activity, such as puberty or menstruation, can heavily contribute to its formation. An increase in androgens (such as testosterone), which occurs during puberty and pregnancy, stimulates sebum production. Escalated androgen levels can also be increased via diet, particularly one high in processed foods, meat and dairy. This is due to the heavy levels of growth hormones, infection and sugar within the food industry. Environmental aggressors, such as pollution and UV exposure, can weaken the skin’s barrier and worsen pre-existing acne. Essentially, we are all at the mercy of potential acne.
TIPS & TRICKS
- Don’t over cleanse; this will stimulate oil production and increase sebum
- Do cleanse using an oil cleanser. Oil cleansers will remove the unhealthy, bacteria fostering oils without removing any healthy essential oils.
- Don’t exfoliate mechanically; abrasive cleansers such as scrubs can irritate and tear the skin, causing inflammation and blemishes
- Do hydrate, hydrate, hydrate; if this skin is dry, it is more likely to crack and be susceptible to bacteria. Just keep your hydrate a non-emollient, such as a hyaluronic serum or emulsion.
- Blackheads (open comedones) - open pores that are clogged with keratin (dead skin cells) which have been oxidised by air, hence their dark appearance.
- Whiteheads (closed comedones) - closed pores that are clogged with keratin.
- Papules - raised, painful blemishes not on the surface.
- Pustules - raised, inflamed blemishes that contain pus.
- Nodules - hard, painful blemishes that develop deep within the skin
- Cysts - hard, painful blemishes that develop deep within the skin, containing blood & pus
There are several methods of treating acne – topically, orally or with a dermatologist.
Topical treatments for mild acne include benzoyl peroxide (anti-bacterial), azelaic acid (anti-inflammatory), salicylic acid (oil-soluble exfoliation) and retinol (regenerative). These four ingredients are the holy grails of mild to moderate acne treatments, found in almost every over-the-counter product on the market. However, as these products are specific in their target they can comprise the skin in other ways and subsequently produce negative side effects, such as dry skin, thin skin and rosacea.
Under Dr. Yannis’ guidance, 111SKIN has developed a unique 3 Phase Anti Blemish Booster that targets the blemish and acne prone without comprising the skin’s integrity. The 3 Phase Anti Blemish Booster which focuses on all stages of a blemish – before, during and after – is a powerful blend of anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and healing ingredients. Refined avocado oil weakens sebum production, willow bark extract (aka salicylic acid) exfoliates and clarifies deep within the pores while collodial sulphur, a powerful antibacterial agent, reduces redness and inflammation. Combined with hyaluronic acid to intensely hydrate and kojic acid to stimulate collagen production, the 3 Phase Anti Blemish Booster is fully inclusive in its approach for strong, clear skin. Able to be mixed with an emulsion or moisturiser, the booster can also be layered with a serum, facial oil or on its on entirely, treating both the full face or a specific area.
Oral treatments for moderate or severe acne include antibiotics, isotretin and accutane, all of which need to be prescribed by a GP or dermatologist. If your skin is unresponsive or over reactive to topical treatments, please make an appointment at 111 Harley St. to get a full diagnosis and personal prescription.
Additional treatments with a facialist, aesthetician or dermatologist (such as extractions, electrotherapy, light therapy and chemical peels) are also available at the clinic. Our specific acne-targeting treatment, Isolaz, is a three-step photoneumatic treatment that has yielded particularly successful results. While these are heavily effective for moderate to severe acne, it is still recommended to combine a comprehensive skincare routine with in-clinic procedures.