Did you know? – 95% of people aged 11 to 30 will be affected by acne to different extents. For women and girls, it is most common from the ages of 14 to 17, though if you are female, you are also more prone to experiencing adult acne that usually clears up around your mid-20s. For men and boys, it is much more common in the later pubescent years from 16 to 19.
Many of us are all too familiar with how acne on our face, back and chest can affect us both psychologically and emotionally. Dependent on the severity of your acne, your journey to try and tackle it may have been a long and frustrating one down what, at times, may have seemed a pretty confusing road. In this blog we hope to shed a bit of light on the finer aspects of what acne is and how you can most effectively treat it.
1. What is it?
Acne is a skin condition that causes spots, oily skin and skin that can become painful and hot to touch. There are 6 types of spot or blemish that cane can cause:
Of these, nodules and cysts (often referred to as under-the-skin spots) are the worst, can be very painful and are most likely to cause long lasting scarring. If you suffer from moderate to severe acne, where you experience nodules or cystic acne, you should absolutely see a GP and possibly a dermatologist (if necessary) to get help with treating your acne medically, and avoid permanent scarring. If you experience mild acne, it is often helpful to speak to a pharmacist who can advise you about certain medical treatment options.
2. What causes it?
Acne occurs when pores in the skin, the hair follicles, become blocked because the sebaceous glands are producing too much sebum (an oily substance that stops the skin drying out). This mixes with dead skin cells to clog the pores, creating blackheads and whiteheads; this produces an environment where usually harmless bacteria can thrive and cause papules, pustules, nodules or cysts.
There are other factors that can cause or worsen acne, such as:
- Fluctuations in hormones (during puberty or around your menstrual cycle)
- Family History of acne
- Sex (periods, pregnancy and polycystic ovary syndrome in women all can cause acne)
- Some cosmetic products
- Certain medications
- Environment and materials
3. Trikwan’s Top Treatments
If your acne is moderate or severe you should seek help from your GP or a dermatologist. At Trikwan Aesthetics we offer skincare consultations and have a wide range of prescription and non-prescription medical grade skincare products and regimes which we can recommend depending on your individual concerns and skin type. We only recommend the highest quality evidence and research supported products to our patients and we take care to make sure you are fully informed on all the steps in your skincare journey. For concerns with acne we often recommend the Obagi Clenziderm System or products from this range combined with other options, dependent on your individual concerns.
Our top ingredients to watch out for, which can be found in the Obagi Product Ranges, are:
- Benzoyl Peroxide: The Obagi Clenziderm Therapeutic lotion contains a 5% concentration of benzoyl peroxide that works as an antiseptic to directly treat the acne and help prevent further breakouts
- Salicylic Acid: The Clenziderm Daily Foaming Cleanser and Pore Therapy products both contain this key ingredient. Salicylic acid is an exfoliator that helps to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores whilst reducing the raised sebum levels that contribute to initial formation of blocked follicles.
- Topical Retinoid: This may be prescribed or recommended separately or along with the rest of your skincare routine, depending on your needs and the other products you are using. Tretinoin (or another suitable retinoid for acne, e.g. adapalene) also acts as an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, therefore preventing them clogging up hair follicles. It also helps to improve the overall quality of your skin by accelerating healing and repairing and regulating damaged skin cells.
Other treatments may also be recommended by either your GP or our Trikwan Doctors, such as topical or oral antibiotics, the combined contraceptive pill for women, azelaic acid or, should your acne be very severe, you may be referred for more intensive treatments like Roaccutane (a strong retinoid treatment called Isotretinoin).
Ultimately, your acne journey is very personal to you and at Trikwan Aesthetics we realise how emotionally turbulent this process can be; we want you to feel fully informed and empowered to make the best decision for you and your skin’s needs, whatever they might be. Our thorough consultation process allows us to take the time to understand you and your skin to help you make the right decision.