Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Acne: The Different Types, Causes and Treatments

“For real though, acne sucks. Pop singer, Lorde recently took to Instagram to unleash her anger at unsolicited skincare advice on how best to treat her acne. With one user even asking "Do you wash your face?" It's often these types of uninformed comments that lead to embarrassment and bullying for acne sufferers.

I have had patients try home remedies such as coconut oil, honey and yogurt before they come to see me. Often seeking professional advice is used as a last resort. This could be due to fear of the unknown, financial implications and in some cases just not having access to treatment. I've written this blog to give acne sufferers more information on the different types of acne, the causes and how Face the Future can help treat this skin condition. Acne is a common skin condition that affects about 80% of people aged 11-30. It is mistakenly thought of as a teenage skin condition that only affects people around the time of puberty. Although acne often develops at puberty, it can onset at any time. In fact we have seen a substantial increase in adult acne cases at our clinic over the last decade. This could be due to changing lifestyle factors, modern medication and even ingredients in the foods we eat.Acne can present itself in different ways and is graded on a scale of 1-4 depending on the severity and type of spots that it displays.Grade 1 - Mild acne. Primarily consists of black heads, white heads and an oily t-zone. No inflammation or redness present.Grade 2 - Moderate acne. Blackheads and whiteheads appear in a larger number and spread to the cheeks and chin. Small amount of inflammation may be present.Grade 3 - Severe acne. This often develops from untreated Grade 2 acne and presents itself as blackheads, whiteheads and larger pimples. Excess oil causes a breeding ground for P acne bacteria to form and multiply. This results in inflammation, redness and pustules.Grade 4 - Very severe acne. This is the most serious form of acne and if left untreated, can cause scarring. It may begin on the face and spread to the back and chest. The medical term is cystic acne, due to the numerous papules, pustules and large cysts that can form. There is often a lot of inflammation in the skin and it can be painful and sore for the patient.The cause of acne is due to a number of factors. Whilst diet, lifestyle, medication and cosmetics all play their role, the main factor is hormonal stress. When I treat acne, I look at the patient as a whole and address all the factors that could be contributing to the condition.DietAlthough poor diet alone wont cause acne, it certainly won't help treat the condition. High sugar levels and too many trans fats can lead to spikes in cortisol levels which encourage the production of excess oil and inflammation within the skin.LifestyleSometimes stress is unavoidable and a certain amount of stress can actually be good for you. However, particularly high levels of stress can become unmanageable and lead to hormone imbalances and surges in cortisol, which results in the same issue as above.MedicationSome doctors recommend the use of antibiotics for the control of acne. Doxycycline, Lymecycline, Erythromycin and Roaccutane are all commonly prescribed to help control the bacteria. They work by drying up the sebaceous glands and reducing the oil flow to the skin.Other medications including hormone contraceptives such as the pill can also help to control hormonal acne. This is due to the artificial hormones that certain pills contain. However some hormone contraceptives are know for aggravating breakouts. If my patient is currently using some form of hormonal birth control I always take this into account and in some cases recommend they speak to their GP about changing prescription or looking for possible alternatives.GeneticsAnother important point to make is that in certain cases, acne can be genetic. We know that there is a genetic link for many common skin conditions and unfortunately acne is one of them. That's not to say if one or both of your parents suffered, that you will as well, however it is always a question I ask my acne patients when seeing them for the first time. This can give us a better idea on how to treat the condition and how well it may or may not respond.TreatmentTreatment is tailored to the individual, dependent on the severity of the condition and what we are trying to achieve. However most patients will require a series of home care prescriptives to use topically at home. Alongside this they will require clinic treatments over a series of months to improve the condition of the skin, control the acne and minimise scarring.At Face the Future, we offer many different acne treatment options. This allows us to put together bespoke treatment plans, completely tailored to each individual. We offer free consultations at our CQC registered clinic in Wakefield, Leeds where our patients receive genuine and impartial advice. We also offer a 'cooling off' period, which allows patients to go home and think about the recommended treatments before they decide to go ahead.Read about our real patient Laura and her experience treating acne with treatments, advice and products from Face the Future. Read the blog here.For more information on acne treatments and to book your free consultation, call 0113 282 3300 or book online.Written for you by: Emily, Face the FutureImage source: freepik.com

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