Acne is a disease of the hair follicle and its sebaceous glands. The excessive secretions of these glands, together with the dead cells of the skin, clog the hair follicle channel. The pore clogging supports the bacteria growing and the infection with pus, which implies an unaesthetic spot. As a result, skin swells and the injury often leaves a scar.
The areas more likely to develop acne are: face, back, shoulders, arms and chest.
The cause of acne is multifactorial. There are many factors such as hormonal, inherited or genetic, environmental, working environments, medication intake, dietary, or even because of the blockage of hats, helmets and mobiles.
There is also the cosmetic acne, which affects more women and it is due to the use of creams o make-ups made of fatty excipient.
Stress is another factor that can cause an increase of acne breakouts due to the hormonal changes. Stress may also stimulate oneself to touch the existing injuries, and lead to a secondary infection.
Acne may affect all ages, from birth to middle-age, even above 40 years old. In any case, the most frequent age to appear is adolescence, between 12 and 16 years old. This is due to hormonal changes in both sexes, so men and women are equally affected. The increase of sexual hormones causes an increase of secretion of fat (sebaceous glands) and a thickening of epidermal cells of the skin. Later, sebaceous glands widen and get clogged, leading to pimples or blackheads. Finally, the accumulation of keratin debris and fat in the excretory ducts of the sebaceous glands causes a bacterial super infection due to the Propionibacterium acnes, which causes the pimple.
In case of adolescents, acne has a great impact on young people, besides being annoying and causing pain. It also shames them aesthetically and makes them feel insecure; even causing social withdrawal. Therefore, it is important to treat acne early in order to avoid scarring, which is much more difficult to treat.
Late-onset acne cases are increasing, but in any case, it is always necessary a personalized medical treatment according to severity, acne type and patient age; together with a supportive therapy that includes cosmetic care. The treatment, besides curing the disease, prevents scarring and psychological sequelae.
The acne treatment must be always individualized and carried out by a specialist. It can include the following modalities:
- Topical, medical, aesthetic and cosmetic treatment
- Medical treatment (systemic)
- Surgical - manual treatment
It is very important for patients with acne or seborrheic (oily) skin to use suitable creams, without fatty excipient, not comedogenic, preferably very fluid in gel or cream excipients, or water excipient in silicone. They also should have acne-fighting active ingredients (keratolytic agents, regulators of the epidermal replacement, antibiotic, secretion of fat regulators, anti-inflammatory agents). Make ups should be always oil-free. The suitable aesthetic treatments for this type of skin also help to keep it clean and avoid clogged pores.
Together with the specific hygienic- cosmetic rules and always under strict dermatological control, antibiotic administration may be necessary in some types of acne; and in other cases, a hormonal treatment for women that show a hormonal disorder. In more acute acne with nodular and cystic lesions, an oral treatment with retinoids, such as isotretinoin may be indicated, but it needs medical supervision to watch possible side effects.
There are new treatments for acne that combine specific chemical or mechanical peelings (microdermoabrasion) with the low-level light therapy. Peelings renew the skin layers and remove progressively the follicular epithelial cells, reducing the diameter of the sebaceous glands. They also include bacteriostatic agents that help removing the Propionibacterium acnes. On the other hand, light therapy with diodes of red and blue light is very useful. The red light is anti-inflammatory, reduces the anaesthetic red lesions, and also stimulates the synthesis of collagen to avoid scarring. The blue light has a direct bacteriostatic action on the bacteria that gets involved in acne.
In some cases, it is necessary that a dermatologist manipulate lesions surgically so as to empty blackheads.
People who have suffered from acne may suffer from it again several years after treatment; therefore it is important to take daily care to avoid new breakouts.
At Clínica Planas we perform a personalized study of the dietary habits, adding supplements of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, if necessary. In the end, we should look for the cause in every case and carry out a treatment in which the acne causing-factors are regulated progressively.
- Removal of bacteria causing acne.
- Prevention of acne sequelae.
- Avoid marks and scars.
- Benefit the skin health.
- Improve self-esteem and problems of social interaction.
Before carrying out any treatment, a thorough cleaning of the area to be treated, will be carried out.
In any kind of acne treatment is necessary a good skin cleansing with specific soap for acne-prone skins and water. It is essential not to touch the lesions to avoid the increase of acne inflammation and scarring.