Acne is a common skin problem. It usually starts during puberty when the rise in sex hormone levels causes an increase in the production of oil from the skin’s oil glands. However, many individuals, especially females, continue to suffer from acne into their 30s and 40s. Acne can be a disfiguring condition and acne sufferers frequently experience low self- esteem and depression.
TThe cause of acne is multifactorial. Genetic factors, hormones and bacteria are thought to be important factors in the development of acne. In normal healthy skin, skin cells follow a healthy “cycle” and renew themselves regularly. As new, young skin cells are produced, the older skin cells will mature, die and spontaneously shed off. This process of self- renewal is a natural, physiological process, and is not visible to the naked eye. In people with acne-prone skin, it is understood that their dead skin cells tend to stick together and are unable to shed off properly, causing blockage of pores. The blocked pores then lead to build up of oil (sebum) and overgrowth of bacteria, causing acne.
MMild acne can usually be controlled with simple, over-the-counter topical treatments. They usually contain anti-bacterial or pore-unclogging ingredients. For people who suffer from more severe acne, over-the-counter topical treatments are often not effective. These individuals will benefit from medical treatments which include prescribed topical treatments, and in some cases, prescribed oral medications as well. Whether a patient requires oral medications in addition to topical medications depends on the severity of the acne. The medical treatments available for acne are generally highly effective, safe and well tolerated if used under medical advice/ supervision.
Apart from topical and oral medications, there are adjunctive procedures that can help to clear acne and improve mild acne scarring. At W Skin and Laser Clinic, we offer chemical peels, intense pulsed light, and the Hydrafacial. These treatments are gentle and are associated with little or no downtime. In combination with a good skin care regime, they help to speed up recovery from acne, and maintain clear skin.
For more severe, deep acne scars, resurfacing lasers are helpful. As the name suggests, resurfacing lasers help to “resurface” the skin or improve the skin’s uneven texture. At W skin and laser clinic, we use the Mixto - a fractionated carbon dioxide resurfacing laser system, which is effective for deep acne scars and is associated with a short recovery period of around 5 – 7 days.
In conclusion, acne is a common and highly treatable condition. One should not wait to “out-grow” acne. It is recommended to seek treatment from an experienced doctor who can tailor the treatment according to your skin condition. Treatment should be sought early because acne, if left untreated, can lead to permanent scarring.