Are spots spoiling your social life?
Acne is possibly the commonest skin problem in the world. Caused by a hormonal imbalance, the skins sebum (oil) becomes thicker and stickier. This results in old, dead skin cells being stuck over the opening of hair follicles (pores). P acne bacteria, which is harmless, becomes trapped in the hair follicle. P acne bacteria reproduces in anerobic conditions (where there is no oxygen). As a result, inflammation, and/or pus is produced. Skin lesions then appear, ranging from small red lumps, pus filled spots, to large nodular lesions – some as big as 2cm across.
What can I do?
Over-washing, scratching, picking and rubbing the skin, all lead to excess production of sebum, exacerbating the condition. Never wash the skin more than twice a day. Avoid touching or rubbing the skin unnecessarily. This is difficult, as oily skin is often very itchy, especially in warm conditions. To remove excess oil, take a paper tissue, press tissue on skin, and peel off. Do not rub the skin – just press gently against the skin. This will remove all excess oil and prevent that annoying itchy feeling.
Remember, acne is a problem within the skin – not on it. Applying harsh astringents like witch hazel etc, will result in dry flaking skin, that is still oily. TCP, T Tree, Dettol etc applied neat to the skin will burn it, cause flaking, and the skin will still be oily. Greasy antibacterial creams will block the pores, resulting in more spots. Remember – acne is not caused by bacteria ON the skin, but trapped IN it.
Always use a factor 50 sun block, while outside. Unique stocks Heliocare gel, which is oil free, allowing make-up to be applied over it, if required. Red marks on the skin, from inflammation, will burn faster than the surrounding skin. Darker marks on the skin will absorb the suns rays, before the surrounding whiter skin feels sun burnt. This may result in any previously red marks, turning to a brown colour, and may be permanent. In most cases, this can easily be prevented, by applying sun block.
Can Acne be Cured?
No, is the definitive answer to that. Acne can only be ‘managed’, which can prevent further skin problems occurring, like scars. As it is a hormonal condition, it has to run its course. That could be for a couple of years as a teenager, or start in teens or adulthood, and be a problem your whole life.
This condition can be improved or completely eradicated, by permanently removing the hair from the area. Poor shaving techniques, particularly on very coarse hair, can result in folliculitis. In climbers, the constant minor pulling of the hair shaft under the ruck sack, results in inflammation, and often pustules. This condition will generally clear by removing the hair.
Most breakouts of acne can be treated by products alone. For more serious outbreaks, scars, red, purple or brown marks on the skin, medical peels are available. Laser treatment can be used where other options have failed, but is rarely necessary.
Products start at £30 for one product. Most clients need only 2 products, to quickly bring their acne under control, some may need 3. Two products cost approx. £60, and 3, £100 maximum. The products will generally last 3-4 months for facial use, and up to 2 months on larger areas.
Medical peels are £55 per treatment, and 1 – 4 are required to obtain a successful result. Products to prepare the skin for a peel need to be used 2 weeks prior to treatment, and cost £30 – £60 maximum.
If products and peels are not having the desired effect, Laser can be employed to calm the inflammation down. Four to six treatments will be required, at £100 per session.