The belief that almost everyone gets acne, so acne is much the same for everyone is not accurate. As common as the condition is, treating people on an individual basis is a key ingredient of success.
Any group of teenagers are likely to show signs of acne, although each will have different symptoms and reactions. Specialist care can match their personal needs to effective treatment planning.
Creams or gels can be sufficient for mild, or moderate acne. Active agents include benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics (erythromycin, tetracycline and clindamycin), retinoids (such as tretinoin, Isotretinoin, or adapalene), azelaic acid, or nicotinamide.
This allows for treatment at home, rather than clinic visits. The medication should be applied to the entire area of the skin affected by acne, usually every night, or twice daily.
A course of oral antibiotics, perhaps erythromycin or tetracycline, can be effective in reducing acne. In a good percentage of cases, they will be prescribed in conjunction with a suitable topical treatment.
The antibiotics need to be taken for a minimum of two months, although 6 months is quite common. To prevent antibiotic resistance developing, the choice of antibiotics will be rotated over time.
Skin Surface Treatment
Chemical peels are particularly effective in reducing comedones from acne and improving the quality and texture of your skin. We apply a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the top layers of skin to separate and peel off.
Removing a superficial layer leaves your skin smoother, with less comedones and fewer new acne lesions. The approach also stimulates deeper, collagen producing cells, forming a new, healthy layer, which helps to minimise scarring.
A technique called microdermabrasion may be part of treatment. A procedure which uses fine crystals, to remove dead skin cells from your face.
Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL)
This type of laser is so named because a liquid dye is used as the lasing media. The laser light is delivered in bursts that only last a fraction of a second, yet they are effective in removing blemishes from your skin.
This helps with acne and scarring by killing bacteria which cause the condition, stimulating new collagen growth and causing controlled damage to sebaceous glands. A good route to reducing the oil (sebum) they produce.
PDL treatment may require several monthly visits, either used alone, or in combination with chemical peels to reduce outward signs of acne.
Certain types of oral contraceptive pills can help women with acne, as a side effect of birth control. The most effective contain a hormone blocker (such as cyproterone) which reduces the amount of oil your skin produces.
Unlike other aspects of this medication, a few months should be allowed for the effect on acne to be evident.
A powerful treatment, which takes just a few months and many acne sufferers have safely benefited from. The medication may however in a few cases cause serious side effects and can only be prescribed by a specialist dermatologist.
Isotretinoin can harm an unborn child, so women need regular pregnancy tests whilst on the medication. They also need to use effective contraception, before, during and after treatment for several weeks.
There are concerns that isotretinoin can cause depression, even suicidal thoughts but this is rare. A careful, individual assessment will still take place before the option is chosen and ongoing support is part of our approach.
Knowing of the possibilities above is important and treatment changes can be required but only in a small number of cases. By all means see a video, plus further information on Isotretinoin treatment and the outcome.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Where recalcitrant, nodulo-cystic, or inflammatory acne has failed to respond to other treatment, PDT can be a useful alternative.
The treatment uses a special light source and light sensitive medication to destroy abnormal skin cells. Several sessions can be needed, a few weeks apart and they may bring a degree of moderate pain, your skin will go bright red and peel.
People with darker skin types could see post inflammatory hyper pigmentation for a couple of months. Part of a treatment which has recovery time for all, yet this can be justified by a notably improved quality of life.
Similar thoughts would apply to the outcome of any good treatment program. Whilst there is no instant cure for acne, a sound approach to acne treatment can bring relatively quick and long term benefits.
You are welcome to contact our team for advice, or arrange a consultation on 020 8441 1043, or send an email via the Make An Appointment button below.