Your Private GP and Sexual Health Clinic in Canary Wharf
Dr Wayne Cottrell:
Acne is a common inflammatory skin condition affecting a pilosebaceous unit (hair follicle and sebaceous gland).
80% of teenagers are affected by this skin condition, while this may be true it can persist develop during, adulthood:
- 64% suffer during 20–29 years of age
- 40-43% suffer between 30–39 years of age
- 3–5% suffer between 40–49 years of age
Yet the average age of patients seeking clinical treatment is 24 years.
Features of Acne
- Greasy skin
- Non- inflammatory lesions (blackheads/comedones)
- Inflammatory lesions (pustules and nodules)
- Post-inflammatory hyper/ hypo-pigmentation (uneven skin colour)
- Skin irritation and pain due to inflammation
- Scarring (small ice pick scars, unsightly large scars and keloid (bulky hard raised) scars)
- Negative psychosocial and emotional effect
- Low self-esteem
The aim of treatment is to restore healthy skin and beauty. We also aim to prevent scarring. Prompt treatment will control inflammation. We then in turn treat all lesions of acne.
Subsequently, delayed treatment can cause uneven colour, texture and scarring. Consequently this may require additional therapies.
However all treatments will depend on the severity, distribution and co-morbidities. In spite of the age of the patient and their skin type. Commonly used treatments are:
- Topical anti-acne preparations (Antibiotics and antiseptics).
- Anti-inflammatory effects to calm red, inflamed skin.
- Anti-oxidants to protect cells from damage by free radicals.
- Comedolytics to unplug blocked follicles (comedones).
- Keratolytics to peel off surface scale (exfoliants).
- Agents that affect keratinisation i.e. that normalise skin cell maturation)Antibiotics such as tetracyclines.
- Treatment for severe acne may require a course of oral isotretinoin.
Further useful facts
- Frequently acne flares up on discontinuation of oral contraceptive pill.
- Sometimes it can be associated with Rosacea and Polycystic Ovarian Disease. This usually needs to be treated.
- Acne can be triggered as a result of steroid treatments.
- Treatment for severe cases, maybe varied.