What are the causes of Acne?
Acne is primarily a hormonal condition driven by androgenic hormones, which typically become active during the teenage years. Sensitivity to such hormones, combined with bacteria on the skin, and fatty acids within oil glands, cause acne. Common sites for acne are the face, chest, shoulders, and back — the sites of oil glands.
Acne lesions include whiteheads, blackheads, small bumps, and nodules and cysts.
What are the factors which can increase or decrease Acne?
Acne is essentially a normal physiologic occurrence, certain conditions may aggravate the condition, including:
- Menstruation: Fluctuating hormone levels during menses
- Manipulating (picking/prodding) acne
- Clothing and headgear which causes friction
- Drugs such as OCPs (Oral contraceptive pills), oral steroids.
What are the myths surrounding acne?
There are several myths surrounding acne. Please refer to my blog for a detailed explanation of the myths and the scientific explanation to refute them at http://skinandhairsolutions.blogspot.in/2013/05/acne-myths-busted-most-common-myths.html
What are the treatment modalities?
Three types of drugs have proven to be effective for the treatment of acne:
- Benzoyl peroxide targets surface bacteria, which often aggravate acne. Irritation and dryness are a common side effect.
- Retinoids treat blackheads and whiteheads, the first lesions of acne. The most common side effect is irritation.
- Antibiotics control surface bacteria and reduce inflammation in the skin. Antibiotics are more effective when combined with benzoyl peroxide or retinoids.
Apart from this, hormonal treatment is indicated in certain circumstances for female patients.
What are the other modalities?
- Chemical peels: Chemical peels for acne work by removing the surface layers of the skin in order to expose the fresh and unaffected layers below. Done in a series of four to six sessions, these peels can improve mild to moderately severe cases of acne.
- Intralesional corticosteroids
- Laser therapy
What about the treatment for Acne Scars?
There are several options available for acne scars:
- Dermaroller – This is a special instrument, with micro needles, which fills up superficial as well as deep acne scars. The procedure will even out the skin texture through collagen stimulation.
- Dermastamp – This has small micro needles in it to treat localized depressed scars.
- Laser – Fractional Resurfacing causes fractional damage through the heat created in the skin. This allows the skin to heal much faster with minimal discomfort and helps to fill in the damaged area with new cells.
- Chemical Peels – Glycolic Acid peels can be done to treat hyper pigmented, red and shallow scars. TCA peeling can be done for hyper pigmented and deep-pitted scars.
- Microdermabrasion – Works by exfoliating the skin’s upper layers. This treatment is useful for treating superficial acne scars.
- Steroid injections – Intralesional Steroid Injections help to soften thick stubborn fibrous tissue.