Acne and congested skin
Acne, a common skin concern is categorised as either a cosmetic skin condition or a dermatologic skin disease, depending on the severity.
Acne more commonly affects adolescents though can affect some males and females well into adulthood
Acne is a blockage of the sebaceous gland with an inflammatory response. The sebaceous gland is a small gland located at the base of each hair follicle below the skin’s surface which secretes sebum, an oily substance, onto the surface of the skin – a vital part of the skin’s natural moisturising factor.
The cause of Acne involves three primary factors:
1.Androgenic (male) hormones which influence sebum produced by the sebaceous gland. Sebum binds together dead skin cells and debris from the skins surface, causing a blockage, creating a fertile environment for bacteria to grow.
2. Acne bacteria irritates the follicle and the oil gland causing inflammation.
3.Abnormal skin shedding within the follicle. Just as skin cells shed on the surface of the skin, they are also shed within the follicle
One or all three factors may influence the development of Acne. It is important when treating Acne to address all three factors.
Acne is characterised by:
Papules - small slightly raised lesion with minimal inflammation
Pustules - pus filled whitehead
Nodules - blind pimple often firm, hard, painful
Cysts - deep within the skin, unsightly, large, painful with significant inflammation which often becomes so large that it distends the follicle wall, causing a rupture, spilling its contents within the surrounding tissue deep within the skin. A cyst will often result in post Acne scarring.
Acne is graded into 4 levels according to its severity
Grade I and II with no to minimal inflammation, blackheads, some pustules.
Grades III - moderate to severe inflammatory - pustular, popular, nodular – prone to scarring if left untreated.
Grade IV – severely inflammatory, pustular, nodular, and cystic Acne, prone to scarring.
The cosmetic treatment of non-inflammatory Acne involves dermal therapies which address the three causal factors of Acne.
Therapeutic treatment of Acne grades III and IV should be provided by a medical doctor or dermatologist. Topical and/or oral treatments will be prescribed to address the causal factors. Dermal therapies can assist with the management of Grade III Acne in consultation with the doctor.
Post Acne Scarring
People that have had moderate to severe Acne will have some degree of post Acne scarring. The surrounding skin may fail to produce adequate collagen, the skin’s main structural protein, leaving a depression in the skin. This type of scarring includes pitted, pigmented scarring, leaving a brownish/purplish appearance, and ice pick scarring which often presents as deep enlarged pores.
Treatment of post Acne scarring involves resurfacing and/or stimulating collagen growth. Chemical peels, Skin Needling and minimally ablative fractional RF which will provide significant results. The type of treatment selected is always based on the extent of the post Acne scarring and the results the patient wishes to see