What is Acne?
The word acne comes from the word acme meaning ‘the highest point’; which in turn comes from the Greek word ‘akme’ meaning ‘point’. It’s an allusion to the little mountains that form on the skin during an acne breakout.
Somehow it got misspelt around 1835 with an ‘n’ rather than an ‘m’, and so we have the word that represents the collection of bumps, pimples, pustules and cysts we know as acne.
Acne develops where we have the most sebaceous glands; usually found on our face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms.
Dr. Lisa Fay at Cosmetic Doctor runs an acne treatment clinic to help people of all ages; teenagers and adults alike, who are suffering from acne to the point that it is interfering with their lives; self-esteem and confidence.
|Initial Consultation Fee||€90|
|Follow-Up Consultation Fee||€65|
|Stimulator peel with mask||€120|
|ZO Ossential Stimulator Peel
(No peeling, a course of 4 is recommended €300* special offer 1 free)
|ZO Ossential Brightening Stimulator Peel
(No peeling, a course of 4 is recommended €360* special offer 1 free)
|ZO 3-Step Stimulation Peel||€200|
|Glycolic Acid Peel||€65|
|Obagi Blue Peel Radiance||€120|
When Oil Glands overproduce and bacteria thrives
Acne is a skin condition that involves the oil glands at the base of the hair follicles in our skin.
These glands secrete sebum, or oil, that in normal amounts help to keep our skin clean and moisturised. During hormonal shifts such as puberty or peri-menopause (the years leading up to menopause in women), the sebaceous glands can start to over produce oil. When this happens, the follicles become blocked and the oil accumulates under the surface of the skin.
The dead skin cells, oil and hair clump together to form a plug in the follicle, thus creating a ripe breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria that normally exists peacefully enough on our skin, P. acnes, thrives in the excess oil and rapidly increases. As the bacteria multiply in a clogged pore, the pore gets inflamed.
Once bacteria takes hold, the skin swells into a blemish or pimple, varying from blackheads and whiteheads to more severe papules, pustules, nodules or cysts. When inflammation reaches deep into the skin, an acne cyst forms- this can be quite severe and will cause permanent scarring.
Types of Pimples
Whiteheads – remain under the skin and the pore is closed- a ‘closed comedo’.
Blackheads – clearly visible; the pore remains open and the sebum oxidises, turning black where it’s in contact with the air. An ‘open comedo’.
Papules – visible on the surface of the skin. They are small bumps, usually pink
Pustules – clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are red at their base and have pus at the top
Nodules – clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are large, solid pimples. They are painful and are embedded deep in the skin
Cysts – clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are painful, and are filled with pus. Cysts can easily cause scars.
What Causes Acne?
Regardless of your age, the base cause is invariably related to hormones and a shift in their levels. Experts believe the primary cause is a rise in androgen; the ‘male’ hormone, which can happen either in puberty or as an adult.
This androgen hormone makes the oil glands grow enlarged and produce more sebum, which causes cellular walls within the pores to break down, spreading the bacteria and causing inflammation and redness.
Acne often first appears during puberty, when there is a surge of androgen hormones within the body, stimulating the sebaceous glands and making skin oily and prone to breakouts.
Women may see considerable hormonal fluctuations are during menstruation, pregnancy, menopause and perimenopause. During these life phases, acne is most likely to develop or flare up.
Dealing with Teenage Acne
Most teenagers and adolescents will get some pimples- but in some cases this may be more than mild teen acne, and parents may want to seek the help of a doctor.
If your child is suffering from severe acne, and over-the-counter products aren’t clearing it up, Cosmetic Doctor can help. Some products available without prescription may contain low levels of salicylic acid- in the US, over-the-counter products contain benzoyl peroxide, which is not available in Irish products.
You will need some expert help if:
- The acne is really affecting your child’s self-esteem and causing them to miss out on activities or hide away in isolation.
- A medication has triggered the flare up of severe acne- some medications can result in skin problems, and Cosmetic Doctor can review your child’ medical history and prescribe alternative prescriptions where appropriate.
- Scarring is becoming evident- it’s vital to seek professional help before the scarring gets any worse. Acne scarring can stay with people for a lifetime, so the sooner you seek treatment, the better.
Doctor Fay can also treat acne scarring.
If you are concerned about your teen’s acne, make a note of when it started; how it has worsened and when. Make a list if any medications your child is taking as well as the skincare regime and products they currently use.
One of the advantages of attending Dr. Fay’s clinic is that as an MD, she can prescribe complimentary medicine to help address the root cause of your acne.