Acne is the most common skin condition in Australia with up to 95% of people being affected to some degree at some stage of their life.
Why bother about acne?
At South West Sydney Dermatology we take acne very seriously because we know the consequences of incorrect advice and inadequate treatment. These include:
- permanent scarring
- low self-esteem and depression
- good money is wasted over and over again on bad treatment
Who gets acne?
Whilst most people who get acne are undoubtedly teenagers, acne can occur at any age. Acne can occur in infants and a growing number of women are developing acne in their 30’s and 40’s.
What does acne look like?
Acne on close examination has any one of a number of features:
- Blackheads and whiteheads.
- Papules (a small, raised, solid swelling)
- Pustules (a small blister on the skin containing pus.).
- Cysts (a fluid-filled bump lying just underneath the skin)
- Nodules (a raised solid lesion more than 1 cm)
Acne can appear on the face, back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms and buttocks.
What causes acne?
Under normal circumstances our skin is continuously being reproduced, with the dead skin cells on the surface and lining of our skin pores shed from the surface without our knowledge. Increased oiliness of the skin at puberty unfortunately makes these skin cells stick together and form a small clump, which then blocks the skin pore.
Bacteria living on the skin in oily areas such as the face and body soon get inside the blocked skin pore and begin to multiply happily in the warm oily protected environment. The pore soon becomes red and swollen (papule and pustule) and when the blocked pore ruptures inflammation goes deep into the skin resulting in cysts and nodules.
How do dermatologists treat acne?
Today, there are many prescription and non-prescription treatments available for acne but sadly many either don’t produce the claimed results or are unsuitable for a persons type of acne and skin.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to acne treatment and there is no quick fix solution. Every acne treatment will usually take 6-8 weeks before improvement is noted.
Dermatologists as trained specialists of the skin are best placed to recommend and prescribe a total acne solution such as advice on diet and skin care products, topical preparations, antibiotics, hormonal medication, isotretinoin (Roaccutane or Oratane), and procedures, such as laser and light, chemical peels, drainage and extraction of large cysts.