Getting at the root of Acne
Approximately 90% of all adolescents and 25% of all adults experience acne at some point in their lives. Acne is not caused by eating chocolate, greasy foods or bad hygiene. It is caused by simply growing up—puberty and pimples seem to go hand in hand.
Young men and women get acne in equal numbers. Younger males are more prone to severe, longer-lasting forms of the skin condition. Many women suffer from “hormonal acne”—their outbreaks are tied to the hormonal changes related to their menstrual cycle. While hormonal acne typically starts between the ages of 20-25, it can strike teenagers as well. Hormonal acne is sometimes persistent in women in their 30s.
Acne is a common, chronic skin condition caused by inflammation of oil-producing sebaceous glands. Acne usually begins between the ages of ten and thirteen, and persists for five to ten years. Acne breakouts are most common on the face, but they can also occur on the back, shoulders, neck, chest, scalp, upper arms and legs.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to treat. Traditional therapies have a variety of side effects and sometimes require months to work, if they work at all. Topical creams and lotions can cause redness and irritation. Oral antibiotics can cause stomach upset, light sensitivity and yeast infections in women, and studies indicate about 40% of skin bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, making them a doubtful ally in the fight against skin breakouts. While not life threatening, acne can leave life-long emotional and physical scars—a reminder of the embarrassment and self-consciousness that came with the pimples. No one wants to get zits.
In the U.S. alone, more than $1.4 billon is spent on acne medications and treatments each year. In many instances, the money spent yields less than satisfactory results and causes bothersome or dangerous side effects. Most prescription medications, such as antibiotics, require at least three months of continuous treatment before any improvement can be expected. Often, a second, third or fourth cycle of therapy is needed.
Solution: An effective, new combination therapy utilizing microdermabrasion and 1064 laser is now revolutionizing the treatment of acne—without drugs, pain or downtime. Microdermabrasion deep cleans the pores of your skin by removing excess sebum and dead skin cells. Laser then sterilizes the surface of your skin, killing the bacteria that causes acne inflammation. Pregnant women and people with photosensitivity should first consult their physician.
Acne develops when skin cells don’t shed properly – they stick together and plug up the pores. This blockage encourages an oil called sebum and a bacteria called propionibacterium (P. acnes) to build up in the skin pores, leading to inflammation. The oil is produced by the sebaceous glands.
Where it All Begins
An acne breakout starts in the skin’s tiny holes, commonly called pores. It takes about two to three weeks before a blemish shows up on the skin’s surface. Deep within each pore is a sebaceous gland that works to produce sebum, an oil that keeps skin soft and moist. As the skin renews itself, old skin cells die and are shed off. Under the best circumstances, this happens evenly and gradually, making way for fresh new skin. But some people shed skin unevenly and as a result, dead cells mix with sebum and clump together to form a sticky plug. This plug traps oil and bacteria inside the pore — the beginning of a blemish. During puberty, hormones accelerate oil-producing sebaceous glands into hyperdrive, putting teen skin at particular risk for acne.
What Not To Do:
- Don’t overwash or use harsh scrubs. Acne is not caused by dirt.
- Don’t use alcohol-based products. Alcohol strips the top layer of the skin and many astringents contain alcohol which can cause dryness and irritation.
- Beware of sweat. Working out heats up the body, and perspiration makes the skin an even more attractive environment for acne bacteria to grow.
- Don’t squeeze or pick. It’s important to adopt a strict “hands off” policy when it comes to acne. Picking can lead to more inflammation and permanent scarring.
- Don’t let acne define you. Remember that who you are goes beyond the condition of your skin.
*Individual results may vary. Any specific claims or permanence length of results vary for each patient and are not guaranteed. Each treatment plan is designed for a patient’s needs, so depending on the area being treated and the condition of the skin each patient will see different results. Please call or fill out the form for a patient assessment to discuss your treatment plan and the results that can be achieved for you.