Author: Ingrid Katz (Pure Aesthetics)
When we understand the skin and its behaviour we are in a better position to understand what will be best to treat it. Often the cause of a condition is not treated and rather the effect on the skin is treated. If we can treat the cause, we have a better chance of a long term result.
Our skin’s natural pH is an acidic one and bacteria cannot breed in an acidic environment. By maintaining the skins natural pH we remove the breeding ground for acne to develop. Using a pH balanced cleanser is a great way to start the path to healthy skin.
Sufferers of acne often feel oily and thus accustomed to feeling the need to dry their skin out and so often reach for the closest bar of soap or cleanser that leaves them with that squeaky clean feel. This is wrong. In effect, one would be stripping the skin of its natural lipid (oil) barrier and taking the skin from an acidic pH to an alkaline one. This results in the skin becoming dehydrated (loss of water) and producing more oil to try and compensate – thus a vicious cycle begins.
When pustules, nodules or cysts develop, there is a high level of inflammation within the skin which will perpetuate the condition and make the skin appear red and rather angry looking. We would want to treat that inflammation first and foremost, providing a calmer environment in which to provide more balance to the skin. A moisturiser is a necessity to ensure barrier repair (our skins suit of armour) and hydration (water) is supplied to the skins deeper structural layers. This will also ensure that the water and oil balance within the skin is maintained.
During teenage years the skin structure begins to change and the keratinisation of cells accelerate and the bonds between these cells become stronger. This results in more dead skin that has a greater tendency to cling to the skins surface. Added to the hormonal changes, stress and sweat due to sports and sun exposure, there is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Often parents will begin to notice the frequency of breakouts and immediately require an appointment and a script for Roaccutane.
At Pure Aesthetics, we believe in treating the cause of the problem. We would likely do very light peels to treat and regulate the cell turnover and would recommend using a topical form of Vitamin A that will locally treat the irregularities and inflammation that leads to breakouts. Apart from treating the route cause of the problem, this programme will also teach the skin how to function long term. Added to that, an oil-free non-comedogenic sunblock should be a non-negotiable requirement. Our climate is harsh. Sun exposure will prematurely age the skin, cause pigmentation, especially over scarring and irritate an already inflamed skin (where acne is present).
Acne is a horrible infliction on the skin and one that can cause long term damage due to scarring and short term psychological damage, especially in our teenage patients. Care should be taken to try and prevent or stunt teenage breakouts by starting a good homecare routine at the appropriate age. If breakouts start to appear, ascertain the severity before jumping on the Roaccutane wagon.