Table of Contents
- 1 Know The Types of Acne You Have and Get The Right Acne Treatments
- 2 So, what is Acne?
- 3 Types of Acne
- 4 Treatments to Clear Out Acne Marks & Scars
- 5 Your Key to a Pimple-Free and Healthy Skin
Know The Types of Acne You Have and Get The Right Acne Treatments
Acne, known famously as the teenagers’ nightmare, is a skin condition characterised by outbreaks of pimples, such as whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, cysts and nodules. Technically speaking, acne is a skin condition that is caused when oil and dead skin cells jam shut the pores on your facial skin. Hence, it is important to get the right acne treatment by identifying the inflammation that causes the flare ups.
Acne infestation can devastate the facial landscape and scarring it permanently. Not to mention emotional distress. Several people with different types of acne problems or scarring confide that the condition has seriously affected their self-esteem. Early acne treatment is important to prevent acne from worsening into scars and acne marks also known as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH).
If you're rejoicing that you’re past your teens, remember, acne affects adults too. Often, the people in 20s onwards, a severe bout of acne could indicate a dormant health condition that needs medical treatment.
So, what is Acne?
Acne is mostly associated with hormonal imbalances that accompany the onset of adolescence; it is also known to pester adults too.
Acne is more prevalent in women, and can also end up as a long-term problem. Due to the pattern roughly coinciding with their menstrual cycles – yet another pointer to the link is a hormonal activity in the body. The condition is observed in women who use oral contraceptives regularly.
While acne outbreaks are attributed to clogged pores, the root cause could lie in any one or a combination of several factors. These underlying factors range from hyperactivity of sebum glands, bacterial activity, accumulation of dead skin cells, and ingrown hairs.
However, hormonal activity or imbalances are pinned as the most probable villain behind acne infestation.
Types of Acne
An acne “breakout” is not as simple as it may look and sound. There isn't a universal acne treatment that can tackle the condition. This is because there are different forms of the condition. Recognising the acne type is the first step towards effective treatment.
Broadly speaking, acne can be classified as non-inflammatory or inflammatory acne. Within these categories, you could be suffering from an assortment of pimple outbreaks such as blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, papules, nodules, and cysts. So, before considering the varied acne treatments targeting at different types of acne, it’s important to know more about the several forms of these skin diseases.
Non-inflammatory Acne and Treatments
In these cases, the acne outbreak is not accompanied by swelling. Whiteheads and blackheads are typical examples of non-inflammatory acne.
Also known as open comedones, this condition develops when secretions of the sebaceous glands combine with dead skin cells, to clog or block skin pores. However, the mouth of the pores remains open, giving it a black colour at the top. That’s where the name blackheads and open comedones, come from.
Also known as closed comedones, also develop when a mixture of sebum and dead skin cells clogs the pores. The mouth of the pore is sealed, giving it the look of a small bump pushing out of the skin surface.
Acne Treatments: The good news is that by virtue of being the mildest forms of acne, blackheads and whiteheads, respond quite well to basic acne treatments such as over-the-counter topical acne or medical peels. Usually, glycolic or salicylic acid peels are prescribed because of their inherent exfoliating capabilities. In effect, these acne treatments can help clear dead skin cells and prevent buildup of bacteria that can potentially turn into whiteheads or blackheads.
Inflammatory Acne and Treatments
These are pimples accompanied by redness and swelling. In addition to sebum and dead skin cells, bacteria also clog up the pores. As a result, infection develops under the skin surface and leads to the development of painful and stubborn acne.
Papules are clogged pores that feel hard and tender when touched. The skin surrounding the papules is usually pink in colour. Severe inflammation breaks down the walls of the pores, resulting in the formation of papules.
They are similar to papules, but pustules contain pus, and have white or yellow-coloured heads. The bumps that arise from the skin are red-coloured.
Acne Treatments: As papules and pustules are moderate forms of acne. In addition to a topical medication for the skin, doctors will most probably prescribe an oral medication as part of your acne treatment to tackle the infection. Skin products derived from benzoyl-peroxide are effective in dealing with inflammation, by attacking the bacteria present under the skin. These products also help clear up excess sebum from the affected spot. Topical retinoids are also prescribed as part for some forms of inflammatory acne. Ensoul's Signature Acne Repair Medi-Facial, Medical peels, IPL, LED Light Therapy, Laser, and RF microneedling are some acne treatments that patients can consider to help control overactive sebum production, reduce inflammation, and prevent future acne breakouts.
Compared to pustules or papules, nodules are larger and embedded farther under the skin surface. As with other pimples, nodules also form through clogging of pores. But in this case, the pores swell up considerably more and acquire a bigger size.
They are larger than nodules and are usually form due to severe infection. Apart from developing deeper under the skin surface, cysts are painful to the touch and are the most likely type of acne that can result in scars. Appearing as large bumps that are red or white in colour, cysts develop when sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria combine and clog the pores.
Acne Treatments: Being the most severe manifestation of acne, treatment of nodules and cysts, calls for consultation and treatment by professionals. Especially since people tend to pick at or pop on nodules and cysts, which result in scars on the skin. While isotretinoin in oral form is usually prescribed, severe cases may require energy-based devices to remove the cysts.
Treatments to Clear Out Acne Marks & Scars
The scars left behind by acne breakouts can affect us at the aesthetic and emotional levels. Apart from scars, many patients find themselves saddled with post inflammation hyperpigmentation (PIH) which manifest as brown- or purple-coloured spots on the skin. These flat-textured spots are caused by changes in the collagen structure of the affected skin area. The condition develops when the body boosts melanin production in an effort to create a protective patch of skin over the healing scars. It can take up to two years for PIH to clear up on its own. Fortunately, gone are those days when acne scars were for keeps. Moving beyond traditional and home remedies that are at best soothing to the skin. Modern medicine has given us access to a variety of remedies such as oral medication, laser and energy-based procedures to drive away the pimples, scars, and PIH.
Rated among the most effective anti-acne treatments, and derived from vitamin A, retinoids are used extensively for clearing up clogged pores, and controlling sebum production. Doctors also routinely prescribe these topical medications for reducing PIH spots that have been caused by acne. The medications, available in cream and lotion form for topical application, have strong anti-inflammatory properties that help control acne lesions, and boost skin cell regeneration.
2. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
A class of mild acids that are reputed for their exfoliating properties, AHAs are also used for removing acne-related discoloration. Used as chemical peels, AHAs clear up dead skin cells, to allow fresh skin layers to emerge at a faster rate. These treatments help in brightening the skin complexion as also keep potential acne breakouts at bay.
The IPL uses broad-spectrum light to treat many skin conditions including hair removal, acne, rosacea, and age spots. To target specific penetration depths under the epidermis, different cutoff filters are often used with the versatile device handpiece.
Three filters are used to effectively treat acne: 420 nm (blue light), 560 nm (yellow light), and 590 nm (red light). In addition to destroying the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, these filters also treat inflammatory acne lesions and inhibit overactive sebaceous oil glands.
4. Radiofrequency Microneedling
This procedure delivers both ultra-short pulse waves and continuous waves which can treat multiple skin conditions such as acne, acne scars, and PIH. Powered by strong energy leading to a higher temperature, this treatment can stimulate collagen production, smoothen the skin texture, reduce melanin production and lighten acne scarring. Through the tiny needles and radiofrequency energy, it can also repair cell membranes, and remodel the skin to result in smaller pores and even skin tone.
5. Light Therapy
Phototherapy is a form of acne treatment that uses the healing powers of visible light. LED, the abbreviation for light-emitting diode, is a pain-free light therapy for treating acne and a variety of skincare issues. LED therapy is provided through different colours, each of which has specific wavelengths that are effective on particular layers of the skin. Popular treatments include blue light and red-light therapy. These are used for treating mild to moderate outbreaks of acne.
Blue Light Therapy: Due the strong anti-microbial properties of its wavelength, blue light is frequently used as part of the protocol for acne treatment. The light rays target the bacteria accumulating in the pores and oil glands, which are all factors in acne breakouts. Blue light is also strong on anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, making it a good choice for conditioning the skin quality.
Red Light Therapy: In LED therapy, red-coloured light targets the skin’s outer layer. The wavelength of red light, helps improve the healing process and reduce acne scarring. Penetrating deep under the skin surface, red light repairs the tissues and soothes the skin.
6. Laser Treatment for Acne
The basic principle of laser for acne treatment, involves gently scraping away the upper skin layers. This is because it encourages the underlying skin layers to regenerate at a relatively faster pace. Since lasers also promote collagen production, acne scarring can be effectively treated. Lasers are used extensively in Ensoul Medical Clinic to lighten acne scars and PIH.
7. Ultrasound Therapy
When high-frequency sound waves are targeted at the mid and lower dermis, it boosts collagen production and also results in improved skin elasticity. In this painless, non-invasive therapy, acne is substantially reduced, and chances of future breakouts are also reduced significantly. Ultrasound devices like LDM are regularly used as an acne treatment and related skin conditions.
LDM® (Local Dynamic Micro-Ultrasound) – Operating at oscillation frequencies of 500 times per second, this dual-frequency ultrasound wave technology stimulates blood circulation, tightens skin tissues, and improves skin structure. When targeted by the ultrasonic waves, the tissues convert sound energy into heat energy which then initiates the healing process. LDM is also used to treat acne, eczema, and dermatitis.
Your Key to a Pimple-Free and Healthy Skin
It’s possible to be simultaneously afflicted with different types of acne. It is advisable to seek medical advice for severe cases of acne breakouts. But acne scars need not be a worry anymore. Apart from prevention, the treatments available at clinics like the Ensoul Medical Clinic can help you tackle acne and acne scars with aplomb.