What is acne?
Acne is a common skin concern prevalent in teenagers, but can affect approximately 8 out of 10 people at any point in their life. Acne can be a challenging condition to manage and can also impact physical and mental wellbeing. At Oo La La Cosmetic & Laser Clinic we offer safe treatment options to get your acne under control. Your progress will be supervised not only by your treating Dermal Therapist, but also by our in-house cosmetic Doctor.
Researchers cannot say with certainty how acne occurs precisely, but believe that it is caused by a combination of four events: excess secretion of sebum, overgrowth and plugging of follicles or pores, the presence of bacteria and inflammation. Read more about acne.
Acne facts & myths
By now, you probably know some of the myths associated with acne. There is no clear evidence to suggest that acne is caused by eating greasy foods, dairy consumption or by not washing your face or body enough.
Hormonal changes in the body may increase the likelihood of developing acne. Studies have shown that people with acne can have increased levels of specific hormones. This can cause an overproduction within the glands containing hair follicles and cause an increase in oil production.
Good skin care is an excellent start to help get your acne under control. Using the right skin care products can help regulate any dysfunctions present within the skin. We offer treatments ranging from facials to IPL treatments, peels and skin needling.
So what exactly causes acne? Our skin is composed of three main layers. The epidermis is the outermost layer and contains our pores and melanocytes (melanin producing cells). Next is the dermis containing our hair follicles, sebaceous (oil) and sweat glands. Finally, the hypodermis contains connective tissue and fat.
Acne occurs when hair follicles in the dermis becomes clogged. This can be caused by an increase in oil, build up of dead skin cells, and bacteria (specifically, Propionibacterium acnes). The areas where acne most commonly occurs, like the face, back, and chest contain the highest number of oil glands.
Sebum (oil) regulation is closely correlated to our hormones. Can you think of some crazy hormone times? Puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy commonly cause acne flare ups. Also, since birth control is used to regulate female hormones certain formulations can actually benefit acne.
Acne flare ups can range from mild comedones like whiteheads and blackheads to deeper, sometimes painful cystic acne. The severity of acne is correlated to the underlying cause. Genetics, hormones, stress, environmental factors, and diet will all contribute to the formation of acne.
What are the main concerns related to acne issues?
To better understand how your acne lesions are classified let’s start breaking down the general categories of acne.
Non-Inflammatory Acne: Refers to mild lesions like comedones (a.k.a. whiteheads and blackheads) that are relatively superficial and do not swell.
Inflammatory Acne: These are the lesions that are red, swollen, and sometimes tender. Cystic acne and nodular acne fall into this category.
To continue our breakdown, let’s look at the subcategories within the inflammatory and non-inflammatory designations and types of Acne
Blackheads (open comedones): Non-inflammatory lesions that occur when the pore remains open despite being clogged with excess oil (sebum) and dead skin cells. This causes a dark-colored spot on the surface of the skin.
Whiteheads (closed comedones): Non-inflammatory lesions that form when the pore closes on top of a buildup of sebum and dead skin cells resulting in a small bump.
Papules: Small, tender inflammatory lesions resulting in pink or red bumps due to hair follicle wall break down.
Pustules (pimples): Inflammatory lesions that form like papules, but are infected with bacteria, and filled with pus. These appear with a red base and white or yellow tip.
Cysts: Pus-filled inflammatory lesions developing deep into the skin layers causing red and white bumps to appear at the surface level.
Nodules: A more severe cyst. These large, firm inflammatory lesions occur when clogged pores are further irritated and deepen.
Comedones: Like whiteheads and blackheads, are relatively common and superficial. The more severe forms of acne, like papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules are correlated to increased irritation, inflammation, and possibly infection.