Did you know that with 640 MILLION people affected by acne worldwide it is estimated to affect 9.4% of the global population, making it the eighth most prevalent disease in the world? What’s even more upsetting is that a FIFTH of acne sufferers have considered suicide. With disturbing statistics like these it is crucial to increase awareness of the impact that acne has on society and to discuss treatment options for this emotionally distressing skin disease. June also happened to be Acne Awareness Month – so there really is no better time than the present.
When it comes to the treatment of acne, I always try to emphasize that the early recognition and treatment of symptoms is key to getting this condition under control. We see so many patients at Skin Technique who are trying to improve the appearance of acne scars. Acne scars are more challenging to treat than acne itself, and it is frustrating that so many people with acne don’t feel comfortable seeking treatment early on. Treating acne scars means that we have missed an opportunity to treat active acne and avoid scarring altogether.
First, what is acne? What causes those pesky pimples?
Pimples form when the oil and dead skin cells on your skin combine to clog and block pores. A bacteria known as P. acnes naturally resides on our skin. When these bacteria overgrow within these blocked pores the area becomes inflamed and this is when you start to see pimples. Pimples can range from small pustules to large, painful cystic lesions.
So how do we treat these lesions?
The goal of treatment is to exfoliate those dead skin cells away, remove excess oils that clog pores, reduce inflammation and kill the P. acnes bacteria.
The earlier, the better.
Salicylic and Glycolic acids.
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to gently exfoliate away dead skin cells and remove excess oils from the skin.
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin and helps get rid of dead skin cells that can clog pores. Both salicylic and glycolic acid can be found in face washes, peels and moisturizers.
Our favourite products at Skin Technique that contain these products are:
AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser by SkinMedica
Complexion Renewal Pads by ZO skin health
Cebatrol Acne Treatment Pads by ZO skin health
Vitascrub Acne Treatment by ZO skin health
BHA peel by Alumier
Glow peel by Alumier
Blemish and Age defense by SkinCeuticals
Aknebright by ZO skin health
Sulfur is an effective ingredient to rid the skin of excessive oils. You can often find it in masks and spot treatments.
Our favourite sulfur-containing product at Skin Technique is the Sulfur Masque by ZO skin health.
The benefits of retinoid creams are mainly mentioned for anti-aging purposes but Vitamin A is also very efficient at clearing up acne. Retinoids are considered anti-inflammatory. This key ingredient causes skin cells to turn over at a much faster rate resulting in skin exfoliation and reduction in oil production.
Our favourite Retinols at Skin Technique are:
Retinol Complex 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 by SkinMedica
Advanced Radical Night Repair by ZO skin health
Brightenex by ZO skin health
When topical treatments for early acne have not achieved clearance, or if the condition worsens it is very important to seek help from an experienced physician and/or dermatologist. Medical therapies exist that can help control acne effectively when done under supervision and with the appropriate follow-ups.
Common medical therapies include:
Birth control pills
Forever Clear BBL, available at Skin Technique, is a cutting-edge acne treatment that uses the power of light to comfortably and effectively clear acne without creams or medicine.
Step 1: Skin is treated with BLUE BBL light to eliminate acne-causing bacteria at its source, deep down in the pores.
Step 2: Skin is then treated with YELLOW BBL light to reduce inflammation and acne-associated redness to give you healthy, luminous skin.
The treatment of acne scars is one of our most requested treatments. Frustratingly so, because it is much better to treat acne effectively rather than the scars caused by acne. Fortunately we do have effective treatments that help diminish the appearance of acne scars:
Halo is the world’s first Hybrid Fractional Laser that delivers both ablative and non-ablative wavelengths to the same treatment zone. This means much faster healing time than other fractional treatments. It can treat a variety of skin conditions but has shown particular efficacy in reducing the appearance of acne scars. (Exclusive to Skin Technique in Yaletown, Vancouer. )
Also known as collagen induction therapy, microneedling is a device that creates a controlled skin injury at the surface level of the skin. The body reacts by going in to repair mode and stimulating collagen and elastin in these areas of controlled injuries. The result is improved skin texture.
Our patients love this treatment as visible results are often seen as soon as one week after treatment. It can also be combined with Platelet Rich Plasma (The Vampire Facial) for even better results.
Radio Frequency can be added to microneedling by sending energy to multiple layers of the skin simultaneously, which stimulates the body’s natural collagen. The cumulative effect will result in improved skin texture and tone with visibly improved and diminished acne scars. (Exclusive to Skin Technique in Yaletown, Vancouver.)
Acne does not discriminate. Thought to only affect teenagers, I see adults on a daily basis that are struggling with acne, acne scars and the emotional trauma associated with this condition. I get immense professional satisfaction when clearance of acne lesions has been achieved by proactive patients who follow treatment recommendations, but it also warms my heart when we successfully improve the appearance of acne scars in patients who were too self-conscious to pursue early treatment.
Face the future with skin that shines and reflects your health, confidence and vitality. At Skin Technique we strive to Honour Your Beauty by restoring your confidence – something that is often ravaged by acne.