1) How common is acne?
Acne is the most common skin condition encountered in adolescents with a prevalence of 54% and 40% amongst women and men respectively. In most cases, acne clears up as we get older. However, if not properly treated, it can cause permanent scarring and pigmentations to the skin.
2) How does acne happen?
Acne usually starts in puberty and menstrucal cycle, where the body is experiencing changes in hormones level. This stimulates the sebaceous gland to produce more oil, called sebum. Sebum is transported onto the skin surface via the hair follicles. Skin cells are shed from the hair follicles and stick to the sebum, causing the pores to clogged. Bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes start to grow and leading to acne.
3) How to treat acne?
Treatment is usually long term and aims to reduce sebum production, unclog the plugged pores and reduce the bacteria colonization. Here at IDO’S clinic, each individual is assessed independently, depending on the severity and causation of their acne problem, either a single or combined treatments scheme will be planned out by your doctor! Oral and/or topical antibiotics are required in the treatment of active acne. Other treatment options include chemical peels, photodynamic therapy (PDT) and laser. Proper skin care at home plays an important role in reducing the risk of recurrence!
4) How effective are laser, peeling or PDT for acne?
All 3 procedures are effective for the treatment of acne! These treatments are usually used in conjunction with each other, with oral or topical medications, to help facilitate the effectiveness and speedy recovery!
Chemical peels are used mainly for epidermal exfoliation! This can prevent blockage of the pores and levelling out superficial scars.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) reduces sebaceous secretion, helps in reducing inflammation, decreasing the redness and pigmentations left behind by the lesions.
Laser decreases sebaceous glands secretion (reducing “oily face” appearances), tightens collagen fibers which in turn decreases the pore size and resurface deeper acne scars!
5) What about the side effects of oral Isotretinoin?
Oral isotretinoin is a drug reserved for severe acne with nodule and cyst. Common side effects include dryness and peeling of all the mucosa such as nose, mouth, eyes, hands and feet. It is strictly prohibited for women who plan for pregnancy as it can cause birth defects. Many evidence suggest that it can cause depression and even stunted growth.