Acne Skin Care Management Guide
Acne can occurs in anybody of any age, although it is more common in teenagers. Most teenagers will have a few blackheads and the occasional pimple but some will have more severe and inflamed acne. Changing levels of the body's sex hormones especially during adolescence affect the oil(sebacious) glands of the skin, mainly on the face, chest and back. Acne tends to clear in adulthood. It is important to understand acne and how to look after your skin to avoid or reduce damage. Proper treatment and management of acne can control it, minimise scarring and even clear it up.
Hi, my name is Josef CHAI, am a registered pharmacist worked for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and now doing research work on skin care, anti-aging, anti-cancer,am also consultant for Compounding Chemist Australia. I would like to share with you some pharmacy care information on acne and my personal counseling and recommendation for acne treatment and prevention. I hope this will be helpful in your understanding and self management of acne conditions.
Understanding Acne: There a few types of folicles (pores) on our skin.
Normal follicle : In the normal follicle, lining cells are regularly replaced and carried to the skin surface by sebum(oil). In acne, hormones cause extra sebum to be produced by the oil glands and more lining cells in the follicle to be replaced.
Whitehead : The lining cells can plug the follicle and oil builds up. A plug under the skin is a whitehead
Blackhead: A blackhead is when a plug reaches the skin surface and turns black, it is called a blackhead.
Pimple: Bacteria in the hair follicle multiply and break down the oil. They can cause the follicle to get red and full of pus, making a pimple. In time it may burst. Squeezing the skin at this stage may cause damage.
What makes acne worse:
* oily cosmetics, hair oils, hair gels or sprays, suntan oils, thick makeup, which block the hair follicle
* working with oils and greases eg deep-frying foods
* Some contraceptive pills -- ask your doctor or send me an enquiry
* Some medicines -- ask your doctor or send me an enquiry
* scratching, squeezing or picking the skin
* sweating a lot
* high humidity
* hormones, especially before a period
There is no firm evidence that chocolate or other foods give people pimples, but it's best to avoid those that suspected to cause the acne to get worse.
There are many options available to treat acne:
* Some preparations help stop hair follicles from getting clogged and loosen blackheads and whiteheads
* preparations such as benzol peroxide creams and lotions reduce oil on skin and also kill bacteria, but they might be dry to the skin
* For more severe acne your doctor or dermatologist can prescribe preparations to control acne and minimise scarring:-
* antibiotics may be used, either as a lotion on the affected area or taken as a tablet/ capsule
* Tretinoin and azelaic acid creams can be applied to the skin
* isotretinoin is used in some cases for severe acne
* for women, certain contraceptive pills may be used to control acne
* Non-chemical approach: use organic tea tree oil diluted in cream or lotion for the pimples and 1 to 2 % in suitable hypoallergenic sulphate free cleanser base, use rose hip cream or oil to minimise scarring once the pimples are under control.
* Some acne preparations make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Use an (oil free) SPF30+ sunscreen at all tims.
* Apply acne preparations to the whole area, not just the spots
* Many preparations need to be used or taken for several months and it may take a month or more before you see a constant improvement.
* Some treatments make the skin very dry. Isotretinoin may also make your eyes, nose and lips dry.Ask your pharmacist how to relieve this problem.
* Some treatments for acne may sting when applied.
* Some medicines for acne should not be used during pregnancy or pregnancy must be avoided while the medicine is still in the body. Check with your pharmacist or doctor.
* Gently wash your face with antibacterial cleansering soap twice daily. Pat dry with a soft towel
* Wash your hair regularly.
* Use water -based moisturisers and makeup. Take makeup off at night with a mild skin cleanser.
* If you shave, try using an electric razor
* Wear loose, light clothes if acne is on your back or chest
* Wear natural fibre clothing, especially in winter, to stop overheating
* Exercise regularly
* Eat a low fat, nutritious diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
* Work in a clean environment, if possible
* Use an oil free sunscreen.
**For more information, counseling on acne treatment, you are welcome to contact me.