It seems like a large part of the population is plagued by acne – and it’s not just teenagers who suffer from this pernicious ailment. Up to 20% of adults in the United States suffer from chronic acne. While everyone experiences a pimple or two at some point in their lives, some of us battle acne on a daily basis. But what is acne exactly?
Malfunctioning oil glands
Acne is essentially a skin disease that involves the oil glands at the base of the hair follicles. It commonly occurs during puberty when the sebaceous (oil) glands come to life – the glands are stimulated by male hormones produced by the adrenal glands in both men and women. While acne isn’t life threatening, it can leave severe scars. Skin has pores which connect to oil glands located under the skin. These glands produce oil, and are connected to pores through follicles. The oil carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin. Small hairs also grow through the follicles out of the skin. Pimples develop when these follicles get blocked, resulting in an accumulation of oil under the skin.
The unique appearance of a cystic acne lesion is due to the acute damage to the oil gland causing intense inflammation and irritation which leads to redness, soreness, and swelling. If you’re one of the unlucky few, you may suffer from cystic acne. Cystic acne is the most severe kind of acne there is – cystic acne lesions are far more painful and have more risks of scarring compared to mild or moderate acne. Cystic acne lesions actually rupture beneath the surface of the skin, pushing the blockage and swollen contents beyond the reach of traditional, topically-applied anti-acne products. The unique appearance of a cystic acne lesion is due to the acute damage to the oil gland causing intense inflammation and irritation which leads to redness, soreness, and swelling. Because of the depth of these lesions, squeezing or picking can be completely ineffective and can actually extend the lesion’s healing time.
The root of the problem
What causes acne? While the cause of acne is not completely understand, there are two major contributing factors:
- Hormones. Common acne in teenagers starts with an increase in hormone production. During puberty, both boys and girls produce high levels of androgens, the male sex hormones that include testosterone. Testosterone signals the body to make more sebum, the oil produced in the skin’s oil glands.
- Bacteria. Excess sebum clogs the openings to hair follicles – especially those on the face, neck, chest, and back. Bacteria grow in these clogged follicles. This makes blackheads or whiteheads form on the skin’s surface. Sometimes this clogging causes the follicle wall to break under the pressure of this build up. When this happens, sebum leaks into nearby tissues and forms a pustule or a papule – this is called inflammatory acne.
Our Medspa can help
Rest assured, though, that you don’t have to live with acne. Here’s three non-invasive treatments that can significantly reduce the appearance of active acne and acne scarring:
Clear + Brilliant
Clear + Brilliant rejuvenates the skin from the inside out using a non-invasive dioxide laser. Its non-invasive laser technology gently resurfaces the top layer of the dermis by creating millions of microscopic treatment zones in the skin. Sounds complicated, right? But it’s really just about replacing damaged skin with healthy, younger-looking tissue. The result? Smoother, softer and youthful-looking skin – and most importantly – significantly reduced pore size and less visible acne.
Clear + Brilliant is clinically proven to significantly improve the appearance of skin. Almost all patients who undergo Clear + Brilliant treatments report their skin looks younger and feels smoother. What’s more, their skin achieves a noticeable glow after a series of three to five Clear + Brilliant treatments.
This glow owes to the fact that Clear + Brilliant significantly helps refresh skin tone and refine skin texture by shrinking down pore size – indeed, many patients see a significant difference in the appearance of their skin after only one treatment. Within as little as a week, patients notice brighter, softer, more refined and more youthful skin texture. And most importantly, less visible acne scarring!
IPL Photo Facials
IPL photo facials work by using a broad-spectrum light source that penetrates multiple layers of skin. This type of photo facial primarily targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) while leaving the top layers of skin (epidermis) unaffected. The heat generated from the light promotes healing of the skin within, treating a number of different dermatological issues. IPL photo facials even out skin texture, minimize enlarged pores, and reduce active acne.
If you want to dramatically reduce the appearance of acne, you must be diligent about scheduling treatment sessions. IPL photo facial treatments call for five treatment sessions spaced three weeks apart to obtain desired results. In some cases those results can be seen after only the first treatment! And skin continues to improve with each successive treatment.
You’re probably thinking: Botox®? For acne? Yes, it’s true – Botox® can actually help battle acne! Here’s how it works: Botox® is a neurotoxin and works by attaching itself to nerve endings. Once this happens, the neurotransmitter responsible for triggering muscle contractions, called acetylcholine, can’t be released. To put it more simply, Botox® injections temporarily relax the facial muscles that underlie and cause wrinkles.
Botox® treats acne much in the same way as it treats wrinkles — by blocking the chemical acetycholine in the skin’s dermis. Acetycholine is responsible for increasing the sebum production, so if it’s blocked, skin won’t overproduce oil. Less oil production means fewer breakouts. Not only does Botox® control oil overproduction, it also reduces pore size as well.