Acne is by far the most frustrating of the skin conditions. More often than not, a multitude of factors cause or contribute to the condition. You'll complete a consultation card and together the answers are reviewed, areas of concern can be identified, and a plan of attack can be put into place. It is important to remember that there are rarely simple solutions to acne, therefore finding the root of the issue can take time and patience. Don't get discouraged.
What is Acne?
Acne is a frustrating skin condition experienced by most people at some point in their lives. Four main factors can contribute to acne:
- Sebaceous glands and sebum (a.k.a. oils glands oil produced by those glands)
Excess sebum is often associated with enlarged pores, follicle congestion, and an oily t-zone. The sebum may also be thicker and stickier, making is harder to reach the surface of the skin.
Testosterone is secreted by the body of men and women and enters the sebaceous glands, where the hormone 5-alpha reductase converts the testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, stimulating sebum formation. 5-alpha reductase is sensitive to hormone levels, it goes into over-drive when testosterone levels rise, creating excess oil production. This is most commonly seen during puberty, but testosterone levels can be raised in some individuals throughout adult hood.
- Cell proliferation (skin cell growth) Normal skin continually sloughs dead surface cells. When acne is present, proliferation of cells occurs at the neck and extends to the follicle. It's accompanied by excess sebum, causing the cells and bacteria to stick together. The combination of the excess sebum and dead skin cells leads to the formation of an impaction plug that creating the perfect environment for bacterial growth. The process of abnormal shedding of the dead skin cells results in a thickening of the outer layer of the skin.
- Bacteria Bacteria in the follicle excrete an enzyme to break down the sebum triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol. The sebum in used as a food source and the free fatty acids are merely waste products that irritate the lining of the follicle. This may result in closed comedone (whiteheads) or open comedones (blackheads).
- Type of follicle Inflamed lesions may also result in adult acne, whereby the follicle wall ruptures, forming a papule. If the break in the follicle is close to the surface a pustule results. If it is deeper, a nodule forms. In some cases a membrane entraps the infection and a cyst develops.
Stress, diet, improper home care and makeup are just a few of the many possible triggers outside of the four main causes of acne, but no one cause or trigger can truly be blamed.
Grades of Acne
- Grade 1 - Mild Acne Micro-comedones, closed comedones and open comedones
- Grade 2 – Mild / Inflammatory papules Micro-comedones, closed comedones, open comedones and some inflammatory papules
- Grade 3 - Acne Vulgaris Comedones, papules and pustules
- Grade 4 - Cystic Acne Comedones, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts
Possible Triggers of Acne
- Industrial oils
How Do I Know Which Factors Are Contributing to my Acne?
Acne is by far the most frustrating of the skin conditions. More often than not, a multitude of factors cause or contribute to the condition. Start with a free consultation. We ask that you complete the questionnaire below and bring it to your appointment. Together the client and skin therapist review the answers and look for areas of concern. Once areas of concern are identified, an individualized plan can be discussed and developed.