Understanding Acne

Excess Sebum Production: One of the primary contributors to acne is an overproduction of sebum, the natural oil that keeps the skin lubricated. Excess sebum, when mixed with dead skin cells, can clog pores and create a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria.

Clogged Pores: When hair follicles become blocked with oil and dead skin cells, they form comedones, commonly known as blackheads and whiteheads. If these comedones become inflamed, they can lead to more severe forms of acne.

Bacteria: Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is a bacterium that resides on the skin and can contribute to acne when pores become clogged. The presence of bacteria triggers an inflammatory response, leading to red, swollen pimples.

Hormonal Fluctuations: Hormonal changes, particularly during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy, can influence sebum production and contribute to acne development.

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Effective Treatments for Acne

As an experienced GP, Dr Sarah can suggest multiple methods of managing acne, from in clinic treatments to prescription and non-prescription skincare to suit all budgets. Prescription skincare or medication is subject to consultation.

Topical Retinoids: Retinoids, such as adapalene and tretinoin, are derivatives of vitamin A known for their ability to unclog pores, promote cell turnover, and reduce inflammation. They are available in both over-the-counter and prescription-strength formulations.

Benzoyl Peroxide: An antimicrobial agent, benzoyl peroxide helps kill acne-causing bacteria and reduces inflammation. It is available in various strengths and formulations, including cleansers, gels, and creams.

Salicylic Acid: This beta-hydroxy acid exfoliates the skin, helping to unclog pores and prevent the formation of comedones. Salicylic acid is commonly found in cleansers, toners, and spot treatments.

Antibiotics: Both antibiotic creams and oral medicines, can help control bacterial growth and reduce inflammation. They are often prescribed for moderate to severe acne.

Hormonal Treatments: For individuals with hormonal acne, oral contraceptives (birth control pills) or anti-androgen medications may be recommended to regulate hormonal fluctuations.

Chemical Peels: These can exfoliate the skin, kill bacteria, remove dead cells, and improve overall skin texture, reducing the appearance of acne and preventing future breakouts.

Medical grade skincare: If you aren’t ready for prescription only skincare, Dr Sarah can guide you to a wide variety of carefully curated skincare brands including Alumier, SkinBetter and Neostrata to get the best out of your skin.