A deeper understanding of Acne
When I first met Julia at age 29, she had dozens of large, bleeding cysts and nodules covering her entire face. She told me she had suffered with this level of acne for more than ten years and had tried everything from accutane to laser treatments including many over the counter remedies in between. She learned that I had one of the first holistic acne clinics on Long Island and came to me [about ten years ago now] for help. We treated her over the course of six months, first providing services to calm and nourish her highly inflamed skin and eventually integrated deep cleaning along with emptying deep blackheads, cysts and nodules during the next course of treatments. When nearly all of her acne was cleared up after sequential visits, we began scheduled treatments to address the scars left behind. Before she came to us, she not only suffered from pain due to deep infections, it affected her self esteem and confidence in her appearance in situations like job interviews and even new relationships. Julia's complexion had a night and day transformation of improvement and she eventually gained back her confidence with her renewed clear complexion and now she no longer suffers from her chronic acne. Julia is one of many who wanted to know more about why this condition occurred for her and not for her only other sibling, nor her parents who had clear, beautiful skin all their lives.
What is acne?
I've been treating acne for close to three decades from mild to severe. Acne is an inflammatory skin condition frequently erupting at the time of adolescence and often carrying over to adult years. Acne can be painful and disfiguring. As in the case of Julia, it can be heartbreaking. And as with any skin interruptions or inflammation, pigment changes can occur leaving darkened areas at the site called hyperpigmentation. Although most hyperpigmentation from acne often eventually fades, it can take weeks, months and even years to do so. Many call the presence of this hyperpigmentation "scarring", but true scarring occurs with permanent surface changes that become more apparent after the darkened pigment begins to go away. It is the deeper and more persistent levels of acne that can leave scarred surface changes called "ice pick scars" and "rolling scars", to name a few. In that vein, acne can affect people psychologically making the condition far more devastating to some.
What Causes Acne?
In my clinic in Boca Raton, I often hear patients say, "I clean my skin regularly, why am I breaking out", or "I'm 35 years old, why do I still have acne"? Many wonder, how does acne begin? Here's a few explanations that go a little deeper in understanding acne that may be helpful to know.
When children begin developing into adulthood, around the time of adolescence they begin producing excess amounts of a hormone called androgen. Androgen is a steroid that increases sebum (oil) production, scalier skin cells and excess superficial skin shedding. When all three occur, pores become clogged, trapping bacteria and creating inflammation and infection intermittently and to varying degrees. Excessive cleansing can actually worsen inflamed pustules and cysts. Great care must be taken in treating acne in the more advanced stages as a result. In the early stages, treatments that deeply clean pores can help acne from developing further from the beginning stages of blackheads and small pustules to disfiguring cysts and nodules.
During the teen years, also as a result of these hormone changes, certain foods called "triggers" can facilitate acne eruptions as well. Along with hormone imbalances that in some cases continue on long after adolescent years, food sensitivities contribute to lingering acne conditions. Common triggers are dairy, nuts and chocolate, but I've seen unusual triggers over the years as well, such as tomato products (including ketchup), meats (including chicken) and soy for example. Food triggers can, and often do, balance out after the teen years so, the 18 year old that was breaking out from nuts may find that at age 30 (for instance), it no longer causes issues. Seeking guidance from a professional educated in nutrition can be an enormous help in finding food triggers and supplementing with alternative options.
Treatments for Acne
Services that can effectively treat acne include deep pore cleansing, chemical peels, HydraFacials, microneedling and more. Procedures should be individualized as everyone is different and each case needs specialized attention. Although there are many treatment and home care options, technique and skill play a big part in addressing acne. Proper evaluation and history must additionally be taken into account.
Book a free consultation at our Boca Raton location to properly and thoroughly address acne at any age or level of severity. Or call our office at 561-757-5814 to schedule your appointment.