What is Acne?
Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition which affects a vast number of people. It can vary in severity and may require a long-term plan to manage its symptoms. The symptoms of acne include the appearance of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pus-filled spots (pustules). The skin may also appear red and inflamed in severe cases. Acne can lead to scarring and blemishes if it is poorly managed.
Acne often appears around puberty for the first time and lasts throughout the teenage years. This is not a general rule and in many cases, acne can begin as late as your 20s or 30s and continue as a chronic condition.
Acne can also vary in severity. For some people, it presents as a few red spots across the face or neck, while for others the severe inflammation can leave large areas of skin red and swollen. Acne is typically seen on the face and neck but it may also appear on the back, chest, and shoulders.
What causes Acne?
One of the predominant causes of acne is an overproduction of sebum (oil) from the sebaceous gland (an oil producing gland). This may be caused by a hypersensitivity to the natural levels of hormones in the body, resulting in an overstimulated sebaceous gland. Dead skin cells which are normally shed are caught in the oils, resulting in congested follicles. An excessive amount of oil results in the formation of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads).
The increased amount of oil on the skin creates an ideal breeding environment for a naturally occurring bacteria on the skin, known as Propionibacterium acnes. This bacteria is harmless in the correct number, but when the bacteria begin to overpopulate it triggers inflammation and pustules (pus-filled spots).
How can it be treated?
Acne is a treatable disease and an effective treatment plan can offer great relief. Most treatments require 8 – 16 weeks to take effect. Depending on individual symptoms, a treatment plan may contain the following:
- Topical treatments applied directly to the skin
- Oral antibiotics which are taken by mouth
- Oral contraceptive pills
- Isotretinoin capsules
Preparing for your skin appointment with Dr. Khoza
We understand that your first appointment can be daunting, but we want to let you know that we look forward to meeting you and tackling your challenges head-on, together. For the best results from your appointment, come prepared. Here is a convenient checklist of ways to prepare for your acne appointment with Dr. Khoza:
- Come with no makeup. Natural skin will help Dr. Khoza to get better insight into your condition.
- Bring a list of all the skincare products you use.
- Be prepared to provide a history of your condition, including your acne triggers and allergens (if you know what they are).
- If your condition frequently changes, it may help to take a photo of your skin when it is at its worst. If the conditions improves when you see the doctor, we will still able to gauge the severity for your condition and offer you the most suitable treatment plan.
The most effective treatment protocol is one your dermatologist puts together for you after taking into consideration the various factors of your condition. For a personalised treatment to target your symptoms, book a consult with Dr. Khoza.