There is a well established grading system for acne – not all acne is the same. Unfortunately acne develops as children pass through adolescence, when the skin responds to hormonal changes. Acne tends to occur during the phase of development when it can be socially crippling. There are biological, social and mental health aspects to the disease of acne. Each aspect needs to be treated for treatment to be successful.
Mild acne can be treated with an effective home care program that helps to treat the cause – partly from an over-production of oil and partly from obstruction of the oil duct, and the pileo-sebacous unit of the skin.
A step wise treatment program may include the use of the oral contraceptive pill (for girls), topical treatments agents (particularly using alpha hydroxy acids), oral anti-biotics and in-clinic treatments such as the Easy Peel™ microdermabrasion treatments.
Compliance by adolescence's is often a problem, particularly as medical therapy can take up to 6 months to work and then may be ongoing. Combining treatment modalities often gives the fastest results – and therefore teenagers are encouraged to remain compliant because they can see the results.
Failure to respond to these treatment modalities may require a referral to a dermatologist. In Australia, there is a class of drug that can help with cystic acne, that only specialist dermatologist can prescribe. A doctor's referral letter is needed to see a dermatologist in Australia.
Adults also suffer from acne, and may continue to suffer after being treated by a dermatologist – which may or may no have stopped the major outbreaks but not the ongoing minor ones. These people may be helped with the correct home care program and in clinic treatments.
All acne treatment is aimed at limiting outbreaks and reducing or stopping scarring. Scarring in acne is not only caused by the infective mechanism of acne, but also the inflammatory reaction of the skin to the infection. It is important that acne sufferers are treated with the correct medications that reduce the infection and treat the inflammation. These treatments generally require a script from a medically registered doctor.
Dr Caswell can discuss these options with you during your consultation. All skin programs are individualized to ensure maximum results and take into account aims, outcomes, medical history and program compliance.