What is acne?

Acne is a medical skin problem that usually begins in the early teenage years and can last until the 30s and even 40s. It consists of mild to severe outbreaks of pimples and cysts – mainly on the face, back, arms and chest. At Sinclair Dermatology, you will be assessed for the best possible results from a variety of ointments, lotions, medications or hormonal treatments.

Acne Inversa

Hidradenitis suppurativa is also known descriptively as acne inversa.

It is a chronic, relapsing inflammatory condition affecting the pilosebaceous unit. It most commonly affects the axillary, groin, perianal, perineal, and genital skin. The inframammary skin may also be affected in some women.

Patients repeatedly present to emergency departments or their GP with a solitary painful ‘boil’. Delay in diagnosis and failure to initiate prophylactic treatment may result in the formation of sinus tracts, abscesses, and scarring.

Are you considering participating in a clinical trial?

Patient participants with a disease or condition may decide to participate in clinical trials to contribute to better understanding of, or better treatment or a potential cure for their disease or condition. In some cases, clinical trials can provide access to new interventions before they are widely available.

Trials also offer the hope of developing better interventions or tests for a particular disease or condition, so that even if a trial does not provide a benefit for an individual, it may provide benefits for others with the disease in the future.

As a patient participant, even when you receive the highest quality care, you may also benefit from additional support and attention provided by clinical trial staff who understand your disease or condition (source: australianclinicaltrials.gov.au)

If you would like to take part in an HS clinical trial, click here!

Excessive sweating

Types of acne

  • Inflammatory acne:Includes papules, nodules, pustules and cysts. Cysts are lumps under the skin that have pus and other tissue in them. Unlike pimples, cysts do not come to a head. Cysts can result in blotchy and uneven skin, scarring and pitting.
  • Non-inflammatory acne: Includes whiteheads (soft closed comedones), blackheads (open comedones) and milia (hard closed comedones)

Effects of hormones and genetics on acne

The incidence of acne is frequently attributed to oil and hormone production and genetic factors. At puberty, boys and girls experience an abundance of hormones (testosterone and androgens) released into their body.

Androgens affect oil glands on the neck, back, face, shoulders and chest by growing larger and producing more oil (sebum). The increased sebum blocks skin pores. Blackheads, cysts and pimples develop because of blocked pores and skin bacteria.

Boys have more testosterone than girls and can suffer more acne outbreaks. Their acne often seems to be more severe with cysts and pimples. Girls can get acne at a younger age than boys. They can experience breakouts at different times in their menstrual cycle. Girls may have ongoing acne issues in their 30’s and 40’s.

Genetics can play a role in acne development. If a teenager’s parent had acne, they may be more prone to getting acne. The incidence of acne in families isn’t predictable though with some children getting worse acne than others.

If you’re feeling embarrassed or upset about your acne, there are treatments available. Your doctor will be able to help you with acne treatments.

Treatment for acne

How to manage your acne at home

The following strategies can help your acne:

Cleansing: Washing the acne-affected area with a cleanser specifically developed for acne-prone skin can help. It’s important to note that too much cleansing can cause other skin problems, including dry skin and irritations.

Make-up: To avoid your pores becoming clogged, all make-up should be removed before you go to bed. Instead of using soap, we suggest you use gentle cleansers that are oil free, water based and non-comedogenic (won’t block pores).

Don’t squeeze: When you see pimples on your face, try to resist the urge to pick and squeeze them. Doing so will only make them worse and can result in scars developing.

Stress: When you’re stressed, the hormones release more oil into your skin. This can trigger an outbreak of pimples at times of stress. Keeping stress levels under control with regular cardiovascular exercise may help reduce the development of your acne.

Diet: There is a common perception that pimples are caused by eating sweet foods, including chocolate. Although research hasn’t shown any strong links with these foods, it’s a good idea to avoid this food if you notice pimples form after eating them. Some studies have shown that a low-GI diet can improve some people’s acne. Other studies suggest that eating more antioxidants is helpful.

Over the counter treatment of acne:

There are many acne treatments available at the supermarket or chemist that clean your skin and banish excess oil. If you’re unsure about which product to use, ask the pharmacist for advice.

It’s important to note that mild irritation can occur with some of these products. If you experience mildly irritable skin, we suggest you take a break from using the product. If your skin irritation is excessive, stop using the product and consult with your doctor.

Professional treatment of acne

Over the counter acne products can be effective for some people with mild acne. If your acne isn’t improving with these products or your acne is moderate to severe, you’ll need to consult with your doctor. An experienced doctor can treat your acne scars from previous breakouts and can help stop your acne breakout cycle.

Professional acne treatment may involve assessing your acne, prescribing medication and referring you to a dermatologist. Acne medications reduce the number of pimples and improve the way your skin looks. They are oral or topical and include:

  • Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives that boost collagen to reduce fine lines, unclog pores and speed up cell turnover. They also prevent new skin blockages from developing.
  • Antibiotics to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.
  • Hormones (including the contraceptive pill) to decrease androgen levels in the body and reduce oil secretion.

To fight acne, your doctor may recommend more than one acne treatment or blend together two treatments into one product.

To book a consultation please call us on 9654 2426 or email appointments@sinclairdermatology.com.au

Book Appointment