What kind of acne do you have? And what is the best way to treat it?
Almost everyone will have what could be described as acne at some stage in their life. This might be during our teenage years, during ‘that time of the month,’ or as we reach menopause. Acne can occur at any time and in many forms, it’s just about understanding your acne and having the tools to address it. So if you’re breaking out and you’re feeling confused about the type of acne you have and the best way to tackle it, read on for everything you need to know.
What causes acne?
There are three main pillars of acne: oils, bacteria, and inflammation. Our faces are covered in tiny hairs, each with a follicle and pore, which is where spots begin. In acne, there’s an increase in the shedding of our hair lining and oil production, creating an environment where certain strains of bacteria thrive. These bacteria are present in everyone’s skin, so doesn’t necessarily cause acne on its own. It’s our body’s response to that bacteria and whether it kickstarts an inflammatory response that determines whether acne occurs. You’ve got to have oil, bacteria, and inflammation to create the persistent spots that we know as acne.
What are the different types of acne breakouts?
There are several different types of acne, and once you have identified and understood yours, you will be able to treat it more successfully.
- Blackheads and whiteheads are the smallest types of acne blemish. Blackheads have open pores, and whiteheads are closed. They respond very well to treatments like HydraFacial as well as chemical exfoliation and retinol to minimise oil production.
- Papules and pustules are similar. They are larger than black and whiteheads and occur when the pore’s walls break down, causing a bigger spot to form. We can tackle them with skin peels and targeted medical skincare. Hypochlorous acid and salicylic acid are key for reducing acne-causing bacteria and minimising breakouts.
- Nodules and cysts are the most prominent types of acne lesions, which occur when the skin around the pore becomes very irritated. Nodules are hard to the touch, while cysts are soft. We may introduce topical prescription treatments, including benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and prescription-strength retinoids.
The first line of action
The first thing we need to do when treating acne is to have a very detailed consultation, where we look at absolutely everything that could be causing your acne. We start with simple things such as how you’re washing your face, your lifestyle, diet, and the skincare products you’re using and how you’re applying them. In most cases, we will then go on to build a simple skincare routine which would include a cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen. We will then add an acne treatment, such as salicylic acid or Tretinoin, that can be used periodically throughout the week. We will adjust the frequency and strength depending on how oily someone’s skin is and the type of acne that they have. It’s important that we reduce the inflammation within the skin and focus on repairing and strengthening the epidermal barrier, so we will likely look at other ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.
The best treatments
Depending on your needs, there’s a whole raft of treatment possibilities, including LED light treatment, chemical peels, HydraFacial and certain types of lasers. But remember, the first line of treatment for breakouts should always be a bespoke skincare routine, which may include topical treatments like Tretinoin.
If you’re struggling with acne breakouts, speak to an expert to start your journey to healthy skin. Click here to book a consultation.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.