Acne is a chronic skin disease caused by an increase in cellular proliferation and sebum production, initiated by a hormonal flux. Most commonly, acne affects the face, neck, chest and back and can occur at any age. The instance of acne is on the rise, we have seen a significant rise in the number of clients presenting with acne, ranging in age from 12 to 50 years old.
Unfortunately in today’s society, acne and many other skin conditions are viewed as less important when compared to disease of other organs. We see more and more often in the clinic, clients who have spent less than a minute and a half in a doctor’s office and been thrown a topical cream to apply, or pill to take and then sent on their merry way. When treating acne, it is important to target it at its 4 main roots, all whilst repairing the skins natural barrier and supporting the new healthy skin cells coming to the surface.
There are 4 root causes of acne:
- hormonal flux of androgens (male hormones, like testosterone)
- excess sebum production
- hyper-keratinisation (cell build up)
These factors must not be viewed individually, as they influence each other. It is androgens that influence our sebaceous glands. If there is a surge in androgens, this can result in the overproduction of oil in the sebaceous gland. Too much oil leads to excess skin cells that cannot shed off naturally, which clog up the pores resulting in a blockage. This is the perfect environment for bacteria that usually live on the skin in small numbers to thrive, causing infection and inflammation.
Acne conditions can range from mild, non-inflammatory blackheads and the occasional pustule, to severe inflammation with the presence of cysts and nodules. There are also many factors that can contribute to, or exacerbate acne such as stress, diet, genetics and incorrect product use.
Over my time working with clients who are suffering with acne, I have devised a list of the key points I think are essential to know when starting on your journey to healthy skin:
Acne is not caused by ‘dirty’ skin – In fact, scrubbing with harsh, drying products and over-washing can actually make acne worse. Wash the skin twice a day only, with a cleanser prescribed by your therapist and lukewarm water.
Gut health – I could sing about gut health! An unhealthy gut = unhealthy body – including the skin! Treating the skin internally is essential. All acne clients, based on their level of severity must ensure their gut is at optimum health. Usually we will prescribe probiotics and supplements over topical skincare products!
Time – A journey to skin health is not an overnight process. Your acne did not suddenly appear one day, and likewise will not disappear magically. Some cases of acne can heal in a matter of weeks, others will take a number of months. Stick with it and trust the journey.
Compliance is key – A homecare routine customised to your specific needs along with high quality supplements to support your gut and skin is 80% of the hard work. The results of any professional treatment will be greatly limited without a daily regime.
Management – Once we have the condition under control, it is important to maintain your results. It would be unwise to believe that once the skin is clear, the acne is gone forever. Your homecare routine will change as your skin heals and revises itself.
Take photos – It is easy to become impatient. A lot of the time you will forget how the skin originally looked! Having pictures taken of your skin will show you that in fact the skin is revising and rebuilding.
Relief from acne needs an individual and integrated approach. No single ingredient, treatment or device will change, alter or normalise all skin functions. At Urba, we design an individual treatment plan, incorporating a 360° approach which will target all 4 root causes of acne. This will require not only the use of specific products, but modifications to lifestyle such as stress management and diet. We understand not only the physical aspect of acne, but that it carries a heavy emotional burden and can greatly impact ones mental health. We are here to hold your hand through the journey, give you guidance and the occasional push if necessary!
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