What is Acne?
Acne is the surface result of skin cells, sebum, and hair that can clump up together into a plug. This plus gets infected with bacteria, resulting in a swelling. A pimple starts to develop when the plug begins to break down. Human skin has pores (tiny holes) which connect to oil glands located under the skin. The glands are connected to the pores via follicles – small canals. These glands produce Sebum, an oily liquid. The sebum carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin. Simply put, Acne (medically known as Acne Vulgaris), is a skin disease that involves the oil glands at the base of hair follicles.
Below is a list of the most common types of acne anyone can experience throughout their life. Any of these types of acne can be combined without limitation. Frequency, severity, and combination will depend on each person individually.
- Whiteheads – remain under the skin are very small.
- Blackheads – clearly visible, they are black and appear on the surface of the skin with an open top. Remember that blackheads are not caused by dirt. Scrubbing your face vigorously when you see blackheads will not help.
- Papules – visible on the surface of the skin. They are small bumps, usually pink.
- Nobules – clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are large, solid pimples. They are painful and are embedded deep in the skin.
- Cysts – clearly visible on the surface of the skin. They are painful, and filled with puss. Cysts can easily cause scares, especially if not extracted in the proper way.
Dermatologists (skin experts) say that approximately three-quarters of 11 to 30-year-olds will get acne at some time. Acne can affect people of all races and all ages. It most commonly effects adolescents and young adults, although there are people in their fifties who still experience acne. The first thing to remember when getting frustrated with your acne is that everyone is different! The following is a list of potential contributors to acne, however different people experience different triggers and it often takes time to correctly identify what may be causing reoccurring acne.
Individual Factors – something specific about each person.
Hormones – Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives also can affect sebum production. And low amounts of androgens circulate in the blood of women which can worsen acne.
Genetics – Genes are not destiny, of course. Having ‘acne prone genes’ does not mean you automatically get or, or that there is nothing you can do about it. What genes do is make it more or less likely that you experience acne, given certain environmental influence which would also increase your chances. Genes influence how sensitive your skin is to hormones and also influence the strength of inflammatory response to bacteria.
2. Environmental/Situational Factors – something the individual is exposed to.
Certain medications – drugs containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium can potentially worsen acne in some individuals.
Diet – Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods (such as bread, bagels, and chips, etc.) may trigger acne.
Greasy foods/Work place – Eating greasy foods has little to no effect on acne. Though working in a greasy area, such as a kitchen with fry vats, does because the oil can stick to the skin and block the hair follicles. This further irritates the skin or promotes acne.
Stress – when your body is stressed, there is a hormone fluctuation that causes an increase in the amount of oil your skin secretes, which can cause acne to form or worsen during this time.
Dirty skin – Acne is not caused by dirt. In fact, scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals irritates the skin and can make acne worse.
How to Combat Acne
In order to remove already active acne on/under the skin, Lucie’s MediSpa uses the SharpLight acne head to create a chemical process generated and triggered by the 415nm wavelength, which causes the destruction of the Propionebacterium Acne and the blood cells which feed the acne lesion. The process of destroying acne is done so through selective porphyrin reaction. These prophyrins absorb light and in the photo-excitation process they release singlet (free radicals), which destroys the bacteria. Therefore, decreasing the number of inflammatory acne lesions by 60-70%. Blue and yellow wavelengths (found in IPL applications) coagulate the small blood vessels which feed the acne lesions. Reaction with the hemoglobin releases oxygen molecules that destroy the acne (blue light). In addition to the above, dermal heating also contributes to the resolution of acne.