Acne is a skin condition that affects more people than you may think. While it’s true that it is often associated with hormonal changes at puberty, adult acne is also relatively common. Some experience it, for the first time in their lives, as late as their thirties, forties or fifties. Over 80% of adult onset acne sufferers are women.
No matter who it strikes, acne is almost always a cause for concern. It usually affects the face (but can also appear on the back, neck and chest), and can therefore undermine self-confidence, especially in young people.
In the most severe cases, and left untreated, acne can lead to permanent scarring, the treatment of which is our subject here. At Dr Haus Dermatology, we maintain that acne should always be treated as early as possible to minimise the risk of scarring. We always aim to treat the active underlying condition before addressing the scarring issue.
People who develop acne are particularly sensitive to blood hormone levels, which causes glands in the skin to produce an excess of oil (or sebum). Dead skin cells lining pores then clog up the hair follicles, causing blackheads (a plug of dead skin cells and oil). The build-up of sebum also activates a skin bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes, which triggers inflammation and the formation of red spots.
In severe acne, large, pus-filled spaces, known as cysts, are formed. These destroy the skin’s integrity, which is not usually restored during the natural healing process. When the cysts eventually empty and the area recovers, they leave behind pits and indentations, and the typical puckered skin appearance we associate with acne.
Treating acne scars first requires an understanding of the several different types of scars which dermatologists classify depending on their shape, depth and colour:
Complete acne scar removal is often difficult, but there are many treatment options available to significantly improve their appearance. We’ve found that, while every case is different and may benefit from a combination of treatments, there is one form of treatment we’d be lost without – the energy-based modalities. Our best outcomes consistently revolve around the use of lasers and radiofrequencies.
Laser scar removal takes away very thin layers of skin (ablative lasers), and can also stimulate collagen growth and tighten underlying skin (non-ablative lasers). Radiofrequencies can be targeted at specific areas deep within the dermal layer to stimulate regrowth of skin structures, while causing minimal damage to upper skin layers.
Other effective treatments include skin peels, fillers, corticosteroid injections, needling and surgical techniques.
In our experience, the treatment protocol that provides the most outstanding results is a combination of ablative laser and skin peels. Physical laser energy perfectly complements the effect of mild chemicals used in peels, with up to 95% improvement in the appearance of scars. Depending on the patient, it may take only three to six treatments to achieve success, with each consultation spaced apart by four to five weeks.
Dr Haus Dermatology in Harley Street has many years of experience treating acne – both the active condition and scars – in men and women of all skin colours and types. As mentioned earlier, we recommend the earliest treatment intervention possible, to limit progression to scarring.
No two people are the same and the treatment programmes our dermatologists recommend will always be tailored to specific symptoms and personal circumstances. We have an excellent track record of success, and pride ourselves on keeping ahead of the curve when it comes to delivering the most effective, sophisticated and least invasive treatment techniques. Here’s what one of our patients has kindly said about her treatment experience with us:
“Dr Haus is gentle, caring and warm, inspiring confidence. He is thorough in his examinations and considerate of my concerns. My main treatment, [ablative] laser to the face, addresses not only a physical, but also a huge emotional issue to me, so I feel supported and in great hands.”
To learn more, or to book a consultation to discuss your condition with a Dermatologist, please telephone us on +44 20 7935 6358, send an enquiry via our Contact Page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.