At The Mayah Clinic, Dr Kathryn Holmes (above) and her professional team treat a wide variety of skin concerns. Their goal is to teach clients how to look after their skin - to achieve true skin wellness. One of the common concerns of clients coming into the clinic is acne, so this month We asked Dr Holmes why people should worry about treating acne.
If you leave it, won’t it usually go away? If you leave acne untreated it can result in permanent scars and marks on the skin. As well as that, acne is painful making skin tender and more sensitive. This then can make a person feel less confident in themselves and even depressed.
Do many people suffer from acne? Acne is much more common than some people think! It affects 90% of teenagers, 50% of adult women and a smaller percentage of adult men. All our lives, skin goes through a process of shedding dead skin cells and producing oil. This shedding process is affected by our hormones, genetics, diet and environmental factors. Clogged pores and pimples start when these elements come together in a particular way. Then pores get clogged, and particular skin bacteria can flourish, causing inflammation in the pore and the surrounding skin. Blackheads, pimples and cysts are all part of acne.
Does dirt cause pimples? Not really. It’s dead cells and oils in the skin that are involved. In fact, if we over cleanse our skin, or scrub it too hard with rough, scratchy scrubs, our oil-producing glands will be triggered to make MORE oil. This just makes everything worse! Drying out the surface of the skin with alcoholic toners will cause this too. The result will be dry, flaky skin on the surface and heaps of oil being produced from deeper down.
Is the sun good for acne? NO! UV light messes with the skin’s immune system and barrier function. Not only will it make acne worse, but it will also often darken scars and marks caused by the acne. Finding a light textured sunscreen that will not block pores but is SPF 50+ should be a priority for acne sufferers.
Can anything I eat affect my acne? There is now evidence that dairy products in the diet can trigger acne or make it worse. The current idea is that the hormones in milk might be the culprit, but this is still being investigated. Remember that a lot of protein shakes can be like concentrated milk products.
Also, there is evidence now that foods that make our blood sugar spike can make acne worse. This means that high-fibre, whole grain foods, nuts and pulses are best, instead of simple, refined sugar and white flour. For chocolate lovers - well- there is no solid evidence. It would make sense that the spiking of the blood sugar would still be an issue, but dark chocolate is full of anti-oxidants that skin loves.
Greasy food like pizza and chips don’t directly create oil on the skin, BUT saturated dietary fat can cause inflammation in all our body organs, including the skin.
What can be done then? A treatment plan will be different depending on skin type, age, and severity of the acne. There is a wide range of options, from active, effective home skin care, active facials, LED light, Broadband Light and Laser, Microneedling, and prescription medications. My advice would be not to waste money on products with a lot of marketing hype. See a professional that you trust, and who will listen to you, understand your needs and recommend a reliable solution.
The Mayah Clinic aims for skin wellness for all clients. It offers Broadband Light and Skin Laser, Cosmetic Tattooing, Rationale Enzyme Facials, Brow and Lash treatments, Microneedling, Cold Laser, Photonsmart LED, Cosmetic Antiwrinkle and Filler Injections, ThermiVa vaginal rejuvenation, ThermiSmooth skin rejuvenation. The Clinic carries Rationale Skin Care, DNA Renewal SkinCare, Biretix Skin Care, and Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup.