Acne Treatments on Harley Street, Marylebone
What is acne?
Acne is a common skin condition that affects many teenagers and young adults. It is rarer, but acne can occur in children and older adults. If you have acne, your skin becomes very spotty. The spots mainly affect the face and neck but can also break out on your chest and back. Acne is completely different from the regular crop of spots that affect all but a very few lucky adolescents.
If you are concerned that you suffer from acne, then please call one of our acne dermatologists at our clinics on Harley Street, Northwood, or one of our other London Clinics.Book Consultation
Acne is defined by the appearance of three specific types of acne, all of which must be present for a diagnosis of acne to be made:
Acne is a skin condition affected by hormonal changes, which is why it is so common around puberty. Young people with severe acne should seek advice from an acne dermatologist and treatment as prompt therapy can reduce the scarring that can then persist into adult life.
If you have acne but have had no success with over-the-counter products then it is probably time for you to visit a dermatologist or skin clinic. At Cedars Dermatology Clinic, Harley Street & London we can assess the severity of your acne and recommend acne treatments and skincare products that are most likely to help your condition.
Spots that are filled with pus. These look red around the edge, then yellow in the centre, and can burst and release pus. Squeezing pustules causes further skin damage and spreads the bacteria that cause infection.
These are the pre-runners of pustules. The skin looks red and has a distinct lump, but no pus-filled head.
this is a collective term for blackheads and whiteheads, which are blocked hair follicles. A layer of skin covers whiteheads, blackheads are open pores full of debris.
Acne treatments at Harley Street, Marylebone & Northwood by our Acne Dermatologists
Acne treatments fall into the following categories:
- Topical treatments: usually creams or gels applied directly to the affected skin
- Oral antibiotics: antibiotics in the form of pills that you will need to swallow each day for the required time period.
- Oral contraceptive pills or other hormone-modulating tablets: these can control the fluctuations in hormone levels that can cause acne flare-ups.
- Isotretinoin capsules: these are used only in very severe cases and when the acne does not respond to other treatments.
- Chemical peels: Half a dozen chemical peel treatments have been shown to reduce acne breakouts by about 50% and this can be considered in very severe cases.
- Photodynamic therapy: this involves adding a cream to the affected area that contains a light-sensitive drug. The application of strong light activates the drug, which then acts on sebaceous glands and rapidly divides skin cells to reduce oil production and spots.
Wish I had done this earlier!
“I had been suffering from acne for about 10 months before a friend recommended Dr Anjali Mahto. My acne was making me feel incredibly upset and impacting my confidence. I started to avoid seeing friends and family and I knew I had to do something. Dr Mahto was fabulous from the moment I met her at my initial consultation. She was so welcoming, caring, personable, and friendly and made me feel comfortable immediately. Dr Mahto listened to how I felt and could empathize with me. Dr Mahto answered all my questions and addressed my worries which reassured me. I only wish I had made an appointment earlier!”
FAQs about acne treatment at our Harley Street, Marylebone and Northwood Clinics.
So there are several different sorts of acne, and acne can manifest in loads of different ways. The initial thing that you tend to see is blackheads or whiteheads, and the medical word for that is comedones. As acne progress, you can get little red bumps on the skin. So papules, again, is the medical word for that. And then sometimes these red bumps can become filled with pus, and then you can have pustules. And then as acne increases in severity, you can start to get the deeper, red spots there. They’re the ones that you can’t squeeze, they are quite painful, they last for a few weeks in time, and they’re nodules or cysts.
So I think the best way to manage acne is with a multidisciplinary approach. The dermatologists at our Harley Street, Marylebone clinic obviously are going to give you good skincare guidance, but if your acne is affecting your self-esteem, then it can be beneficial to see a clinical psychologist. If you’ve noticed that your acne is flaring up with certain foods, yoghurt or cheese, it may be worthwhile seeing a dietitian to find out whether there are certain foods that you can cut out to see if that will make a difference to your skin. So I think actually taking that approach is a good idea. And then the last thing, actually is your skincare, making sure your skincare is appropriate and again, your acne dermatologist will be able to guide you on that.
So, for some reason, we are seeing adult acne much more commonly in our clinics over the past decade, and we don’t really know what the reason for that is. But what I can say is, adult acne affects women more so than men and the thinking behind that is, women have much more complex hormonal patterns during their cycles. So, adult acne will affect about 20% of women, and about 8% of men.
There must be something that we are doing differently for the prevalence of adult acne to be increasing, but I don’t think we have the answer to that. There must be something either about the way that we’re living or what we’re eating that has changed, but I don’t think we know what the answer to that is yet.
There are a number of things you should be doing to look after your skin and achieve clear skin, particularly in the context of acne. It is important to first follow your acne dermatologist’s treatment plan. Secondly, make sure that you are using the right skincare products, that probably your dermatologist has recommended for you, that aren’t causing problems with blackheads. So using products that are non-comedogenic is a good idea. Lastly, it’s a good idea to also look at the rest of your life. So make sure that you are eating well, that you are getting enough sleep and if you are prone to stress, as stress is a cause of breaking out, you are looking at ways of managing that.
The diet question’s really interesting. So, before the 1960s, the diet used to be something that everybody got told about as far as treating their acne goes. You know, acne sufferers were told by dermatologists in the ’50s and ’60s, “It’s really important that you don’t have sweets and sugar.” But after two really pivotal studies in the 1960s, that completely fell out of favour. So, dermatologists then started advising their patients, “There’s no role whatsoever.” But certainly, in the past ten years, there is growing evidence that in a select group of patients, acne, in particular, high GI foods, so refined sugars and processed foods, and to a lesser degree, dairy, does actually have a role to play.
Here are our top four tips for managing acne.
Tip one: It’s really important to make sure you clean your skin. If you’re wearing a lot of products on your skin to hide your acne, they can actually promote the formation of blackheads. So it’s a good idea to make sure you take all your makeup off.
Tip two: Clean your mobile phone regularly. Your mobile phone pressed against your cheek generates heat. Mobile phone surfaces also tend to carry a lot of bacteria. Heat from the phone, and bacteria on the surface of the phone can promote the formation of spots on your lower face. So it’s a good idea to keep handy wipes in your bag, that you can use to regularly clean the surface of your phone.
Tip three: Get enough sleep. It’s really important to get a good eight hours of sleep at night. The reason for this is, its recognised inflammatory skin conditions like acne can be aggravated by stress. And not getting enough sleep may contribute to this.
Tip four: Don’t pick your spots. Picking your spots will lead to scarring, and it can also result in pushing your acne inflammation deeper. So stay away from picking anything.
The benefit of seeing a dermatologist rather than any other health care professional for acne is that it’s only dermatologists that will be able to provide you with every single treatment going. There are certain drugs that are specialist-only drugs that non-dermatologists should not be prescribed, so a dermatologist will have access to all the potential oral agents as well as non-invasive medical devices.
Firstly, there is a family history. Most people that have got a parent or a first-degree relative that suffered from acne, are much more likely to suffer from it themselves. With that said acne tends to affect most people at some point in their lives. About 80% of people will suffer from acne at some point. It’s also just a very common skin problem, and that’s because of hormonal fluctuations, particularly through puberty.