Acne Vulgaris Breakouts
Acne Vulgaris is the eight most common disease affecting individuals worldwide. Acne vulgaris can affect children and adults although most cases begin during the adolescent period. The clinical presentation can vary in severity and is often linked to psychological distress, embarrassment and low self-esteem. The relentless effects of untreated acne vulgaris can lead to pigmentary (hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation) changes and permanent (atrophic, hypertrophic and keloid) scarring.
What causes acne vulgaris breakouts can differ from one individual to the next. It may be triggered by stress, food, hormones, and even certain skin care products.
Inflammatory acne vulgaris is one of the most common forms of acne, and often causes significant discomfort. They mainly take the form of red spots (papules) and pus filled spots (pustules). It can occur at many locations including the face, jaw, neck, chest, shoulders and back. It often arises from comedomes (blackheads and whiteheads). Did you know that Whiteheads compared to Blackheads are especially prone to inflammation as the pores are clogged within the skin?
Inflammatory acne can quickly progress to more severe forms of acne such as Cystic Acne if not treated early. Quite frequently, inflammatory acne vulgaris breakouts can leave behind acne marks, acne pigmentation and acne scars due to the underlying inflammatory process.
Why do I get inflammatory Acne Vulgaris?
Acne vulgaris breakouts are common in both teenagers and adults alike. It can present itself rather quickly and may persists over weeks, months and even years.
Genetics, hormones, diet and stress can be factors that contribute to what causes acne breakouts. In addition, the use of certain cosmetic products, diets and lifestyle habits may make you more prone to acne. Over washing the face worsens the problem as the protective skin oils are stripped away from the skin’s surface.
What Skin Products Should I Use?
A well-balanced, simple and effective skin care regime is a fundamental step at maintaining skin health. The number of skin care products in the market can be overwhelming, but a general guide is as follows:
- Use a gentle non-alkaline facial cleaner
- Oil free skin care products
- Non-comedogenic skin care products
- Power based foundation (to soak up excess oil)
- Sunscreen that contains Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide to lessen risk of skin irritation.
- Remove make up at the end of the day
Using products that are not oil-free, comedogenic, and applying thicker formulation skin care products can clog pores. These products may be what causes acne breakouts in the first place.
Should I Pop My Pimple?
Diet And Acne
In general, a healthy well-balanced diet is recommended.
Although there is some evidence that low-glycaemic index diets may improve acne, a measured and sensible approach must be taken. The glycaemic index groups food on a scale of 0-100 based on how fast and how much they raise the blood glucose after eating. Factors such as amount and type of sugar, amount of soluble fire and cooking processes affects the glycaemic index.
While the number of studies remain small, some food stuff that may be implicated include dairy products (especially skim milk), chocolates and whey products.
Types of Acne Vulgaris
What treatment options are available for Inflammatory Acne Vulgaris?
The treatment depends on the severity of your acne, your medical history, allergies, skin type and skin sensitivity. Often, combining treatments are more effective at targeting the different processes of acne to give a better outcome.
- Topical Acne Creams
Prescription Acne creams containing a combination of a retinoid and benzoyl peroxide have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-comedomal properties to provide a multi-prong approach to acne.
- Oral Antibiotics
Antibiotics are a mainstay of treatment for inflammatory acne, and work by reducing bacterial load and inflammation. Antibiotics have proven to be safe and effective in many studies to treat acne. A course of treatment may last at least 3 months. First line treatment include Doxycycline, however there is an emerging trend of antibiotic resistant acne worldwide.
- Oral Retinoids
Oral Isotretinoin is a form Vitamin A medications that work extremely well in acne and are currently the most effective treatment for severe acne. It reduces oil secretion by 90% within 6 weeks of treatment, reduces whiteheads and blackheads by 90% within 3 months and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
A consultation is necessary to discuss about the side effects, suitability and precautions before starting oral retinoids.
100% Drug Free Acne Vulgaris Treatments
The Microdermabrasion Hydra Plus Facial treatment is a non-invasive, multi-step treatment that uses a unique delivery system to cleanse, exfoliate, extract and oxygenate your skin. It performs multiple effect of clearing away impurities, dead skin cells, blackheads and whiteheads; and infusing essential nutrients to restore your skin back to health.
The Carbon Peel Laser is delivered using laser energy to improve pore size and acne vulgaris breakouts. This form of acne treatment is 100% drug free and utilizes laser energy to reduced inflammation, pore size, sebum production and stimulates collagen.
When can I start to see improvement?
Every individual is different in his or her genetic make up and response to acne treatment. Acne vulgaris treatment is usually slowly responsive in the beginning stages as you are getting used to and incorporating the treatment into your routine.
On average, you may notice some improvement in your skin condition within 6-8 weeks. Most patients require treatment for at least 4-6 months and maintenance thereafter.
It is important that acne vulgaris breakouts are treated. Appropriate treatments reduce skin scarring, acne marks and pigmentation. Thereafter, maintenance therapy is vital to keep acne at bay and lessen the chance of a breakout.
How can I improve my Acne Scars?
Acne scarring is an unfortunate complication of acne. It often results from acne that has been left untreated and resultant damage done to the dermal layer of the skin. Severe forms of acne such as cystic acne have a much higher risk of scarring.
There are many forms of acne scars, and acne scar revision will depend on the type or types of acne scar you have.
- Jeremy AH, Holland DB, Roberts SG, Thomson KF, Cunliffe WJ. Inflammatory events are involved in acne lesion initiation. J Invest Dermatol. 2003 Jul. 121(1):20-7.
- Barnes LE, Levender MM, Fleischer AB Jr, Feldman SR. Quality of life measures for acne patients. Dermatol Clin. 2012 Apr. 30(2):293-300, ix.
- Acne Vulgaris Management: NICE guidelines (2021). Click here.
- Oon, H. H., Wong, S. N., Aw, D., Cheong, W. K., Goh, C. L., & Tan, H. H. (2019). Acne Management Guidelines by the Dermatological Society of Singapore. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 12(7), 34–50.