Acne is about too many cells, which build up in the soft tissue in small spaces in the skin known as hair follicles. This increasing accumulation of cells eventually mixes with other components in the follicle and builds a plug so that the opening is blocked and there is no exit to the surface of the skin. Without the normal capability to move the oil and cells to the surface these cells they continue to accumulate, the follicle swells, various biological triggers occur creating inflammation, and this becomes that dreaded pimple!
Science has come a long way in discovering the mechanisms of skin cell regeneration and what occurs to create the responses that happen to develop acne, but not all of the facts to undo this malfunction of the cells are known. We do know that it can be controlled through proper exfoliation to help normalize the skin cell turnover and that by clearing the debris collected in the follicle it reduces the chance that it will advance to a larger impaction and create an unsightly blemish possibly leading to scarring. The most important factor in the control of acne is to minimize permanent scarring from the inflammatory activity that results when acne is left untreated.
Under normal skin conditions the sebum (oil) produced in the pore spreads out over the skin and provides an acidic pH. This is known as the “acid mantle” and is a protective barrier preventing the invasion of viruses or bacteria in the environment. Therefore, the oil provides a beneficial skin function under the right conditions.
Acne can be either non-inflamed or inflamed, create whiteheads or blackheads, pustules or large painful nodules or cysts. Each of these is treated differently with respect to product approach and skin treatments. The first order of treatment in my esthetic practice approach is to bring the inflamed acne under control. Techniques that kill bacteria deep in the skin such as Blue LED and the use of high frequency current reduce the breakouts. Extraction of blocked follicles that appear as blackheads or whiteheads can be relieved and allow for the normal transfer of oil and healing of the expanded follicles.
Much of what medicine has offered for acne has not proven to be effective over a long term, and often the treatment with antibiotics and Accutane has resulted in long-term and serious side effects for some individuals.
It is my understanding from review of what nutritionists offer is that the over development of skin cells based on lack of certain vitamins or minerals, stress creating adrenaline release and resulting hormone imbalances, and certain environmental factors can all be directly correlated with the development of acne. I encourage a multifaceted approach looking at diet and lifestyle to also coincide with my acne treatments and homecare products.