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Treating acne

A condition that can cause long-term physical and psychological distress, persistent acne can lead to inflammation, scarring and certain types of hyperpigmentation. It affects around 80 percent of all adolescents and can sometimes extend into adulthood.

Acne can stem from several different causes, including diet, hormone imbalances, genetics or personal hygiene. Clearing the skin of persistent acne can prove an arduous, traumatising and prolonged experience. But there’s hope – active skincare from allmedic, commonly used alongside photodynamic therapy, offers an effective way to help reduce the appearance of acne for long-term results.

Queensland cosmetic physician Dr Doug Grose sees TreATing acne Allmedic uses a systematic, results-Driven approach to manaGe anD resolve acne. caitlin Bishop reports.

Practitioner acne Masterclass

An emerging trend in general practice involves subspecialising in an area of medicine such as acne.

allmedic will be hosting an Acne Management MasterClass in Melbourne on June 14. ‘This will be a whole day dedicated to understanding acne, and acne treatment, in serious detail,’ Dr Grose explains. ‘It will also include sessions on how diet and skincare can be combined to achieve the best results.’ For more information call 1300 652 969 or visit first-hand the psychological effect acne has on many of his patients. ‘The most common side effect is social isolation of some extent,’ he explains. ‘Some female acne sufferers say they wouldn’t want to leave their bedroom, let alone their house, without makeup.’

Physiologically, acne is caused by an overproduction of sebum combined with overactivity of skin cells at the opening of the hair follicles. This sebum, alongside dead skin cells and debris, can cause blockages in the skin’s pores, where the hair follicle opens. On top of this, bacteria found naturally on the skin become active in the blocked follicle, leading to infection and inflammation seen as red, sometimes tender lumps.

‘patients, particularly those in their adolescence, come to me thinking acne is normal, but it isn’t at all,’ Dr Grose explains. ‘Acne is a disease of the hair follicles, and effective treatment calls for medical help. Something like 70 percent of people do not seek medical attention for acne, and this attitude needs to change.’

In-clinic treatment

Traditionally, acne sufferers have looked to antibiotics or prescription treatments to shed dead skin cells, reduce oil production, fight bacterial infection and limit the inflammation associated with acne. Roaccutane – a derivative of Vitamin A – is commonly used in severe cases, though Dr Grose explains long-term use can have serious side effects and antibiotic or prescription options are not always suitable.

‘Antibiotic treatment is generally long term (anywhere between three and 12 months) and, for some people, that is a concern,’ Dr Grose says. ‘Roaccutane capsules can cause serious side effects: for example, women should not conceive while taking Roaccutane, as it can lead to birth defects; it has a known association with depression; and young men sometimes experience hair loss during Roaccutane use.’

According to Dr Grose, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) can be a viable alternative for clearing the skin and achieving long-term results in acne management.

PDT uses light emitting diode (LED) technology to treat a range of skin conditions – from sun damage to oily, acneprone skin. It is a non-invasive procedure that helps kickstart the skin’s internal processes and boost skin health. ‘Before PDT treatment, we apply a sensitising agent on the skin, which is attracted to cells that are over replicating – in acne patients, these are over-active oil cells,’ says Dr Grose. ‘We leave this agent on for a time – called the incubation period – and then use red and blue light to cause a reaction in the skin. The sensitising lotion harnesses the light energy to produce free radicals and destroy the overproductive cells.’

Dr Grose typically recommends two or three PDT treatments for acne patients, performed about a month apart. ‘We usually find the results are long lasting, especially if the patients follow a corrective skincare regime and make some essential diet adjustments,’ he adds. ‘We have found that by stripping carbohydrates from the diet we can see a huge difference in acne and the skin.’

At-home treatment

allmedic has developed a range of products to target acne: the face & body cleanser, face & body exfoliator and allclear lotion. Used as a three-step skincare program, the products are specifically formulated to help improve the appearance of acne.

Integral to the range is the allclear lotion, which helps to clear acne by de-greasing the skin’s surface, optimising the skin’s pH and using anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal ingredients. ‘The allclear lotion helps reduce inflammation and open the hair follicles,’ says Dr Grose. ‘After using PDT to get acne under control, we can maintain results and optimise skin health using the allmedic range.’

By combining effective skincare with light therapy, the need for more severe treatments can be avoided and clear, healthy skin can be achieved. ‘One of my patients, a woman in her 30s who responded remarkably well to acne treatment, said people treat her differently now her skin is clear,’ Dr Grose recalls. ‘She notices that people will look at her face while she talks to them, as opposed to looking away. Clear, acne-free skin can truly work wonders for a person’s confidence.’ csbm