Acne Facts

Acne may be caused by a variety factors including genetic, dietary, hormonal and environmental.

A clear and simple skin care regime is the cornerstone of acne treatment Different types of acne will respond to different treatments- hormonal acne is treated differently compared to blackhead acne or cystic acne Severe forms of acne should be treated early and aggressively as this will reduce the incidence of acne scars. At the Banwell Clinic and Skin Health, we will find a solution for your acne. Our aim is to treat your acne, prevent recurrence and treat any existing acne scars.

Causes of acne

Both men and women produce naturally occurring hormones. These hormones stimulate the oil glands in the skin to produce a substance called sebum. The production of keratin in combination with sebum results in overpopulation of the bacteria, in turn causing inflammation.

There are many factors, which can aggravate acne, including hormonal imbalances; environmental factors (heat and humidity), stress, diet and incorrect skin care products. 

Acne Treatments

There are many treatments available to treat acne depending on the severity and the cause of acne. Treatments will also depend on individual factors such as the age of the patient, lifestyle choices, type of acne, the presence of scarring, and your current/previous acne treatments.

Mr Banwell can choose from a variety of prescription creams, tablets, chemical peels, light and laser treatments to treat acne and place it in remission. We also have programs to help prevent and treat acne scarring.

The relevance of diet in acne

Diet is not the sole cause of acne but in some patients dietary factors may exacerbate their condition. Eating a healthy and well balanced diet may reduce the flare up of acne.

We suggest you try the following dietary tips to help with acne control-

Eat less sugar and process foods- cut out your junk food, and sweets

Eat more complex carbohydrates

Eat protein in moderation

Eat less dairy foods-ie. Consume less milk, ice cream and yoghurt

Consider soy milk as a substitute for real milk

Eat foods high in folate and zinc. You may wish to try taking zinc supplements

The role of roaccutane in acne care

In severe cases of acne such as cystic acne, vitamin A creams are not effective in controlling the condition. Dermatologists have the option of prescribing Isotretinoin by tablet form. This form of Vitamin A is also known as Roaccutane.

This prescribed medicine is 99% effective in the treatment of acne, including severe cystic acne

20% of patients will need only one course of treatment

Treatment course varies between 6- 18 months depending on the dose, side effects and severity of your acne

Common side effects include dry skin, dry lips, sun sensitivity and dry eyes

Uncommon side effects include liver abnormalities, in grown toenails, elevation of cholesterol levels and psychiatric symptoms. * For all side effects, please read Product Information guide provided with prescription

A flare up of your acne can be expected early in the course of treatment

Female patients MUST NOT get pregnant whilst on Roaccutane – otherwise babies born will have abnormalities

Roaccutane is ‘out of your system’ by one month

Roaccutane is Specialist Only prescription and is a restricted drug

Roaccutane is first line treatment for cystic and scarring acne

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the scientific basis to acne treatment?

    Our aim at the Banwell Clinic is to take a scientific and medical approach to acne and start an effective treatment, investigation and remission program for your condition. Our acne treatment programs are designed around your type of acne and your lifestyle.

    Treatments are aimed at addressing the factors which cause acne- that is decreasing sebum (oil) production, reducing the amount of keratin shedding, and decreasing both inflammation and the bacteria in the sebaceous glands. Daily skin care is very important in the treatment of acne – Mr Banwell will best advise you on the correct products to use and will tailor a treatment plan to suit you. After your acne treatments are complete, we offer advice on how to best care for your skin in the future - ensuring that you achieve the best possible cure. Acne scar revision can then be addressed once acne is in remission.

  • What is the role of medical grade skin care (cosmeceuticals) in acne?

    Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) is perhaps the most often used preparation for acne treatment and is found in lower strengths in OTC preparations as well as at a higher strength in cosmeceuticals. It should be used in combination

    Topical retinoids are derivatives of Vitamin A and are an important part of acne treatment. In fact, the benefits of Vitamin A as an anti-ageing treatment were discovered as a side effect of its acne indication!.  Retinoids target abnormal keratinization of the skin, decreasing skin turnover and essentially unclog pores at the molecular level. They remain as the cornerstone of acne management and treat one of the most important causes of acne - abnormal keratin formation (clogged pores.)  Retinoids can medically prescribed preparations or more commonly as retinaldehyde as found in cosmeceuticals – this form is often a little less sensitizing to the skin.

    Salicylic acid formulations (a beta hydroxy acid) are also extremely useful for the treatment of acne. It has a lipid soluble action and is therefore keratolytic and helps unclog pores as well as being an anti-inflammatory. At higher strengths it can be used as an effective maintenance chemical peel for acne sufferers.

    Niacinamide (vit B3 or nicatinamide) is a powerful immune modulant but also exhibits useful profiling in terms of reducing sebum production. This serum should be used on a daily basis in association with other products.

  • What is the role of Antibiotics in acne treatment?

    Traditionally oral antibiotics have been used as the mainstay of acne treatments, however it now regarded that treatment should be combined with a Vitamin A product to decrease antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics target the bacteria known as Propionobactreium acnes. Antibiotics are best suited to more inflammatory pustular lesions of acne. A course of at least 10 weeks is recommended. Mr Banwell will recommend a suitable prescription although he uses Tetralysal on a regular basis.

  • What is the role of LED light treatments in acne?

    LED (Light emitting diode) is both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial – it works by destroying the bacteria that causes acne and at the same time decreases inflammation in the skin. Red light also promotes collagen production in the deeper layers of your skin, thereby reducing the effects of scarring. The end result is clearer skin, with less redness and scarring. The combination LED treatment with RED and BLUE from DermaLux can be very effective and is often used in combination with alpha and beta hydroxy chemical peels

  • Are chemical peels useful in acne treatment?

    Chemical peels are designed to exfoliate the skin surface, reduce keratin formation, decrease bacteria counts and reduce inflammation.  They are an excellent way of treating comedomal acne (white heads and black heads).

    Mr Banwell and his clinical team will customise a concentration suited for your skin type and sensitivity.  A combination of alpha and beta hydroxy acid peels are usually used.

  • What hormonal treatments are available for acne?

    Hormonal treatments are aimed at targeting androgens that can increase oil and sebum production. For females we recommend the oral contraceptive pill. Please do consult your general practitioner in regards to the use of the oral contraceptive pill.

    Hormonal treatments often take 3 months to be effective. They can be effective in the treatment of adult female jaw line acne. Additionally if there is worsening of acne with the period cycle, then the pill maybe an effective way of reducing your acne flares.

    Adult acne can also be treated with anti-hormones called spironolactone. This tablet has a good safety profile, and is ideal for female patients who do not want to go onto Roaccutane therapy. Spironolactone can be taken for many years with minimal side effects- higher does of this tablet can upset your potassium level and hence intermittent blood tests are required. Rare side effects include menstrual irregularities, breast tenderness and dizziness.

Please contact Mr Banwell's office on 01342 330302 or email help@skinhealth.org.uk for further information.

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