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What is Acne?

At the Banwell Clinic, we recognise and understand  the physical and emotional problems linked with acne - we have personal experience. We are here to help you and make suggestions for treatments that can help. Phone 0845 2600 261 today for an appointment or email help@paulebanwell.com.

Acne is an extremely common skin condition characterised by comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pus-filled spots (pustues) suffered by adults and teenagers, boys and girls. It usually starts naturally at puberty, during teenage years, and may vary in severity from minor breakouts on the face, back and chest (commonly in adolescence) to a more acute, severe problem like hyperpigmentation or bacne, that may cause embarrassment and physical and emotional scarring. In the majority of patients, acne tends to resolve by the late teens or early twenties but can persist for longer into adult years.

What Causes Acne?

The sebaceous (oil-producing) glands of patients who get acne are particularly sensitive to testosterone levels. This is a natural hormone present in both men and women and causes the sebaceous glands to produce an excess of oil. At the same time, the dead skin cells that are continually being shed from our skin and line the pores are not shed properly and clog up the follicles. This all results in a dermatology issue, with a build-up of oil causing blackheads (where a darkened plug of oil is visible) and whiteheads, as well as possibly leaving marks, a cyst or facial blemish in both male and female patients. Furthermore, in this environment, the acne bacterium (known as Propionibacterium acnes) which lives on everyone’s skin can multiply. This triggers inflammation and when inflamed, leads to the formation of red or pus-filled spots on the face, chin, scalp or forehead, however treatment can remove the signs of acne.

What Does Acne Look Like?

The classical appearances of acne include the following: 1 - oily skin, 2 - blackheads and whiteheads, 3 - red spots, 4 - pus-filled pimples and 5 - scars.

How Can Acne Be Treated?

Many patients treating acne will try over-the-counter skin care preparations to clean or clear up their skin, with variable success. Sometimes, these treatments and remedies may not be effective and therefore it may be advisable to visit your doctor, dermatologist or skin specialist when looking for answers or the best and most safe alternative – these treatments may be prescription-only or non-prescription (such as cosmeceuticals). These treatments fall into the following categories: • Topical treatments (applied to the skin, like a concealer, cream, gel or lotion) • Oral antibiotics (tablets taken by mouth).• Oral contraceptive pills Isotretinoin capsules• Other treatments – microdermabrasion, chemical peels, LED Dermalux light therapy, IPL lasers, cautery, subcision, surgiwire, holistic naturopathic treatments and surgery.

The Banwell Clinic is the only medical clinic in the South East to have a Dermalux LED light  treatment machine. For advanced acne treatment please book in by phoning 0845 2600 261.

Cosmeceuticals

Many patients prefer to avoid prescription medications but want something more effective than those quick preparations obtained in the shops which may not be successful. Many skin specialists will therefore also offer ranges of medical grade cosmeceuticals (eg. Medik8 skin care range, ThreeFIX skin clarity system) that can also be extremely effective in targeting all forms of acne. Niacinamide reduces sebum production and salicylic acid aids shedding of cellular debris (this can be used daily in lower doses or in higher doses as part of a chemical peel regime).

Topical Treatments

There are a variety of active anti-acne agents, creams and products available such as benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics (erythromycin, tetracycline and clindamycin), retinoids (such as tretinoin and isotretinoin), azelaic acid and nicotinamide.

We are also delighted to be able to offer the amazing Dermalux LED light treatment at The Banwell Clinic which utilises red and blue light to treat problematic acne skin. Phone the office today for further information.

Chemical Peels

Beta-hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) is attracted to the lipid content of skin, particularly sebum, found predominantly in follicles. This peel helps to regulate the turnover of epithelial cells and shed unwanted cellular debris. This helps to unclog pores, reducing blackheads and spots. BHA peels help in the treatment of acne and the prevention of excess surface oil. These professional peels are performed on a monthly basis in a clinic and can be used alone or in conjunction with other Procedure Peels. They are often used in combination with the ThreeFIX acne product range.

Oral Antibiotic Treatment

Your doctor may recommend a clinical course of antibiotic tablets that should be taken in combination with a suitable topical treatment. Antibiotics need to be taken for a minimum of two months, and are usually continued until there is no further improvement. Some should not be taken at the same time as food, so please read the instructions carefully.

Oral Contraceptive Treatments

Some types of oral contraceptive pills help women who have acne. The most effective contain a hormone blocker (eg. cyproterone), which reduces the amount of oil the skin produces on a hormonal level. It usually takes three to four months for the benefits to show.

Isotretinoin

This powerful treatment may be very effective but has the potential to cause a number of serious side effects and must therefore be prescribed only by a skin specialist. Reports say Isotretinoin can harm an unborn child, so pregnant women will have to take full contraceptive measures and need to have a negative pregnancy test prior to starting treatment. Pregnancy tests are repeated and under review every month during treatment and five weeks after completing the course of treatment. Effective contraception must be used whilst on treatment, and for four weeks afterwards. There are concerns that isotretinoin may cause depression and suicidal feelings. Details about any personal and family history of mental illness should be discussed with your own doctor and skin specialist prior to considering treatment. Most courses of Isotretinoin last for four months during which time the skin may become red and dry. Often, acne becomes a little worse before improvement occurs.

Please contact Mr Banwell's office on 01342 330302 or email help@paulebanwell.com for further information.

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Skin Care

At a Glance

SURGERY TIME
30 - 60 minutes

HOSPITAL STAY
Out-patients

ANAESTHETIC ASSESSMENT
No

PRE ADMISSION TESTS
No

Sleeping Position
Sleeping on back recommended

REASONABLY MOBILE
Immediately

WASHING
Shower after 1 day

DRIVING
Immediate

Excercise including gym
2 weeks

SEXUAL ACTIVITY
Restricted Activity

FULL RECOVERY
Immediate

TIME OFF WORK
None

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help@paulebanwell.com