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Clear Skin, Clear Mind: Understanding Acne Causes, Effects, and Treatments in Christchurch, Dorset

Hey guys, Dr. Sandra Gamper here.

June is Acne Awareness Month, and it's a perfect time to delve into understanding acne, its causes, and how we can manage it effectively with both home skincare and professional treatments. Let’s explore this common skin condition.

Teen Girl with Acne Problem Squeezing Pimple Indoors
Acne is a chronic skin condition which affects most of us

What Causes Acne?

It’s highly likely that most of us have suffered with acne at some point in our lives (and I'm very envious if not). Acne has its highest prevalence during adolescence, with some statistics suggesting that 85% of 12-24 year-olds are affected. It is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is characterized by the presence of blackheads, whiteheads (comedones), and pus-filled spots (pustules). It typically starts during puberty due to hormonal changes and can range from a few spots to a more severe form, that may cause scarring and reduce self-confidence.

But what exactly causes acne? Our sebaceous (oil-producing) glands can be particularly sensitive to hormones  (increased levels of androgens), leading to the production of excess oil. Simultaneously, the pores become thickened and dead skin cells are not shed properly. The oil and dead skin cells build up, plugging the pores and producing blackheads and whiteheads. In this environment, acne bacteria (Cutibacterium acnes) can thrive and multiply, leading to inflammation and the formation of red, swollen, or pus-filled spots.

Why Does Acne Matter?

Acne is not just a superficial concern; it can have significant effects on mood and self-esteem. Many studies have shown that acne itself has a negative psychological impact. For instance, severe acne has been associated with suicidal behaviour. If you are suffering from acne and are feeling depressed, anxious, or suicidal, it is crucial to speak to your GP about these feelings as soon as possible.

aesthetic doctor in skin clinic doing a full skin consultation and skin analysis

Can Acne Be Cured?

While there is no definitive ‘cure’ for acne, the available treatments can be very effective in preventing the formation of new spots and reducing scarring. Topical treatments are the first line of defense and can include a range of cosmeceuticals (look for products with salicylic acid) and prescribed agents. Other treatments can include oral antibiotics, the contraceptive pill (for women), and oral isotretinoin (the latter can only be prescribed by a dermatologist).

Top Home Skincare Ingredients for Acne-Prone Skin

Are you ready to conquer those stubborn blemishes? Whether you're new to skincare or a seasoned beauty aficionado, this section serves as your key guide to achieving clearer skin. It's time to embrace skin confidence with these five transformative ingredients...

1. Salicylic Acid: The Pore Refiner

Salicylic acid acts as a superhero for skin prone to acne. This lipid-soluble ingredient penetrates deep into your pores, eliminating excess sebum and dead skin cells, resulting in smoother skin and refined pores.

**Expert Advice:** Opt for products containing a 2% concentration for optimal results.

2. Benzoyl Peroxide: The Acne Fighter

Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) is antimicrobial and is your ally in combating acne-causing bacteria. While highly effective, it may be harsh for sensitive skin.

**Expert Advice:** If BPO causes irritation, consider short contact therapy. Apply it for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off for remarkable results.

3. Niacinamide: The Versatile Performer

Niacinamide, a derivative of Vitamin B3, is a multitasking marvel. With antioxidant properties, it strengthens the skin barrier, reduces sebum production, addresses hyperpigmentation, and is safe for use during pregnancy.

**Expert Advice:** Niacinamide may already be a part of your skincare routine, eliminating the need for an additional serum unless you prefer a luxurious touch.

4. Azelaic Acid: The Skin Tone Balancer

Azelaic acid excels at normalizing skin cells, unclogging pores, and evening out skin tone. It is particularly beneficial for acne-prone skin and complements other active ingredients beautifully.

**Expert Advice:** Opt for a 15-20% concentration for acne-prone skin and consider using it as a standalone product due to potential compatibility issues.

5. Retinoids: The Comprehensive Solution

Retinoids stand as the pinnacle of acne treatment and overall skin wellness. By increasing cell turnover, reducing blackheads and whiteheads, boosting collagen production, and controlling sebum, they are a versatile tool for addressing post-acne hyperpigmentation.

**Expert Advice:** Begin with a low concentration and gradually increase to allow your skin to adjust to retinoids. Patience is essential for optimal results!

Tips for Creating an Effective Acne-Fighting Skincare Routine

You've got your skincare products with your acne-fighting ingredients, now here's a routine....

1. Cleanse:

Start with a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and makeup without stripping your skin of its natural moisture. Look for cleansers with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

2. Exfoliate:

Use a chemical exfoliant like salicylic acid or an AHA 2-3 times a week maximum to help keep pores clear and skin smooth. Be careful not to over-exfoliate, which can lead to irritation and worsen acne.

3. Treat:

Apply your treatment products, such as benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, or niacinamide. These ingredients help to reduce bacteria, unclog pores, and soothe inflammation.

4. Moisturize:

Yes! Even oily, acne-prone skin needs hydration. Choose a lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic moisturizer to maintain your skin’s barrier without clogging pores. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid for hydration without heaviness.

5. Protect:

Sunscreen is a must, especially when using acne treatments that can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Opt for a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher. Non-comedogenic, oil-free formulas are best for acne-prone skin.

Tips for Effective Acne Home Skincare

  • Consistency is Key: Stick to your routine, as it can take several weeks to see improvement.

  • Avoid Over-Washing: Too much washing can impair your skin barrier and make your skin more prone to breakouts in the future.

  • Patch Test New Products: Whenever possible, before fully integrating a new product into your routine, test it on a small area of skin for a few days to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction.

  • Diet and Lifestyle are absolutely key! This is an area which is expanding. Be sure to look into any dietary triggers (dairy and sugar are common culprits) as well as looking at other feeders of chronic inflammation such as stress, as this can influence your skin’s health.

Acne Treatments at Our Clinic in Christchurch, Bournemouth

Here at Miriderma, located in the heart of Christchurch, Dorset, I am highly experienced in managing acne and would love to discuss any concerns you may have. I offer a range of professional treatments to help you achieve clear, glowing skin:

1. Chemical Peels:

These treatments use powerful acids to exfoliate the skin, reduce acne, and improve skin texture.

2. Microneedling:

This technique stimulates collagen production, helping to reduce scarring and improve skin texture. However, it's crucial to have your acne under control before pursuing microneedling, as it cannot be used on active acne.

3. Prescription Skincare:

As a medical professional, I can prescribe potent ingredients like tretinoin, which is incredibly effective at fighting acne and improving overall skin quality. Tretinoin is one of my staples for stubborn acne because it promotes cell turnover, unclogs pores, and boosts collagen production.

4. LED Light Therapy (Blue Light):

This non-invasive treatment targets acne-causing bacteria, reducing inflammation and breakouts. Blue light therapy is an excellent option for those seeking a gentle yet effective acne treatment.

5. Polynucleotides:

An emerging treatment in acne management, polynucleotides help reduce inflammation and build collagen, making them effective for improving the appearance of acne scarring.


Dr Sandra Gamper skin specialist smiling in Bournemouth clinic

If you’re in Christchurch, Dorset, and struggling with acne, come and visit me at Miriderma. Let’s work together to address your concerns and find the right cosmetic treatment options for you. Clear skin can lead to a clear mind, and I’m here to help you achieve both.


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