Top tips for dealing with acne
What if, as an adult, you still got more than the odd spot?
What if you cut out dairy, ate well and cleansed thoroughly every night and still your skin constantly flared up?
What if you never slept in your make-up and tried out every single lotion and potion available and yet your skin just wouldn't clear?
Welcome to the world of adult acne.
If you thought you left spots behind when you stopped wearing school uniform, think again; it's estimated that one in five women between the ages of 25 and 40 suffer from adult acne.
If you're one of those, you'll know how unbearable it is. From dipping your chin when you talk, to not letting anybody see you without make-up on, spots are not a pleasant experience. So we've looked into exactly how to tackle the problem once and for all with one patient's case study documenting how to become acne free.
Forget about cutting out certain foods from your diet and trawling the internet for miracle solutions, first things first, go and see your doctor. Whether you opt to see a dermatologist privately or through your GP, it really pays to visit the experts.
We've called upon the expertise of renowned Harley Street skin specialist Dr. Adam Friedmann. And within seconds he has busted the myth that acne is caused by you.
"The thing that upsets me is when people think they can fix their own acne. They spend two years going through the whole diet; changing this, changing that, and then at the end of two years it hasn't worked, because acne is not related to diet. It's generally just genetic bad luck," he told Cover Media matter-of-factly.
So luck and genes have dealt you a bad hand, but now is the time to fix that. And by fix we mean clear it once and for all.
Acne is caused by one of three things; overactive hormones, overactive grease glands or bacterial infection. So dermatologists use three prongs of treatment: bacteria, hormones, overactive glands.
Obviously acne can be calmed down with the contraceptive pill or antibiotics, but Dr. Friedmann points out these are only ever a short-term solution.
"These both suppress the acne and treat the issue, but not the underlying cause. Bacteria will disappear and inflammation goes down, which means you feel better so you stop the drugs and it then it comes back again," he explained.
So what can be done? For dermatologists, prescribing Roaccutane is the logical next step. Many people will have alarm bells sounding at the mention of the R word, as much has been made of the dangers the drug poses: namely depression and suicide risk.
"The risks, the ones you hear about all the time, are ironically the far and away rarest; depression, suicidal idealisation and mood change," Dr. Friedmann said. "The [depression] risk is considered to be one in 10,000, which is lower than the risk when you're not on Roaccutane. Suicidal risk is thought to be one in 50,000, which again is lower than the suicidal risk when you're not on Roaccutane.
"This is the drug that all dermatologists are very supportive of, but the media is very wary of," Dr. Friedmann added.
He does concede that it can have an effect on mood, with one in 30 patients feeling moody or grumpy. However, the majority of patients do well on the drug, with two thirds' acne cleared for life after a 20-week treatment. One third's acne will come back to a degree, but they tend to get a nice long "holiday" from it, with acne normally less severe when, and if, it does return. Only about one or two per cent don't clear at all or find their acne comes back as bad as ever.
So how does it work?
"Roaccutane takes the overactive grease glands and switches them all off. But instead of being overactive, they are now back to normal, therefore no inflammation, no bacteria and the hormones don't make them go crazy. The underlying issue has been fixed," Dr. Friedmann outlined.
The quest for clear skin now begins. Next we will look into starting Roaccutane.