I’ve been inundated with messages with many of you noting breakouts or suffering flares of acne when prior to this your skin has been relatively normal. This lead me to coin the phrase “Lockdown face” which covers many of the changes we are seeing to our faces, specifically to our skin through this period.
So today’s column will focus on acne, why we may be having more flares than normal and also what can help – using one of my good friends as a case study… the one and only Sam Faiers.
Sam recently revealed to the public that she has secretly battled cystic acne for two years after flare-ups when breastfeeding daughter Rosie.
She told how I and my team worked behind the scenes together to transform her skin whilst taking her collagen supplements.
Sam’s transformation story helps to normalise acne as it’s something so many of us suffer with.
What is acne?
Acne has always been one of the common skin disorders which affects nearly 80% of the population at some point in time. We are seeing more cases but there are a variety of reasons suggested from more awareness and therefore diagnosis to changes in lifestyle and diet as a society.
It’s characterised by comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pus-filled spots (pustules). It usually starts at puberty and varies in severity from a few spots on the face, neck, back and chest, which most adolescents will have at some time, to a more significant problem that may cause scarring and impact on self-confidence.
For the majority it tends to resolve by the late teens or early twenties, but it can persist for longer in some people.
What causes acne?
The oil-producing glands in people who get acne are particularly sensitive to normal blood levels of certain hormones, which are present in both men and women. These cause the glands to produce an excess of oil.
At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the pores are not shed properly and clog up the follicles. These two effects result in a build up of oil, producing blackheads (where a darkened plug of oil and dead skin is visible) and whiteheads.
The acne bacterium (p.acne) lives on everyone’s skin, usually causing no problems, but in those prone to acne, the build-up of oil creates an ideal environment in which these bacteria can proliferate. This triggers inflammation and the formation of red or pus-filled spots.
Acne can be associated with hormonal changes by your body or certain medications. In Sam’s case the trigger was pregnancy and breast feeding for Rosie.
Can it be cured?
There is no way of of knowing this and every case is different due to the multifaceted issues involved. There are though many treatments and topical options to help reduce the signs and symptoms of acne. I manage many of these but it’s important in complex cases to refer to a an expert dermatologist as part as of a multidisciplinary team.
What did we do for Sam?
1. Skin care: PH formula acne pack
The A.C. home-care kit offers a complete skin resurfacing regimen for acne skin.
The A.C. skin resurfacing kit includes:
A.C.T.I.V.E. formula 20ml
A.C. recovery 30ml
E.X.F.O. cleanse 100ml
P.O.S.T. recovery cream 50ml
Cost : £150
The HydraFacial is a treatment that uses patented technology (a medical-grade device) to cleanse, extract, and hydrate skin. It clears dead skin cells, loosens pores, and preps them for extraction using a mix of glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and botanical extracts. Finally ending with LED to calm skin.
Cost: £200 per session
3. PH formula resurfacing AC Peels
The unique combination of actives in the pHformula A.C. solutions were specifically formulated to correct the main acneic manifestations such as comedones, papules and pustules. It was designed to act on the four factors that trigger acne.
3. Microbial colonisation (P acnes)
Different protocols can be combined in a prescription program and the strength and depth of the products are controlled by the physician, based on application technique and the number of layers applied during the skin resurfacing procedure.
Cost : £250
Microneedling is a procedure that uses small needles to cause microinjuries to the skin. The purpose of treatment is to generate new collagen and skin tissue for smoother, firmer, more toned whilst treating the scar tissue cause from previous acne spots.
Cost £350 per session
5. Collagen Supplementation
There’s emerging research suggests that supplementing with collagen is a safe and effective way to improve the health of skin and joints. Sam started using Revive collagen and noted it really helped together with the above to improve the quality of her skin. As with any supplement it’s important to seek medical advice to see if it’s suitable for you.
Cost : 14 sachets for £33.99