Acne is the most common skin condition in UK. It affects up to 80% of adolescents and 70% of people in their 20’s and 30’s. This stubborn condition is typically treated with oral and topical medications, which can produce good results but often with undesirable side effects.
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What causes Acne?
Acne vulgaris is caused by an excessive amount of oil production by the skin, blockage of the openings to the oil producing glands (resulting in tiny blackheads) and also due to a bacterium, Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) which causes inflammation in the blocked glands. These three factors seem to work together in order to produce the red and yellow spots so characteristic of acne.
Occasionally these spots can develop into large cysts (so called nodular or cystic acne) which often results in scarring.
How is Acne conventionally treated?
Treatments are aimed at either unblocking blocked pores, killing the bacteria (P. Acnes) or reducing the production of sebum. This can be done in a variety of different ways.
Mild cases are often self-treated with over the counter topical creams and gels (containing products such as Benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid). For more persistent or severe problems, treatments prescribed may use a combination of topical and oral medications – including antibiotics, Azelaic acid and topical retinoids – with varying degrees of success.
Occasionally hormonal treatment using Cyproterone acetate or a particular oral contraceptive pill may be prescribed by a doctor for certain women.
For the most difficult cases, a referral to a dermatologist may result in treatment with Isotretinoin (Roaccutane – an oral vitamin A derivative that reduces the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands). Some dermatologists are becoming increasingly concerned about the levels of resistance being displayed by the P. acnes bacterium to some of the commonly used antibiotics.
What are lasers and how do they work?
A Laser is a high-energy beam of light that can transfer its energy into specific areas of the skin’s tissue to treat skin problems. The lasers work by killing the bacteria, and reduce the production of sebum from the sebaceous glands in the skin.
In Sept 2000 the effectiveness of the Nlite laser in treatment of acne was assessed in a controlled double blind study at the Hammersmith Hospital in London. The results of the trial show that for many patients, treatment can suppress acne for up to three months with no side effects. Indeed, four out of five patients noticed significant improvement in their acne and a quarter of the patients reported cure of the condition. Dr Tony Chu, the Consultant Dermatologist overseeing the trial described the Nlite laser as “the most significant advancement in acne treatment for over twenty years” and “the most important thing is that it has a prolonged effect”.
Each Nlite laser treatment is usually preceded by a medical microdermabrasion treatment which deeply exfoliates the skin surface to enhance the result of the laser. A series of 3 sessions at monthly intervals is usually recommended.
How can Acne scarring be improved?
Acne can also leave scars which are permanent and are easier to prevent than to treat. Acne scarring can be improved by several methods, including Nlite to stimulate collagen production, fractional resurfacing laser, dermal fillers, subscision, punch excision & medical skin needling etc. Clearly, you are best assessed by a Consultant Dermatologist, such as Dr. Mark Hudson-Peacock who has specialist interest and experience in treating acne scarring. Prevention of scarring is achievable as long as the treatment is started at an early stage.
Separate information is available on these treatments.
What can The Canterbury Skin and Laser Clinic do to help Acne & Acne Scarring?
At the Canterbury Skin and Laser Clinic you will have an initial consultation with the Doctor who will make a full clinical assessment of your acne, to not only confirm the diagnosis and grade the severity of the acne, but also to exclude any underlying factors that might be aggravating the condition. Not all acne sufferers are suitable for or will benefit from laser treatment and often other concurrent treatments are necessary which can only be prescribed, hence the importance of having an initial clinical assessment by a Doctor trained in expert skin assessment, cannot be over-emphasised. We have clients from Ashford Dover Folkestone Hythe Margate (Thanet) Faversham and other areas in Kent.
What is the cost?
Initial consultation £220 with Dr. Mark Hudson-Peacock, Consultant Dermatologist; £150 with Dr. Alice Hudson-Peacock, Specialty doctor in Dermatology.
Treatment starts at £150 for a small area, e.g. a few lesions on one cheek, or £300 for a large area, e.g. full face with the Nlite laser.
Treatment cost is around £250 for a small areas on one/both cheeks, to £400 for both cheeks with the Fractional Resurfacing Laser.
Call our friendly and professional team on 01227 472288 to book your initial consultation or for more information, or you may like to try our online booking system here.