What is Acne?

Acne is an inherited disorder of the pores.  Normal pores shed one layer of dead skin cells per day.  Unfortunately, acne prone skin sheds up to 5 layers of dead skin cells per day.  This over proliferation of dead skin cells combined with your body’s oil production creates congestion within the pore.

There are 2 main types of acne; non-inflamed and inflamed.  Most sufferers of acne have a combination of both.

Non-inflamed Acne:

Non-inflamed acne lesions are comprised of whiteheads and blackheads.  Whiteheads, also known as “closed comedones” are a combination of dead skin cells, oil and debris that form a plug inside the pore.  Blackheads, or “open comedones” are whiteheads that have been exposed to oxygen, thereby turning the exposed tip or the plug black.

Inflamed Acne:

There are 4 types of inflamed acne:

1) Papules: Papules are clogged pores that have ruptured, leaking it’s contents to the surrounding skin.  Containing debris, including the P. acne bacteria, the surrounding skin now becomes infected, thus creating a red and inflamed bump commonly known as a “pimple”.

2) Pustules:  Pustules are papules with a whitehead (white blood cells).  When the immune system fights off the P. acnes infection, white blood cells, which are soldiers of the immune system pile up and create pus within the pore.

3) Nodules: Nodules are large, solid dome-shaped lesions that extend into the dermal layer of skin.  Scarring is common with nodules and can sometimes leave an impaction behind which can flare up again and again.  Because the infection is in the deeper layers of the skin, the risk of scarring is high.  Please do not attempt to squeeze or pick at these lesions.

4) Cysts:  Cysts comprise of a group of pustules that have clustered together in the deeper layers of the skin.  Cysts often look like pus filled nodules.  These are the most severe form or a pimple and are very painful.

Acne is a mysterious disorder of the skin and impacts so much of our population. It affects 90% of adolescents, 12% of women and 3% of men will have acne until their 40s.  In women it is uncommon to have a first outbreak at 20-35 years of age.  Fortunately with the right combination of clinical grade home care products that are customized for your specific type of acne and skin along with facial treatments we can get you on the road to clear skin.