Acne

Pimples, zits, black heads, white heads, break outs and blemishes are all forms of acne which can be treated effectively with the right mixture of medical treatments and skin care.

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What is acne?

Acne is a skin condition which can affect teenagers and adults. Known medically as Acne Vulgaris, it commonly affects the face, back and chest. Acne ranges in severity from noninflammatory acne to inflammatory acne and cystic acne and can leave scarring depending on its severity and your skin type.

At COZmedics our doctors & medical teams practise an holistic approach to target acne from all angles. Considering both scarring and your long-term appearance, our COZmedics doctors will develop a personalised treatment plan that takes into account your goals and budget.

What causes acne?

Acne occurs as a result of blockage of the sebaceous gland within the skin's follicle. The sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, help keep your skin waterproof and hydrated.

During the healthy lifecycle of your skin's follicles dead skin cells are shed from the lining of the follicle and exit through the skin's surface.

Due to many factors, such as genetics and hormones, the exit of these dead skin cells is blocked by an excess production of keratin (a natural protein found in the skin). This excess of keratin greatly increases the dead skin cells' ability to bond together in a process called hyperkeratinisation.

These bonded dead skin cells then block the sebaceous gland, forming a cap on the follicle and resulting in the initial stage of acne. Sometimes the excess keratin will not block the sebaceous gland and instead will rise to the surface and produce what is called Keratosis Pilaris.

Normal skin follicle with no blockages Normal Skin Follicle
Blocked skin follicle with blockages at the follicle opening causing Acne Blocked Skin Follicle

What contributes or increases my chances of developing acne?

There is no one factor that increases your chances of developing acne or pimples. Rather, it can be an array of multiple factors such as:

Hormonal changes

In your younger years puberty and menstrual cycles contribute to the excess production of sebum, increasing the chances of acne. This is due to increased production of androgens - hormones which cause the follicular gland to grow larger and produce more sebum.

In your mature years several conditions, such as pregnancy and menopause, can increase the chances of acne due to the hormones which usually suppress it failing to work.

Genetics and family history

Acne does not follow a typical inheritance pattern; however, a family history of acne, especially the severe inflammatory type, does increase your chances of it occurring.

Psychological

Some scientific studies have found that an increase in stress levels can cause an outbreak of acne.

Diet

Traditionally the relationship between what you eat and acne has been unclear. However, new research, by RMIT University, in Melbourne, studying the effects of diet on acne symptoms, shows a significant relationship between what you eat and your skin health. The study compared a western diet, consisting of highly processed and refined food, with an anti-acne diet, consisting of high-protein, low-GI food, and found that teenage boys saw a 50 percent reduction in their facial acne after 12 weeks.

Generally our COZmedic doctors have found that high-glycemic-load (GI) diets are contributing factors to acne. Foods such as chocolate do not directly increase your chance; however, they do contribute to a higher glycemic load.

Types of acne?

There a two main types of Acne - noninflammatory and inflammatory. The primary difference between the two is that inflammatory acne becomes red and ruptures, releasing its contents and bacteria, resulting in further spread of the condition.

Noninflammatory acne / mild acne

There are two types of noninflammatory acne (also known as mild acne) - black heads or white heads. These develop as a result of the pore becoming clogged with a build up of excess keratin and sebum.

Referred to as a comedo (comedones - plural), they can appear on areas of the face, back and neck and behind the ears. On the face comedones can appear in the T-Section (nose and forehead) and below the chin.

Normal skin follicle with no blockages Black head

A black head known as an 'open comedone' opens to the skin's surface. The black appearance of the papule is due to the oxidation of the sebum and keratin contained in the pore.

Blocked skin follicle with blockages at the follicle opening causing Acne White head

A white head is known as a 'closed comedone' as the excess keratin and sebum do not open to the surface of the skin. These typically appear white (as their name denotes).

Inflammatory acne - moderate to severe acne

A blackhead or white head can release its contents to the surface and heal or the follicle wall can rupture and inflammatory acne can ensue. This rupture can be caused by random occurrence or by picking or touching the skin. This is why it is important to leave acne-prone skin relatively untouched.

Normal skin follicle with no blockages – papule Papule

A papule occurs when there is a break in the follicular wall. White blood cells rush in and the pore becomes inflamed.

Blocked skin follicle with blockages at the follicle opening causing an acne pustule Pustule

A pustule forms several days later when white blood cells make their way to the surface of the skin. This is what people usually refer to as a 'zit' or a 'pimple'.

Treatments for acne

Skin care for acne

Key medical grade ingredients that help control and treat acne, such as Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHAs), Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid can be found in COZmedics' own doctor-developed skin-care range.

Medications for Acne

COZmedics Doctors can prescribe essential medications to help clear your acne such as Vitamin A creasm, Aldaphine creams, Antibiotics and Oral Contraceptives

Laser & Light Treatments for Acne

COZmedics Doctors can prescribe essential medications to help clear your acne such as Vitamin A creasm, Aldaphine creams, Antibiotics and Oral Contraceptives

Skin Health Treatments for Acne

COZmedics Doctors can prescribe essential medications to help clear your acne such as Vitamin A creasm, Aldaphine creams, Antibiotics and Oral Contraceptives