Managing Acne with compounding
Many of us may remember acne, sometimes called “pimples” or “zits” on the face as teenagers. Unfortunately for some, acne can overwhelm the face and body well into adulthood.
In fact, acne is the most common skin disease among Australians. It has affected at least 85% of Australians aged between 15-24 years old. [https://www.acne.org.au/acne-whats-to-blame]
Acne is a chronic and inflammatory skin condition that causes spots and pimples primarily on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms. What we call whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and cysts are all examples of acne.
Acne, or the clinical term acne vulgaris, is caused by a blockage and inflammation of the hair follicle and its associated oil gland, known as the sebaceous gland.
Here are some of the causes, symptoms, and treatments for acne which can be helped along by compounding.
Causes of acne and its diagnosis
Acne has many causes, though some are more common than others. The cause of acne is a mix of the inflammation and a build-up of bacteria. This can happen in many ways.
The primary cause of acne, especially in teenagers and adolescents, is hormones.
Hormone changes in pregnant women and if a woman starts or stops taking contraceptive pills can contribute to adult acne. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome can also develop acne into one’s adulthood.
At about the age of eight, our adrenal glands start to produce male hormones known as androgens. This production increases during puberty in both boys and girls. The oil glands respond to these hormones by producing more oil and sometimes show up as whiteheads in young children.
Oil gland blockage is also a factor. The skin cells in the upper part of the hair follicle duct do not shed away as normal but stay in place and gather to form a plug. This traps the oil behind it and raises the skin which causes inflammation around it.
Bacteria and inflammation also accumulate in that duct which makes the inflammation in these pimples and blackheads worse.
Other causes that can either make acne worse or spread it out is one’s genetics, stress, a poor diet, and sometimes, occupation where workplace health and safety is not up to standard.
The aim of treating acne
The aim of treating acne is to reduce the bacteria and inflammation caused by these plugs and get rid of the spots and other marks on the face and body.
The usual treatment for mild acne is to use an appropriate cleanser. Mild, “soap free” cleansers with a pH balance or is slightly acidic can help deter acne. The aim is to clean the face at least twice a day to stop oil production and help skin heal.
People with oily skin should look for a cleanser with ‘high risibility’ so it protects the skin from irritation. If you have irritated or dry skin, look for gentle oil-free plus moisturising cleansers.
Moisturising liquid cleansers with acetyl alcohol or glycerine can help protect the skin and speed up its repair.
Aggressive acne may not respond to these milder treatments and require specialised treatments.
Some acne medications range from the more aggressive ingredients in topical creams and cleansers all the way up to antibiotics, hormone therapies, and other topical therapies such as light and laser treatments.
Some medications include benzoyl peroxide, tretinonin, adapalene and/or tazarotene. These are gels, lotions, or creams with active ingredients that try to clear pores and reduce inflammation.
Salicylic acid helps dissolve, remove, and prevent the formation of the plug in the pore which can help speed up the cleaning of pimples and improve long-term management.
Acne prevention and maintenance
In Australia, harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) rays can damage the skin. Acne is especially sensitive to UVA light. The downside of using acne medication and cleansers means some natural protection the skin has is washed away.
Applying sunscreen of at least SPF30+ is recommended before going out into direct sunlight. Newer sunscreen ingredients such as gels, liquids, and sprays are better for oily skin and won’t clog your pores. They are often low allergy, non-irritating, and have a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB blockage.
Using creams and physical blockers such as zinc can often make acne worse.
Acne remedies using compounding pharmacy
The problem with acne remedies and prevention is that they are often separate. Compounding pharmacy can combine many different remedies with preventative measures that suit your skin and level of acne.
Combining active ingredients with moisturisers such as urea, anti-bacterial formulations like azelaic acid, or anti-biotics like clindamycin or sulfacetamide can help prevent and reduce the visibility of acne in people who are prone to chronic acne.
Acne medication can also be delivered in many different ways to help reduce waste and simplify treatment. Compounding pharmacy allows one to use a gel or cream, or a facial cleansing pad with a formula that’s fine tuned to what your body will respond to. Pads clean the skin while delivering acne medication evenly and consistently.
For example, using benzoyl peroxide in a pad can kill bacteria, while an addition of glycolic acid can clear away dead skin cells and dirt, helping to exfoliate the skin. Adding salicylic acid can also help remove blemishes without causing additional inflammation.
Acne can also worsen other skin conditions such as rosacea, which is a reddening of the skin. Azelaic acid can help fight acne as well as rosacea and reduce inflammation.
If you have acne and want a better, streamlined, or natural solution that doesn’t require purchasing many different cleansers and chemicals, try compounding. Talk to the e-compounding Chemist and see what acne treatments are available to you through compounding.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]