Up to 85 per cent of Australians will develop acne during their life, with nearly half of men and women continuing to experience acne into their thirties.
According to a new study amongst 80 clinics from leading skincare revision brand, DMK, it has reported a rise in recent years of adults suffering from acne (84 per cent) with a worrying 77 per cent of adult clients confessing that their acne has negatively impacted on their self-esteem and even performance at work. A further two thirds of Australians have also conceded that their acne has affected their personal relationships.
Question: What surprised you most about the DMK acne study?
Debbie Dickson: The thing that surprised me most about the DMK acne study was the increase in adult acne, it is quite an epidemic, our clinics are experiencing an increase in the number of adults who are seeking solutions for their acne skin condition.
Question: How does acne affect personal relationships?
Debbie Dickson: Acne can be very frustrating, not only impacts a patient's physical appearance but claims their confidence and joy making them feel miserable and embarrassed, affecting their overall self-esteem, thus sadly impacting on their personal relationships and even their performance at work.
Question: Why do you believe clinics see more acne sufferers in Summer?
Debbie Dickson: There are a couple of reasons DMK clinics see more acne sufferers in Summer due to the warm weather and increased humidity, this can increase the oil, which aggravates the acne conditions. Also during summer people are outdoors more swimming and in the sun, this can dry the skin out and cause Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) then there is not enough free water levels in the skin to push the oil up onto the surface so it traps down in the sebaceous glands and hair shafts causing micro comodones, these can then inflame into acne breakouts. Sweating can also have bacteria this can exacerbate the problem. We need to protect the skin but really greasy sunscreens can also clog the skin and make acne worse.
Question: Can you talk about how you treat adult acne?
Debbie Dickson: The key to managing acne lies in deciphering what the root cause is and treating it appropriately. Acne has a fast cell turnover, a fast oil flow and an abnormality in the cell division, where cells keratinise to early and flatten out and stick down in the sebaceous glands and hair shafts, the sebum (oil) mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria, this causes congestion and a decrease in oxygen flow that results in acne. There is always a hormonal aspect to acne, with adult acne we are seeing and increase in estrogen dominance. There is also stress and when we talk about stress it is not just being busy it is any stressor to the body, toxins, pollutants, medications, illnesses, poor digestive function can also register in the body as a stressor, when we have bacterial over load in the gut.
When considering ingredients, I would recommend thinking about the things you are trying to combat. As acne is an inflamed, infected condition, I would suggest ingredients that help to kill acne-causing bacteria, reduce inflammation, regulate cell turnover and oil flow, increase the skin's hydration level and stop trans epidermal water loss.
Question: What are the root causes associated with adult acne?
Debbie Dickson: Some of the root causes associated with adult acne include:
the warm summer weather that sparks break outs
not getting enough sleep
poor diet in particular lack of essential fatty acids in the diet, too much sugar and dairy.
increase of environmental toxins and pollutants. These factors affect our endocrine system, and DMK clinics are seeing a surge of estrogen dominance that is one of the contributing influences increasing in the incidence of adult acne.
Question: What ingredients can be beneficial for acne?
Debbie Dickson: Vitamin A,
Panthenol or vitamin B5
Essential fatty acids
Question: What are your top tips for managing and preventing breakouts?
Debbie Dickson: Take a good Essential fatty acid (EFA) supplement, acne prone skins, their oil tends to contain more waxy esters which makes the oil to thick and more prone to clogging and congesting, by increasing the EFA's this helps to make the sebum (oil) nice and thin and more liquid so it flows through.
Keep the skin full of water, acne skin has plenty of oil so you need to keep the skin full of water so it pushes the water up onto the surface
Exfoliate once to twice a week at home to keep the dead cell material from building up or blocking the excretory ducts, preventing congestion and blockages.
Have a product you can apply to any breakouts, that heals and clears breakouts really quickly.
Make the appropriate dietary changes, reducing or eliminating sugar and dairy.
Interview by Brooke Hunter