The Big Cover Up. The Truth About Acne
The worlds most glamourous celebrities suffer its rath. Read Dr McCaffery’s take on acne.
Even some of the most famous and glamourous celebrities in the world suffer from acne. Selma Hayek described her experience to lucky magazine, “You want to talk about bad skin? I had acne. And this acne was so bad, it sent me into a severe, severe depression. Like I couldn’t leave the house. I’d wake up in the morning and lie there and touch my face before I got up, just to prepare myself to look in the mirror!’. Emma Stone talks about how having acne and being on roaccuntane effected her “I’m actually pretty interested in skin care, because I had bad hormonal acne when I was 17, and they put me on Roaccutane for it. After two months on the RoAccutane, I went off of it, and since then, my skin, my mouth, my lips, my eyes are all so dry. Then, I had stress acne when I was 20, when I did Easy A, which they kindly video-airbrushed out of the movie,’
Dr McCaffery, the clinical director of Clearskincare Clinics says ‘Most people experience Acne in their teens and expect to grow out of by 20. What few young adults realise is that Acne can persist well into adulthood and that more than 35% of men and 40% of women will suffer from chronic Acne in their twenties and thirties and even into their forties. Acne has been largely overlooked as a significant health concern, dismissed by many health professionals as an inconsequential problem for teenagers, despite it being the commonest skin condition in the world. It is estimated that over $2 Billion per year is spent on Acne treatments worldwide, many of which have no independent clinical evidence of effectiveness. This is huge.
A new study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, paints a bleak picture for adult woman with persistent Acne, reporting that they are 4 times more likely to suffer from severe Acne than adult males (a reversal of the severity profile in teenager Acne, where males are far more likely to suffer from severe Acne). Worse still, the oral Acne medication, Roaccutane, which works so effectively in teenage males, with 85% experiencing long term remission after a single 5 month course, fails in nearly 50% of the adult females who take it.
Adult acne in woman tends to be chronic and very resistant to treatment and more than 50% of woman in prevalence studies report that they have scarring and pigmentation as a result of their Acne. It is difficult to understand why a condition that is reported to afflict greater than 40% of adult women, has managed to fly so far under the radar. One key to this puzzle is women’s ability to hide their Acne under layers of concealer and makeup, so the severity of their Acne is hidden from friends, family and colleagues. Many women report never not wearing makeup to cover their Acne, even when they are sleeping. Despite makeup frequently being a factor in exacerbating their Acne, women with Acne refuse to give it up.
The second key is that a large percentage of young adult women take the oral contraceptive pill, which acts to suppress the sebaceous glands, the glands that cause Acne and breakouts. Many women do not even know they have an Acne prone skin until they stop taking the Pill and start to experience worsening breakouts over the ensuing months. In my own practice, I used to frequently prescribe the Pill for adult acne but have done so reluctantly for the past several years, because of the difficulty in getting my patients off it.
Most Acne treatments affect the whole skin and therefore all the skin’s structures including Acne affected sebaceous glands and, in the case of oral Acne medications, the whole body is subjected to the treatments effects. This non specificity of Acne treatments leads to a high incidence of unwanted side effects, from dry, red and peeling skin, to headaches and weight gain and in the case of Roaccutane, a list of side effects pages long that include depression and suicide risk.
Hence my quest for the past ten years to find a non-drug, permanent Acne solution. Finally a new drug free treatment, Sebaceous Gland Ablation (SGA) is available for the first time in Australia. SGA effectively eliminates pimples and Acne permanently. The treatment is a new technology that I have been using in my Clinics since the beginning of 2012.
Sebaceous Gland Ablation uses surgical diathermy to selectively destroy those sebaceous glands which are affected by Acne. We have over 1200 sebaceous glands per square centimetre of skin, and only a tiny proportion of these are affected by Acne, even in the most severe cases.’