Depending on its severity, acne can cause substantial emotional distress and loss of self-esteem. Are there factors that may worsen acne?

" />

Acne and Laser

April 02, 2018 - 09:00

Depending on its severity, acne can cause substantial emotional distress and loss of self-esteem. Are there factors that may worsen acne?

Dr. Nelly Gerard. — Photo courtesy of Hanoi French Hospital
Viet Nam News


By Dr Nelly Gerard*

What is acne and how does it develop?

The skin has numerous small openings containing hair follicles and sebaceous glands. The sebaceous glands produce an oily substance called sebum, which acts as a natural moisturiser of the skin’s outer layer. When sebum and dead skin cells collect and plug a hair follicle, they can become a cyst or a comedone. Once trapped, bacteria multiply, which may result in redness, swelling, and pus-filled bumps and pustules: acne. Although more common in teenagers, practically everyone of any age can be affected by acne, which may appear on the face, shoulders, back, buttocks, and chest---everywhere sebaceous glands are most active.

Acne can be very annoying. Very often, lesions heal slowly, and when one begins to resolve, others seem to crop up. Depending on its severity, acne can cause substantial emotional distress and loss of self-esteem. Because the lesions are often irritated, people with acne tend to touch and scratch the spots; this can lead to extensive scarring of the skin.

Are there factors that may worsen acne?

Yes, and the most common are

  • Hormones. Androgens are hormones that increase during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives can also affect sebum production.
  • Certain medications: Drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium.
  • Stress. Stress doesn’t cause acne, but if you have acne already, it may make it worse.
  • Greasy or oily substances.
Formation of skin pimples and acne. — Photo courtesy of Hanoi French Hospital

What’s the best treatment for acne and acne scars?

Acne treatments aren’t a one-size-fits-all approach. They include creams, antibiotics, hormone therapy and more. Medications may have side effects, and it takes a long time to see improvement. Other options such as laser therapy, which works by concentrating light to penetrate deeply into the skin, are now available. One type of laser now available in Việt Nam is the Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment.

IPL applies a specific wavelength and has proven highly efficient in acne treatment as well as in reducing the appearance of acne scarring. Your dermatologist will examine you carefully during your first consultation and then chose specific parameters to optimise individual treatment, depending on the complexion of your skin and the severity of your acne.

How does IPL work?

  • Through its specific wavelength, IPL kills bacteria by activating porphyrins, compounds produced by the bacteria themselves.
  • IPL normalises and controls sebum production.
  • IPL has anti-inflammatory properties reducing redness, swelling and itching.
  • IPL reduces the size of your skin pores, refining your complexion.
  • IPL decreases superficial skin scars.

Prior to laser treatment, your dermatologist may prescribe some blood tests to identify the most suitable treatment to complement laser treatment. This will ensure that results are achieved faster.

Before IPL and after 4 IPL Sessions. — Photo courtesy of Hanoi French Hospital

How is IPL done?

Laser and IPL are done in the dermatologist’s consultation room. After removing any make-up, you will be made comfortable on a treatment bed and light-protecting goggles will be placed over your eyes. The treatment will last up to 20 minutes per session. IPL causes a tingling sensation when the source passes over your skin and may cause similar effects to a light, mildly itching sunburn. It is important not to scratch after treatment. Symptoms pass quickly and are relieved by putting on oil-free, hypoallergenic sun screen after the treatment. 

IPL is usually done in one session per week, and you will see visible results after four weeks. After that, four more sessions, one per month, are recommended to further enhance the complexion and maintain the results. In some cases, follow-up treatment may be necessary, and in patients with very deep scars, another form of laser therapy may be recommended.

Are there other things a laser can do?

Laser treatment is now considered the best method for the treatment of many skin disorders, not only acne, and esthetic procedures such as

  • Age spots and pigmentation on the face and body.
  • Definitive hair removal (face, legs, arms, back…).
  • Vascular lesions such as spider veins/telangiectasia/rosacea/ruby spots.
  • Skin rejuvenation. — Hanoi French Hospital

* Dr. Nelly Gerard is a French specialist in Dermatology &Venereal Diseases who has recently joined the Hanoi French Hospital to bring her expertise to our customers and colleagues.

If you want to learn more about laser treatments, please contact us at 84 – 24.3577.1100, access, or email us at 1 Phương Mai, Đống Đa, Hà Nội.