All is not lost if you suffer from acne as an adult. There are new technologies to treat – and clever cosmetic tricks to cover – this skin scourge, writes Emma Bangay.
‘There are various forms of acne and each are multifactorial in causation,’ explains Dr. Adam Sheridan, who is a member of the Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery. The most common types of adult acne are acne vulgaris and acne rosacea, he explains. ‘Both are caused by a mix of genetics and hormones, and are also influenced by external factors including stress, diet and environmental conditions, such as sunlight, pollution, and extreme temperatures.’
Acne turns more sinister – and long term – when it leaves a scar. Sometimes this can be caused by the disease itself and sometimes, by you! ‘Picking and squeezing pimples and overdoing skin peels and dermabrasion can further exacerbate things and cause further scarring,’ cautions Dr. Sheridan.
‘When you pick or squeeze a blemish yourself you are instantly damaging the skin and the tissue beneath it,’ explains Sia Hendry, Founder of You by Sia Clinics and Cosmeceutical Skincare.
‘An over-zealous squeeze will initially cause inflammation and depending on your skin type and tone you may be left with a pitted scar and/or dark mark.
‘When extracting breakouts from the skin, it is always advised to leave it down to the professionals as we understand exactly how to clear a blemish without damaging the skin and tissue beneath,’ Sia emphasises. ‘Once your breakout has been extracted from the skin correctly, it is vital that you maintain a cosmeceutical-grade skincare routine which includes anti-bacterial properties to help prevent your skin from producing further breakouts.’
Vitamins A, C and E and Zinc are helpful ingredients that encourage skin regeneration and scar reduction. ‘It should be noted that for Vitamins to be effective they usually need to be at a potency only available through a prescription from your doctor,’ says Dr. Sheridan. ‘This is especially true of Vitamin A.’
Laser: ‘I personally feel that laser treatments should be considered as a last resort when it comes to acne scarred skin as the lasers can be very ablative to the impaired skin and cause long term issues depending on the patient’s skin tone,’ says Sia. ‘When it comes to scarred skin, I feel that there are many other treatments available which are safer, more effective and suitable for all skin types and tones.’
Skin Needling: For patients suffering from deep-pitted acne scarring Sia suggests a course of CIT – Collagen Needling Therapy – Skin Needling ‘This innovative treatment promotes the natural reproduction of collagen and elastin within the skin, speeding up and supporting the repair process with minimal downtime required,’ she explains. When skin needling is used in conjunction with cosmeceutical-grade skincare it is the perfect recipe to address uneven skin texture and tone, she continues. ‘When the skin is infused with potent active ingredients, collagen and elastin is supported and any discoloration can be greatly improved.’
Peels: Peels are helpful in making the skin feel smoother and to even out skin texture, tone and pigment, explains Dr. Sheridan adding however, “they do nothing for the dermal collagen and elastin unless they are deep. ‘Deep peels are high risk and have largely been superseded by fractionated and ablative lasers.’
Cosmetic Treatments: Here, Clint Dowdell, Creative Director of Nude by Nature, shares his savvy suggestions for covering acne cosmetically.
- Always ensure you are applying makeup on clean, fresh skin that is free from oils, Clint advises. ‘And use a primer to smooth the surface and create the perfect base for ensuing the application.’
- Are you using liquid foundation? Then use it first! ‘Always apply liquids first for two reasons: firstly it will cover some of the lesser scaring and blemishes for you and secondly if you apply your foundation over your concealer you will move it from the spot you are trying to cover the most.’
- Use the finger to apply concealer – not a brush. ‘Using a gentle dabbing motion, apply the concealer directly to the area and blend out the edges,’ suggests Clint. ‘Build to the needed coverage, but don’t cake it on…sometimes trying too hard to cover simply draws more attention to it.’
- Use a mineral foundation on top to add additional cover without looking too heavy. ‘If you are using minerals as your foundation, apply the concealer first,’ says Clint. ‘You can also apply the mineral cover with the tip of the finger too to give very strong coverage.’
- The finishing touch is the veil. ‘Often an overlooked step, the finishing veil is the simple way to allow your complexion products to stay where you put them and last all day or night,’ says Clint.