Acne is a common term used to describe pimples and complexion problems that occur in teenagers as well as adults, stemming from the skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (often shortened as, P. acnes). It expresses itself in multiple forms, and has multiple causes. Unfortunately, there is no cure for acne, and no one in our modern society, regardless of race, is immune from it either (though, it’s not contagious).
However, it is possible to treat acne in Surrey, and to keep it at bay to a reasonable degree. If you have acne, not taking treatments measures can worsen your condition over time. So, it is highly advisable to do what you can to prevent breakouts.
If your child has acne, addressing it early is also an important family decision. This condition can be linked to off-shoot effects, such as serious depression, low self-esteem, social relationship strains and other psychological issues.
That said, the options for acne treatments abound. So, there is probably something out there that can help with a person’s acne, even if it is different from what another person had success (or failure) with. Whether it is a home remedy, an over-the-counter product, a doctor’s prescription, or a spa-like cosmetic treatment, each person will have their own way of healing breakouts, and preventing them in the first place.
If you would like to know more about our medical cosmetic solutions to acne, such as with lasers, professional facials or advanced skincare products, we encourage you to book an appointment at our Surrey clinic. Our on-staff physician will be able to assess your skin, and give you recommendations, as well as options for your specific condition (remember – not all acne cases are the same).
For acne patients, we’ve noticed that effective treatment usually includes a series, or combination of treatments over time (sometimes indefinitely). That said, we’ve had great results with our past acne clients, when they stuck with our program. So, there is probably hope for you too!
The first step is booking a consultation, which we encourage you to do here.
What types of acne solutions do you offer at your skin care clinic?
Solving the outbreak of pimples for a condition like acne often requires multiple types of treatments. This is because there are many types of acne, and different people respond differently to treatments. The location of acne on the body, the age of the person, and their health history all play a part in the solutions we’ll recommend for this skin problem.
It all starts, however, with a personalized consultation at our clinic. During this consultation, you’ll not only meet with a licensed physician (though, this is not covered by MSP). You’ll also undergo a UV photography scan using the VISIA® Complexion Analysis system. In addition to measuring your skin’s aging factors, it also identifies large pores, and regions containing porphyrins bacteria (the precursors to acne). We’ll be able to see under your visible layer of skin, so we can really hone in on acne treatments, and see how bad, or promising, your condition is.
The other thing we’ll look out for are your acne scars, if any. These often go hand-in-hand with acne treatments. So, it’s likely you’ll be offered solutions for both of these skin issues during your consult with us.
Thereafter, possible solutions to solve acne itself (not necessarily acne scars), include:
- High-concentration skin care products, such as the SkinMedica® line, or prescriptions
- Fraxel® DUAL laser resurfacing for acne scars
- Smartskin+ fractional CO2 skin resurfacing
- Infini™ RF microneedling for acne scar reduction
- Bellafill® injections to raise pitted scars
- Chemical Peels
- HydraFacial™ (including a popular, non-invasive acne treatment with blue and red light therapies, as options to your treatment package)
Important to note:
Before booking an appointment at our Surrey cosmetic skin care clinic, please know that although you’ll be seeing a licensed medical practitioner during your consultation, this is not a service covered by insurance, nor MSP in B.C.
We are an elective, cosmetic centre, offering paid services for multiple types of skin conditions.
If your aim is to treat acne via insured services, we recommend seeing your family doctor, who can then also refer you to a dermatologist. Sometimes, these outside sources may recommend the paid services we offer. We also have a family medical clinic next door to us, should you wish to use that service.
Our acne treatment services are mostly geared towards those who have already tried an over-the-counter approach, or are looking for a non-prescription solution to their acne. Our services are also intended for the maintenance and upkeep of skin conditions, much like facials would be at a spa. Though, our solutions are much more intense than what a basic spa facial can do, and are rooted in scientific research and medical-grade tools.
What causes acne?
Acne Vulgaris, in the form that most people recognize it, usually starts in puberty. Though, even babies can have acne (this is a bit different though, and often goes away in early childhood).
Our skin has many tiny openings in it, including for hair to grow out of. These can collect bacteria (called P. acnes), oil and dead skin cells. Acne is basically a clogged up hair follicle (a pore).
In puberty, the body starts producing a hormone called androgen. This then activates sebaceous glands in hair follicles, which produce more sebum (i.e. oil). The function of sebaceous glands producing sebum oil is to hydrate the skin. But too much of it can clog pores, trapping bacteria and dead skin cells in the process, and then creating an infection.
This is why many beauty professionals talk about ‘cleansing pores.’ Acne symptoms include:
- Blackheads (open comedos)
- Whiteheads (closed comedos)
- Papules (small, red bumps)
- Pustules (these are papules with pus at the top, the traditional thing we call a pimple)
- Cystic lesions (these contain pus and are large and painful, residing beneath the skin)
- Nodules (these don’t necessarily contain pus, but are similar to cystic acne, though they are more solid)
- Milia (white bumps on the top layer of the dermis that are more like excess skin build up, rather than a tender, red pimple).
These are collectively, and colloquially, referred to as pimples, blemishes, breakouts and acne.
The larger cystic lesions and nodules can cause scars, which can take several months to heal. Some can even form permanent damage, or cause excessive scar tissue build up, known as keloids. In these cases, cosmetic solutions (such as those offered at our clinic) are usually the only answer.
Common acne triggers include:
Genes and hereditary factors, which are likely if your parents also had acne.
Hormone activity from androgens, such as occurs when going through puberty, or if you are on a menstrual cycle, or going through menopause. Some women who take contraceptives may also experience acne from androgen level changes. Polycystic ovary syndrome can also cause acne.
Medications that cause acne (if you are taking any of these, the side effects should have been explained to you).
Uncleansed dirt and external oil coming in contact with the skin (for this reason, you should not touch your face. You should also wash items that come in contact with your face, like headphones, instruments, scarfs, pillow cases, razors, hair, etc.)
Comedogenic makeup and skin creams (often because they are oil-based). This is why it is important to use only non-comedogenic brands, which are usually marketed as such.
Stress and diet. Though, these are debated, and hard to prove as acne producers. There have, however, been links between skim milk, carbohydrate-rich foods and acne – not the greasy foods commonly mythicized to be at fault. Stress is thought to trigger habits that make acne worse, such as tampering with pimples or eating improperly.
Environmental factors, such as humidity and oil contact in the workplace.
Why is my acne so hard to get rid of with just regular face washing and over-the-counter products?
If you have the type of acne that still feels uncontrollable, even when you’re diligent at washing twice a day, and use over-the-counter products regularly, then your case may require more advanced treatment options.
There are four ‘grades’ to the skin condition known as Acne Vulgaris. They get classified in terms of severeness. They are:
- Stage 1 – mild acne (such as a few red spots, or the occasional pimple, but nothing intolerable, and no inflammation is present).
- Stage 2 – moderate acne (this is when inflammation starts to appear, as well as white heads, pustules, papules, black heads and so on. They occur on the face, neck, back or other areas).
- Stage 3 – moderately severe acne (this involves some inflamed cysts or nodules, as well as plenty of papules and pustules).
- Stage 4 – severe acne (this is the formation of many cysts and nodules, which are highly inflamed, and even painful).
Starting from Stage 2 acne, onwards, it is unlikely that regular washing and topical, over-the-counter products will solve your issue. Though, make no mistake, these are important routines you should still do! They are simply not the whole solution.
The reason medical intervention may be needed to treat your acne, is because of how it starts; it can have many root causes. So, treating the source of acne can be just as important as treating its outcome. The problem, of course, is that the sources of acne can involve environmental, biological and hereditary factors that are hard to control. They can also be a result of medications, or other underlying health issues that simply can’t be put aside to avoid acne.
That’s why treating acne symptoms (i.e. the blemishes themselves), is usually going to be the answer to any stage of acne. And the more severe it is, the more intervention may be required.
The other reason that over-the-counter regimens may not work for you, is because you may not have acne; you may have a skin condition that resembles acne. This is also why it’s important to see a doctor, if your acne persists. Common conditions mistaken for being Acne Vulgaris include:
- Folliculitis (pimples on parts of the body not typically associated with acne, including those caused by taking antibiotics)
- Pseudofolliculitis (i.e. razor bumps)
Some of the treatment options for the above conditions can overlap with acne solutions. Though, since they are not the same, they should be handled separately.
Why do some people get better results from your acne treatments than others? Am I eligible for laser acne treatments in Surrey?
Since successful treatment of acne can depend on multiple, unpredictable factors, it is hard to say why some people benefit from our Surrey cosmetic medical acne treatments, and others don’t.
Though, considering our care, attention and comprehensive treatment plans (using a variety of solutions), we have generally seen success with our methods. This is especially for patients who follow our treatment plan on schedule, and all the way to completion (sometimes for indefinite periods of time, too).
That brings us to our next point. Another major reason for the success of any acne treatment, whether at our clinic, or another route, is that it must be handled in a consistent, systematic way. A lot of this happens with you, at home.
If you are not:
- Following medication directions diligently
- Showing up to scheduled facial appointments
- Protecting your skin from sun and UV exposure
- Washing your face, hands, and belongings adequately
- Resisting the temptation to pop your pimples, incorrectly
- Keeping your face clear of hands
Then, you may not see results the way others do.
Treating acne takes regimented routine in your daily life. It also takes a lot of patience – there is no ‘overnight fix’ to acne.
Whether or not you are eligible for laser acne treatments in Surrey can be determined by an in-person consultation with us. As mentioned above, we will start with a UV photography scan, to determine underlying skin factors that could be indicative of how severe your acne is. A licensed physician will also assess your skin for the intention of using cosmetic treatments, which are not covered by MSP (see our note above and below on this).
After assessing your skin, and getting our honest opinion, you may hear us say that laser treatments are not for you (at least not initially). Some patients do very well with topical treatments, such as with good skincare products, in addition to regular facial services. So, we would want to try those first, if you are not a severe case. We would not want to go the route of intense lasers, which can be more expensive and painful, if we don’t have to.
That said, even if you have mild acne, we still have refreshing, professional-grade facial solutions (which can also be performed on the chest and back). Almost anyone can benefit from these treatments (whether or not acne is a severe concern). These include cosmetological services administered by a trained beautician including:
- HydraFacial™ (including a popular, non-invasive acne treatment with blue and red light therapies, as options to your treatment package)
- Chemical peels
- Mild laser peels
- Medical-grade skin care
Note: some of the above solutions can not be used on open wounds, such as active acne. They can be helpful for treating acne scars, however.
What are other options exist for acne treatments out there?
Treating acne outside our Surrey clinic can involve over-the-counter products (such as those containing resorcinol, tea tree oil, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, etc.). Of course, that goes in combination with good acne prevention habits and routines, noted above.
Medically, the options for treating severe acne can be undesirable. This is because some of them can involve medications with serious potential side-effects, or surgical procedures which are considered a ‘last resort’ by some doctors.
- Retinol or Retin A (tretinoin, a prescription form of Vitamin A), or other retinoids including: adapalene (Differin) and tazarotene (Tazorac). This can be found in varying degrees in some high-end skincare products, and may not require a prescription. Use of this topical ingredient is considered a conservative approach to acne treatment.
- Highly concentrated benzoyl peroxide products (more than you can buy over-the-counter).
- Antibiotics (including erythromycin and clindamycin, which are only for inflamed acne). Excessive use of antibiotics can cause your body to become immune to their effects. These can be oral or topical.
- Birth control pills (i.e. oral contraception, by prescription). These can be effective for some, but, like most acne solutions, they are a ‘use it or lose’ it solution. Those who have hormonal reactions to them may need to look for another solution.
- Isotretinoin, historically known by the brand name, Accutane (it now has generic versions on the market, sold under other names). This ‘last resort’ drug for cystic acne has the potential for many side effects that may not be worth the risk for you. Just some of these include depression, birth defects, inflammatory bowel disease or dangerous effects on the liver and cholesterol levels. You will need to be monitored while on this drug, and should only take it for up to 6 months at a time.
- Cortisone injections and drainage of existing cystic lesions or nodules. This is not ideal unless the acne is bad enough to warrant the use of these procedures. It is mostly done to prevent the instance of scarring, if the cyst were to rupture. It is also a one-at-a-time solution, which can make it impractical.
- Spironolactone (Aldactone). This blogs androgen receptors and is used on women. It can affect the menstrual cycle and have other side effects.
- Various other drugs for treating acne, which also have side effects.
What are the risks of treating acne with lasers, chemical peels or other solutions at your clinic?
Compared to the risks of treating acne with medical prescriptions, the risks of what we offer at our clinic are almost nil. At most, you may be a little red from a microdermabrasion, HydraFacial or a mild laser peel. A chemical peel is meant to cause your topmost layer of skin to shed considerably, so you should expect that to happen. Good skincare products would only be an issue if you happen to be allergic to their ingredients.
That said, some of our more intense laser treatments, such as a fractional CO2 laser resurfacing session, or a Fraxel® DUAL treatment, can require some dedicated healing time. These treatments are limited to the dermis (i.e. your skin). Their potential side effects are rare, too. If they happen, they are more like fixable discolouration issues, rather than affecting organs and your body’s biological processes.
Also, the likelihood of side effects to our laser acne treatments in Surrey can depend a lot on how much care is taken before, during and after your treatment plan. It will be important to reveal your entire health history to us, even if you think some of it is unrelated to acne. If you are not eligible for these treatments, or if we think that adverse reactions can happen to you, we will recommend other options.
We encourage you to read more about each of our acne treatments at the links mentioned above. Explanations on possible side effects are given in their descriptions. Plus, during your initial consultation with us, we will go over more details pertaining to your treatment, and its factors for success.
What is the cost of acne treatments at your Surrey skin clinic?
Each service we offer has its own price as well as package rates, which you can read about on the pages linked to above. Sometimes, however, it will be impossible for us to let you know a final price until we see you in person. This is because your exact condition won’t be like everyone else’s, and may require a special package we’ll put together for you.
We encourage you to get started by booking your initial consultation with us. This consultation has a fee, but that fee can be credited towards a service or product of your choice at our clinic afterwards. We aim to make our consultation sessions very educational and personalized. Your first appointment with us should help you understand your condition, and what can be done about it, from a professional standpoint.
Results are not guaranteed, and can vary from patient to patient.
Our services are not covered by MSP, nor by most insurance companies. They are considered cosmetic. We do not do any form fills for insurance claims.