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Acne & Breakouts


What is Acne?

Acne occurs when hair follicles on the face and body become plugged with dead skin cells and oil. That mixture creates the ideal environment for acne bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), to flourish inside the follicle instead of remaining on the skin, where it would cause no ill-effects.

The bacteria feasts on the oil and dead skin, which starts a domino effect by producing inflammatory chemicals and enzymes. It is vitally important to note that acne is first and foremost an inflammatory response, so anything you do to reduce this will help.

Reduce inflammatory foods such as excess sugar – this can bring about enormous relief but many doctors are ignorant of dietary choices affecting levels of inflammation. This advice holds true for rosacea sufferers, too.

When the wall of the plugged follicle breaks down, the contents spill inside to nearby skin cells leading to inflamed lesions or pimples.

Women with excess male hormone production, specifically those with PCOS, experience stubborn acne on a consistent basis. The extra testosterone signals oil production, exacerbating the acne cycle.


What does Venus Medical recommend to clear acne?

No doubt you have spent too much money on various products claiming to be the best acne treatment. Sometimes, these products are formulated to make acne even worse, and manufacturers use the ‘worse before it gets better’ or ‘skin purge’ mantra to keep customers returning beyond the first purchase. The key is to look for ingredients that are proven scientifically to work. In that regard, there are two superstar ingredients that stand out above the rest: beta hydroxy acids (BHA) and benzoyl peroxide, but also glycolic acid. As well as using effective topicals at home, there are a number of in-clinic procedures that can help rapidly and dramatically clear the skin of unsightly active acne.   These include the advanced VBeam Perfecta laser, silkpeel, and chemical peels.  Those prone to acne will need to stick to a strict skincare protocol in order to prevent a ‘relapse’ of the acne bacteria taking advantage of irregular skin shedding and oil production.

Benzoyl peroxide penetrates into the pore and kills acne-causing bacteria, preventing inflammation. It also has a low risk of irritation and does not have the potential to create bacterial resistance.

The concentration of benzoyl peroxide in products usually ranges from 2.5% to 10%. A 2.5% benzoyl peroxide concentration is far less irritating than a 10% concentration (not irritating the skin is always a goal), and it can be just as effective.

The OBAGI Clenziderm product line, available at Venus Medical, contains BHA and benzoyl peroxide in a superior, medical-grade formula for the most targeted and non-irritating treatment possible. Some patients choose to invest in the whole line, while others may select one or two products – we can advise each patient based on needs vs. budget.

Also known as salicylic acid, BHA treats acne in several ways. It not only has potent anti-inflammatory properties, but also exfoliates to remove built-up dead skin cells on the surface of the skin as well as inside the pore. As a derivative of aspirin, it reduces inflammation, redness and swelling, helping the skin heal. This in turn prevents scars.  Salicylic acid formulas must have a concentration of at least 0.5%, with a pH of 3 to 4 being optimal. Surprisingly, many salicylic acid products don’t meet these requirements, so they don’t work on acne.

OBAGI’s glycolic acid, or AHA, products are advised as a daily maintenance ingredient for ensuring skin sheds in the correct, consistent and uniform manner. BHAs and benzoyl peroxide are used as spot treatments on areas that are actively acneic.

The OBAGI Nu-Derm line’s Exfoderm Forte is formulated with 6% glycolic acid and 4% lactic acid, the moisturizing treatment gently yet effectively removes your old skin cells while promoting new skin cells for a lighter, brighter, firmer complexion.

The Nu-Derm System penetrates the skin’s surface to transform the skin’s appearance and help correct the damage within. Simply, it reveals healthy, younger-looking skin.

Nu-Derm is also ideal if you have:

  • Age spots
  • Rough skin
  • Erythema (redness)
  • Sallowness (yellowish complexion)
  • Hyperpigmentation (discoloration)

Obagi Professional-C Serum helps banish blemishes and wrinkles. Concentrations of 5% through 20% are available at Venus Medical. It also improves the efficacy of SPF and shields your skin from damaging free radicals.

Prescription Tretinoin is the only option that heals some patient’s acne. As an added benefit, this is the only product proven to actually anti-age. We stock OBAGI Tretinoin at Venus Medical in different strengths depending on your assessment. Tretinoin can prevent but also actual reverse skin aging by removing fine lines.


What procedures for acne are available at Venus Medical?

Venus Medical is one of the only clinics in Ireland with the VBeam Perfecta  laser, the most effective pulsed dye laser that is superior to other technologies for treating redness, broken veins, rosacea, as well as active acne.  As well as clearing acne, VBeam clears the residual redness and purplish discolouration associated with acne breakouts.  IPL can also be used to treat acne, and these options are discussed during a consultation. For smoothing and keeping pores free of debris, the Silkpeel treatment is an ideal complement to topical skin therapies.

Once acne has been tackled our patients are excited to make the best of their new clear complexions with Laser Skin Resurfacing and MesoGlow – two procedures that ensure an incredibly clear, plump Hollywood glow.

Acne sufferers may also want to visit our VBEAM, IPL and Skincare pages.

Call our clinic advisor on 01 2962747 for help with your acne.