‘Let’s talk acne’ with Dr Martin Wade
Until the age of 21, I never had any major skin problems but at 21 I developed adult acne and it became a really low point in my life emotionally.
For anyone that has suffered with even a pimple, you’ll know how self conscious and low in self esteem having skin issues can make you feel. As much as people around you try to get you to put life into perspective, when you have spots / a breakout / acne – it’s hard to not let your world revolve around it and how it makes you feel.
I get it. I totally get it.
Having skin problems can be a result of so many different factors and the cause of them is different in every single person which can be very frustrating and pinning that ’cause’ down is even more so.
First thing I’d like to say though is, it WILL get better and it WON’T stay the way it is forever.
3 years on, I have completely grown out of the ‘acne’ flair I had, but I do still freak out every time I get a few spots in fear it will come back.
Here’s a picture from 2014 when I had acne (left) and then 5 weeks in to using Roaccutane…
For this reason I now prioritise the quality in the products I use on my skin, even though they are a little more expensive. When i had acne, i would have paid anything (literally) to heal it. So now, I don’t hesitate to spend a little extra on nourishing my skin in the right way.
I’ve also been lucky enough to meet Yaz from London Real Skin and have been having a few consultations with her this year in her London clinic whenever I’ve had a ‘freak out’. I feel like I am 100% in the right hands with Yaz and know that if there’s a solution or treatment that will help me – Yaz will direct me towards it. Having advice from a medical perspective and not just cosmetic makes all the difference and my skin seems to be better than ever.
If you’re feeling lost about your skin and are desperate for some advice, I highly recommend booking in to see Yaz at London Real Skin in Holborn, Central London. You can see more information and get in contact here.
I wish I had have known about this place when I was suffering with Acne.
I figured we can’t all get to London and we can’t all afford private consultations. So…
A few weeks ago I reached out on social to see what skin questions you guys had and the lovely Dr. Martin Wade has sat down and answered them for you.
Your acne skin questions answered with Dr. Martin Wade…
How do you know if you have acne?
Dr MW: Acne consists of blackheads (open comedenes) and whiteheads (closed comedones) and inflammatory lesions that occur on the face, chest and back.
What’s the difference between acne and a breakout?
Dr MW: They are the same thing. We tend to describe the situation when our skin has a flare-up or where acne has progressed as a breakout.
At what point do you take action and seek help for skin?
Dr MW: When it progresses from more than the occasional pimple or extends into later life (adult acne) we consider it a medical condition and you should seek help.
Not everyone can afford private consultations, what are the alternatives?
Dr MW: Many people can control their acne by the use of non-prescription washes or creams that are freely available in the pharmacy. If the acne becomes worse or is not controlled by these simple measures then you should seek medical advice. A GP can prescribe a range of topical and oral treatments that can help. When these solutions aren’t enough your GP can refer you to see a Dermatologist on the NHS. A Dermatologist can prescribe a much broader range of treatments than a GP.
Is there a skin care range in particular that you’d recommend when you start getting breakouts? Or any tips?
Dr MW: There are a lot of good inexpensive products available for controlling breakouts – look for products that are gentle and contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzol peroxide, glycolic acid, and are marked as non-comogenic which means that they tend not to block the pores.
3 years ago I had acne, I went through several skin care regimes, a nutritionist, I took supplements and eventually I ‘resorted’ to roaccutane. I wish I had gone on Roaccutane sooner but everyone warned me off it because of the side effects. What are your opinions on roaccutane?
Dr MW: Oral isotretinoin which sells under the brandname Roaccutane can be an effective treatment, but it is not suitable for everyone and it can have significant side effects. It is not suitable for pregnant women as it can cause birth defects, and it can affect the functions of some of the organs of the body, which is why Dermatologists closely monitor patients through blood-tests. Finally it is not suitable for patients with a history of depression or mental health issues.
There are a lot of very good alternatives to Roaccutane which are strong antibiotics or topical prescription items. A Dermatologist can help determine what would be most suitable for your situation.
At what stage should you consider it?
Dr MW: We only consider using isotretinoin or stronger antibiotics once all other suitable options have been considered, due to the potential side effects that can occur.
What products do you recommend whilst using it?
Dr MW: As Roaccutane can cause the skin to become very sensitive particularly to the sun, you need to avoid sun exposure during the day and use a good broad-spectrum sunblock if on Roaccutane. We recommend very gentle and bland skincare products which are non-comogenic. Products from the Cetaphil range are great for example.
At what point should you start treating scarring and what would you recommend?
Dr MW: Prevention is better than cure, so if we can avoid severe acne, we are better placed to minimise scarring of the skin. Where scarring has occurred, we aim to treat the acne first, and once that is resolved, to use quality skincare and sun protection for around six months, as the skin heals itself. There will be some reduction in scars over that period. After six months we can look at treating the scars with medical-grade treatments. There is no single solution that will work for everyone and a good treatment program may include microneedling, laser resurfacting, chemical peels, prescription skincare and potentially dermal fillers.
Today I’m having a Skin Peel for the first time. For those that have no idea, what is a skin peel and when should you get one?
Dr MW: Chemical peels can be very effective to help improve the appearance of the skin, to help in managing acne, and to help address scarring. We wouldn’t recommend peels while on Roaccutane or strong antitiotics for the skin. For best results you may need up to 4 to 6 peels.
What are your opinions on facials and skin maintenance? Should us girls be having regular treatments?
Dr MW: Facials and treatments can be fun and relaxing and have their role. These tend to use rather inert ingredients that may smell nice or feel nice on our skin, but really don’t have active ingredients that have any clinical evidence supporting their use in giving us healthy skin. If you are serious about improving the appearance of your skin, there are medical-grade treatments available including laser treatments, chemical peels, microneedling and dermatologist recommended skincare which can make a real difference to the appearance of the skin. It’s very important though that these are administered by well trained and experienced clinicians. I’d always ask to see examples of before and after pictures that your clinician has achieved themselves in that clinic.
Thank you Dr. Martin Wade!
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