'acne' Category Archives

Can keto or low-carb diets cure acne?

Most people follow a low-carb or keto diet expecting to lose weight, achieve better blood sugar control, and/or lower their blood pressure. In most cases, these are exactly the type of results that occur.

However, some individuals may also experience an unexpected bonus: improvement in skin quality, including a decrease in the frequency and severity of acne.

Indeed, there’s emerging evidence that this way of eating may help control acne due to its effects on hormonal health.

How does acne develop?

Although nearly 90% of adolescents and teens have acne, it’s fairly common in adults as well. In fact, it’s estimated that in Western countries, around 50% of people in their 20s and 30s struggle with acne. On the other hand, it’s very rare in many cultures who follow traditional diets.

Acne develops as a result of complex interactions that take place within the skin. Sebaceous glands located in the skin’s outer layer are connected to hair follicles. These glands produce sebum, an oily substance that lubricates the hair and skin cells, which are constantly being shed and replaced.

acne

In the case of acne, this system is impaired. Elevated levels of androgens (male hormones) cause increased sebum production, leading to oily skin. In addition, skin cell production ramps up, and dead skin cells aren’t shed in the normal fashion. Instead, these cells combine with excess sebum, causing blocks or plugs. While this process is occurring, bacteria that feed on sebum also enter the picture.

Similar to the gut microbiome, skin maintains its own bacterial balance. One type of bacteria known as P. Acnes lives deep within the hair follicles and is normally present in the outer skin layer in small amounts. However, during acne, concentrations of P. Acnes increase dramatically, causing inflammation that leads to whiteheads, pustules and cysts.

The role of diet in acne

Up until the 1960s, based on early studies, diets high in sugar and refined carbs were believed to worsen acne. However, after experimental research failed to show a link between specific foods and acne, diet was no longer considered much of a contributor.

Today, the tide has turned yet again, in light of mounting research published within the past decade suggesting that carbohydrates may be the main dietary culprit in acne due to their negative effects on hormonal regulation.

Carbohydrates may be the main dietary culprit in acne due to their negative effects on hormonal regulation.

For instance, a 2007 controlled study in 43 young acne-prone men by Smith, et al, found that a low-glycemic-load diet led to a greater reduction in acne lesions than a higher-glycemic-load diet. What’s more, the low-glycemic-load group experienced a decrease in androgen and insulin levels, improvement in insulin sensitivity, and weight loss. By contrast, the other group had increases in weight, insulin levels, and insulin resistance.

It’s important to point out that this wasn’t really a low-carb diet; the low-glycemic-load carbs accounted for about 44% of the total dietary intake. Would there have been an even greater improvement with a low-carb or keto diet providing less than 15% of energy from carbs?

Low-carb and ketogenic diets for acne

Many people have reported that their skin has become much clearer as a result of following a low-carb or keto diet.

Although controlled research on carb restriction for acne has yet to be done, many people have reported that their skin has become much clearer as a result of following a low-carb or keto diet.

Moreover, there are logical reasons why minimizing carb intake would be helpful for acne sufferers.

A 2012 article by Italian researchers discusses the potential benefits of ketogenic diets for acne, including the following:

Reduction in insulin levels: Elevated insulin levels stimulate increased production of skin cells, sebum, and androgens – setting the stage for acne eruptions. Ketogenic diets decrease insulin levels, often dramatically.

Anti-inflammatory effects: Inflammation drives acne progression. Very-low-carb and ketogenic diets have been shown to reduce inflammation.

Decrease in IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1): Ketogenic diets decrease levels of IGF-1. Like insulin, IGF-1 increases sebum production and has been found to play a large role in acne.

In a compelling 2013 review on therapeutic uses of ketogenic diets for various conditions, Paoli, et al, state that although the emerging evidence for the use of keto diets in acne is promising, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are needed to confirm these benefits.

Keto or low carb: Which is best for acne?

As there aren’t yet any studies on stricter low-carb or keto diets for acne at this time, it’s difficult to determine the degree of carb restriction needed to achieve the best results. Similar to losing weight or reducing blood sugar, the necessary carb reduction for potential acne control likely varies from person to person. It’s possible that stricter low-carb diets are more effective.

Tips for maximizing the benefits of a keto or low-carb diet for acne

Below are some additional dietary tweaks that may or may not be useful. They are based on preliminary evidence, small studies that need to be repeated to know for sure whether the suggested effects are real.

Consume fatty fish often: Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are anti-inflammatory and have been credited with possibly improving acne. The best sources include salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and anchovies.

Eat low-carb vegetables: Leafy green and cruciferous vegetables may help promote hormonal regulation and improve skin health. Notable dermatology researcher Bodo Melnik recommends a Paleo diet rich in vegetables for acne management.

Avoid or limit dairy: Dairy has been shown to increase levels of insulin and IGF-1. Although skim milk seems to have the the strongest link to acne, cheese has also been implicated as a potential issue.

Drink green tea: Green tea is the best source of the antioxidant EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate). A 2016 study found that green tea extract appeared to significantly reduce acne lesions in adult women with moderate to severe acne.

Avoid or limit dark chocolate: Although earlier studies showed no difference in acne response when chocolate was compared to other sweets, a 2016 study found that even virtually sugar-free 99% dark chocolate might significantly worsen breakouts in acne-prone men. For this reason you may want to limit even dark chocolate intake, just to be safe.

Focus on fresh low-carb foods: Even if you don’t eat sugary and starchy foods, you may still be consuming ingredients that can cause skin issues. Bologna and other processed meats often contain sugar, corn syrup, fillers or other additives that raise insulin levels and potentially provoke inflammation. Stick to fresh food whenever possible, and read labels on processed meats and other packaged foods.

Give the diet some time: Paradoxically, some people report a worsening of acne shortly after starting a keto or low-carb diet. However, this appears to be short-lived and may be part of the keto-adapatation process. Overall, breakouts seem to improve with carb restriction long term in the vast majority of people.

Summary

While the evidence is still somewhat preliminary, there are many reasons to believe that low-carb and keto diets can improve acne. Feel free to read several stories below from people who have tried it, and to use our free guides linked below to get started.

By choosing nutrient-dense low-carb whole foods that minimize insulin levels and reduce inflammation, you may be giving yourself the best shot at clearer, healthier skin.

Trying a low-carb diet is safe, and besides the cost of buying real food, it’s also free. So why not try it out for a few weeks, and see what happens to your skin?

Have you already tried a low-carb or keto diet for acne? Feel free to leave a comment below, and share your experiences.

I have acne! Is it okay to wear makeup?

Yes, you can wear makeup, but you’ll want to choose it carefully. Some cosmetics can cause acne. When this happens, you develop a type of acne called acne cosmetica. Even women who would not otherwise have acne can develop acne cosmetica from wearing makeup.

How to figure out if makeup could be causing your acne

If you have acne cosmetica, you’ll likely have many tiny bumps on your face. These bumps usually appear on the cheeks, chin, or forehead. Many women develop whiteheads that rise above their skin slightly. You may also notice some pimples.

If you have tiny breakouts around your lips, your lipstick or lip balm could be the culprit.

Acne cosmetica can take time to appear. It can take anywhere from a few days to 6 months for blemishes to appear.

This delay can make it difficult to see a connection between acne and the makeup causing it.  As you see new blemishes, you may treat the acne and then cover it with acne-causing makeup. Continuing to use the makeup leads to a never-ending cycle of breakouts.

This never-ending cycle can feel frustrating. Many women start to believe that nothing will clear their acne. 

How to clear acne cosmetica

Even when makeup causes your acne, you can still wear makeup and see clearer skin. You’ll have to use different makeup though.

acne cosmetica
Need to use acne medication? Want to wear makeup? Apply the acne medication first.

Here’s what dermatologists recommend to see clearer skin:

  1. Choose your makeup carefully. You’ll want to immediately stop using all of the makeup that’s causing your breakouts. Of course, it can be hard to tell what’s causing your acne.
  2. Oil-free
  3. Won’t clog pores
  4. Non-comedogenic
  5. Wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser — and after you finish any activity that makes you sweat.Dermatologists recommend that you wash your face when you wake up and before you go to bed.

    Before using your cleanser, look for the words “oil-free”, “won’t clog pores,” or “non-comedogenic” on the packaging. If you don’t see any of these terms, look for a cleanser that contains one of these descriptions. 
  6. Use your fingertips to gently wash and rinse your face. You want to gently apply your cleanser with your fingertips and gently rinse it off with lukewarm water. Don’t scrub — even to remove makeup. 

    If you find that you still have makeup on your skin after washing your face, gently remove it with an oil-free makeup remover.

    After using a makeup remover, rinse it off.
  7. Apply makeup gently. Your touch should be feather light. You want to avoid irritating your skin. Makeup brushes can help you apply everything gently.
  8. Clean your makeup brushes every week and make sure you’re the only one who uses them. While acne isn’t contagious, acne-causing bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil from other people’s skin can stick to your makeup, makeup brushes, and applicators. When you use shared makeup and tools, those acne-causing culprits can spread to your skin, leading to new breakouts.

    When you share makeup, brushes, or applicators, you can also get contagious diseases, such as pink eye or cold sores.
  9. Treat your acne. Acne cosmetica will often clear when you stop using the makeup and hair and skin care products that clog your pores.

    If anything else is causing your acne, however, you’ll still see acne. That’s why dermatologists recommend that you treat your acne with products that contain one or more of the following ingredients:
  • Azelaic Acid (fights acne-causing bacteria and reduces pigmentation from acne spots)
  • Salicylic acid (helps unclog pores)
  • Bio-sulphur (helps unclog pores)
Acne cosmetica
Our non-prescription products contain Azelaic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Bio Sulphur

You can buy these acne treatments without a prescription from our website: DermaActive Acne Programme

It can take 4 to 8 weeks to see some improvement.

When to seek a dermatologist’s help

Acne cosmetica tends to clear once you stop using what’s causing it. Finding the cause, however, can be difficult. So many products can lead to acne cosmetica, including foundation, blush, and concealer. Some hair and skin care products can also cause it.

To complicate matters, more than acne cosmetica could be causing your acne.

A dermatologist can help you sort it out, so you can see clearer skin.

Why visit Elan Medical Skin Clinic?

With many years’ experience in skin conditions, Sue Ibrahim, our nurse consultant in dermatology, understands the emotional distress caused by acne and acne scars. Better still, as a skin expert, she has a range of treatments at her fingertips that will help.

Fantastic advances in modern skin treatments mean that no-one has to feel self conscious about acne or the resulting scars. At Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex we have a wide variety of treatment options to help control acne and prevent scarring. Evidence suggests that a combination of treatments can produce a better outcome and help keep acne under control. 

Click here to read what our patients are currently saying about Elan Medical Skin Clinic

You may wish to read some of our recent blogs on Roaccutane and Sprinonoctone for the treatment of acne.

How do I book an appointment?

You can either call Elan Medical Skin Clinic on 01268 770660 between 9.30am and 5pm Monday to Saturday or you can click here to book online and one of our reception team will contact you by phone or email, whichever you prefer. You will be asked to pay your initial consultation fee by credit or debit card on confirming your appointment.

Spironalactone Treatment for Acne in Essex

What is spironolactone and how does it work in the treatment of acne?

Spironolactone is a drug usually prescribed for patients with heart problems, high blood pressure and fluid retention. It can also have hormonal effects by blocking the action of androgens, “male hormones”, that are normally produced by women in low levels. Some women have raised levels of androgens or increased sensitivity to normal levels of androgens and this can lead to skin disorders. Spironolactone thus can be used in the management of these conditions.

Spironolactone

Spironolactone is often a good treatment for women with PCOS

What skin conditions are treated with spironolactone?

Spironolactone is used ‘off-licence’ to treat women with acne, female pattern hair loss and hirsutism (male pattern hair growth in women). “Off-licence” means that is not specifically indicated for these conditions in the prescribing licence. It is also used in the management of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It is not usually given to men to treat skin problems. Will spironolactone cure my condition? Spironolactone is not a cure but taken long-term it can help control and sometimes clear acne. It can help reduce excess facial and body hair and improve the thickness of scalp hair in women with certain types of hair loss. The treatment works slowly over several months.

How long will I need to take spironolactone before I see an effect?

Most women find that their acne starts to improve after about 3 months of treatment. Hair complaints take longer, and treatment usually needs to be continued for up to six months before the benefit can be seen.

What are the common side effects of spironolactone?

Common side-effects in pre-menopausal women include breast tenderness/enlargement and irregular menstrual periods. These symptoms usually settle with continued treatment and may be helped by taking spironolactone with the oral contraceptive pill. Spironolactone can cause a drop in blood pressure when going from sitting to standing (postural hypotension) which causes dizziness, a light-headed feeling or fainting. Uncommon side effects include drowsiness, fatigue, headache, loss of libido (sex drive) and very rarely, confusion and loss of coordination. As this medication is a diuretic it can increase the amount of urine produced by the body.

What are the rare side effects of spironolactone?

Raised blood levels of potassium levels may occur during treatment with spironolactone. This is uncommon in younger patients (< 45 years) and those without heart or kidney problems and in people who do not take other drugs that affect potassium levels. It may very rarely cause abnormal blood counts and allergic rashes. Animal tests with very high doses of spironolactone showed a possible association with cancer, but this has not been observed in normal use of this medication in humans.

Are any other precautions necessary?

Do not take this medication if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant as it can affect the normal development of your unborn child. Women taking spironolactone should use effective contraception to prevent pregnancy. Taking combined oral contraceptive pills in combination with spironolactone can increase its effectiveness in treating acne as well as providing contraception and reducing hormonal side-effects such as menstrual irregularities.

How will I be monitored for the side effects of spironolactone treatment?

Your doctor may recommend a blood test to check your potassium level before starting treatment and occasionally during treatment. These checks may be needed more frequently if you have heart or kidney problems or if you take other medication that affects potassium levels.

May I drink alcohol while taking spironolactone?

Drinking alcohol may increase some of the side-effects of spironolactone such as dizziness. It would be advisable to moderate your alcohol consumption in accordance with recommended guidelines.

Can I take other medicines at the same time as spironolactone?

If you are taking any of the following medications, please inform your doctor (you can check with your doctor or pharmacist): • Diuretics (“water tablets”) • Potassium supplements • ACE Inhibitors (eg quinapril, captopril) • Tablets for high blood pressure • Aspirin, indomethacin (an anti-inflammatory/analgesic drug) • Digoxin (used to treat heart conditions) • Trimethoprim and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (types of antibiotics)

What happens next?

If you would like to ask our Medical Director & Nurse Consultant, Sue Ibrahim a message, by all means do. We provide a responsive service that aims to set your mind at ease and ensure you are fully informed before booking your consultation. At Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex, all new patients receive a thorough consultation and medical assessment prior to treatment.

How do I book an appointment?

You can either call Elan Medical Skin Clinic on 01268 770660 between 9.30am and 5pm Monday to Saturday or you can click here to book online and one of our reception team will contact you by phone or email, whichever you prefer. You will be asked to pay your initial consultation fee by credit or debit card on confirming your appointment.

Roaccutane Treatment for Acne in Essex

What is Roaccutane and how does it work?

Roaccutane is a member of a group of drugs, closely related to vitamin A, called retinoids. Isotretitinoin is the generic name of a drug marketed by a number of companies, but the original brand name was Roaccutane. It works in a variety of ways, targeting several of the factors that cause acne and other skin conditions including the production of sebum (an oily substance produced by the skin) and the production of keratin (outer scales of skin) that block the pores of the hair follicle and cause acne.

What skin conditions are treated with Roaccutane?

Roaccutane is licensed and commonly used to treat moderate and severe acne, often where there is risk of scarring. Your dermatologist may occasionally use Roacutane to treat other skin conditions such as hidradenitis suppurativa and rosacea. In the United Kingdom Roaccutane may only be prescribed if you are under the care of a dermatologist.

Roaccutane

Roaccutane is used to treat both men and women with acne

Will Roaccutane cure my acne?

A large proportion of patients (about 9 out of 10) see a significant improvement in their acne with a single course of Roaccutane, although during the first few weeks of treatment the acne may worsen before it starts to improve.

A small number of patients continue to have milder (although improved) acne following Roaccutane that can be controlled with conventional therapies, such as antibiotics. Others may relapse after stopping treatment with Roaccutane, and occasionally, a prolonged or second course of treatment is required.

Roaccutane is sometimes prescribed for severe rosacea too.

What dose should I take and for how long?

Your dermatologist will calculate the amount of Roaccutane you need according to your body weight and decide on an appropriate starting dose. At future appointments, the dose of Roaccutane may be changed depending on how well you are coping with the side effects and responding to the medication. Most patients take between 20 mg and 80 mg of isotretinoin each day, and a course commonly lasts around 24 weeks. With doses in the lower end of this range, which are often better tolerated, a course may last longer than 24 weeks. Your acne may continue to improve for up to 8 weeks after treatment.

How should I take Roaccutane?

As isotretinoin is best absorbed into the body with food containing some dietary fat, it should ideally be taken after a meal or a snack with milk rather than on an empty stomach. The capsules need to be swallowed whole and should not be crushed or split open. Keep the capsules in a cool (5 to 25°C) dark place away from children.

What are the common side effects of Roaccutane?

In general, dryness of the skin, lips, and eyes is the most common side effect. Using a non-comedogenic moisturiser (one that does not block the skin pores) and a lip balm regularly will help to prevent these symptoms. An increased risk of skin infections accompanies the skin becoming dry and cracked. Nosebleeds may occur if the inside of the nose becomes very dry. Dry eyes may interfere with the wearing of contact lenses and may be helped by using artificial tears. The skin may also peel and become fragile, with wounds taking longer to heal. Whilst taking Roaccutane, and for six months afterwards, your skin will be more delicate than usual; waxing, epilation, dermabrasion and laser treatment should be avoided. Shaving is normally tolerated, but the use of a moisturiser afterwards is advisable.

Roaccutane may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. You should, therefore, avoid direct sun exposure whilst taking this medication. Where necessary a sun-protection product with a high protection factor of at least SPF 30 should be used. You should also avoid the use of sun beds. Muscles and joints may ache especially after exercise. Temporary hair thinning may occasionally occur. Isotretinoin can affect your vision, in particular, the ability to see at night, and caution is required in people whose job requires good night vision, such as drivers and those who operate heavy machinery. If you develop difficulties seeing at night or in dark situations you should avoid driving and/or operating heavy machinery. Airline pilots will not be able to continue their job while on isotretinoin and are advised to discuss this with their employer before starting the medication, and check with current Civil Aviation guidelines. These vision changes may be permanent in extremely rare circumstances.

Increased fat levels in the blood, and mild liver inflammation can occur but are usually not of clinical significance; these will be monitored by blood tests during the course of treatment. If you have had problems with your liver or kidneys, or suffer from high cholesterol or diabetes, you should discuss this with your doctor prior to starting the medication.

Peanut or soya allergy

Roaccutane contains soya oil. Occasionally, patients with soya allergy might react to the trace levels of soya proteins in soya oil. Exceptionally rarely, patients with peanut allergy might have a cross reaction to soya proteins in soya oil. You should inform your doctor and pharmacist if you think you may have an allergy to soya or peanut.

What are the rare side effects of Roaccutane?

A number of more serious side effects may occur although these are fortunately rare. Roaccutane can lead to changes in mood and/or behaviour and less commonly, unusual experiences including thoughts of self-harm and suicide. There have also been reports of patients attempting suicide. If you have ever had low mood, suicidal ideas or any other mental health problem, please discuss this with your doctor before starting treatment. If you have a history of depression your dermatologist may ask a psychiatrist to see you before starting Roaccutane to determine if it is safe for you to take. If you or your friends/relatives feel that your mood or behaviour is changing, or if you start having thoughts of self-harm whilst taking isotretinoin, please inform your doctor and stop taking it immediately. Your doctor will then discuss it with you and advise if it is safe to take in the future.

Rarely, inflammation of the liver or pancreas may occur. Very rarely, increased pressure in the brain may present with morning headaches and disturbance of vision. Sexual side effects, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased libido, may also occur but these are understood to be rare. If you do suffer from a side effect then stopping or reducing the dose of isotretinoin may resolve the problem. Please talk to your doctor or nurse before making any changes to your medication. The list of side effects is not exhaustive, and if you do develop any new problems while taking isotretinoin please inform your doctor or nurse.

May I drink alcohol whilst taking Roaccutane?

Ideally alcohol should be avoided completely, as this can cause inflammation of the liver.

Can I take other medications at the same time as Roaccutane?

Most drugs can be taken safely with Roaccutane but some medications may interact. It is important that you tell your doctor and pharmacist what you are currently taking before taking any new prescription or over-the-counter medications. Medications to avoid while taking Roaccutane include: • Tetracycline antibiotics • Methotrexate This is not a complete list and it is important that you always inform your doctor and pharmacist that you are taking Roaccutane, and read the in-pack leaflet. Vitamin supplements containing vitamin A should be avoided during a course of Roaccutane.

Are there any other precautions whilst taking Roaccutane?

You must never share your tablets, especially with women. Do not donate blood whilst taking isotretinoin and for a month afterwards in case the blood is given to a pregnant woman.

There has been no known adverse effect on the pregnancy if a man taking Roaccutane fathers a child. However, as Roaccutane is present in semen, it may be a sensible precaution to use a condom to avoid transmission of any of the drug to females. Women should not breast-feed while taking Roaccutane.

Why is there concern about women taking Roaccutane and pregnancy?

If a pregnant woman takes Roaccutane there is a high risk that the unborn baby will be harmed. There is an increased risk of miscarriage and babies may have severe and serious defects (such as abnormal appearance or intellectual disability). For this reason: • Roaccutane should not be taken during pregnancy. • You must not become pregnant whilst taking Roaccutane, or for at least one month after stopping Roaccutane. • You should not breast-feed whilst taking Roaccutane, or for one month afterwards. • If you do become pregnant, or suspect that you may be pregnant, you must stop the medication immediately and contact your doctor, so you may be referred to a specialist pregnancy clinic.

What happens next?

If you would like to ask our Medical Director & Nurse Consultant, Sue Ibrahim a message, by all means do. We provide a responsive service that aims to set your mind at ease and ensure you are fully informed before booking your consultation. At Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex, all new patients receive a thorough consultation and medical assessment prior to treatment.

How do I book an appointment?

You can either call Elan Medical Skin Clinic on 01268 770660 between 9.30am and 5pm Monday to Saturday or you can click here to book online and one of our reception team will contact you by phone or email, whichever you prefer. You will be asked to pay your initial consultation fee by credit or debit card on confirming your appointment.

The Psychological effects of Acne in women

Women are disproportionately affected by the psychological impact of skin diseases, like acne, rosacea and psoriasis.

Women in treatment for skin diseases, including acne, rosacea and psoriasis, experience greater psychological trauma, including anxiety and depression, than men according to recently published research. Identifying these conditions earlier can not only improve their quality of life, but it can also reduce the impact that acne and other skin conditions.

At Elan Medical Skin Clinic we understand the emotional effects of having a skin disorder.

Existing research shows anxiety and depression occur frequently in patients with skin conditions. But, based on new study findings published in the European Journal of Dermatology, researchers determined if dermatologists administer questionnaires that assess a patient’s possible anxiety and depression levels, they could pinpointing who might benefit from psychological counselling.

“The aim of the present study was to define predictors that can be used by dermatologists to refer patients for psychological consultation and psychotherapy to improve patients’ clinical outcomes,” the study authors wrote.

Although the study assessed the psychological status of both men and women, the researchers reported that the psychological life of women is more severely impacted by skin diseases than that of men.

To assess patients’ psychological states, investigators used two questionnaires — the 12-question, self-administered General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) designed to assess psychological distress or non-psychotic disorders and the Skindex-17, a measure of health-related quality-of-life issues related to dermatologic conditions.

Using both questionnaires, they tested the effectiveness with 651 patients from Oct. 14 to Dec. 17, 2014, in three hospital wards. Of this group, 508 (78 percent) completed the GHQ-12 — 56.1 percent were women with an average age of 58.3 years. Among the participants, 179 (35.2 percent) scored 4 or more, indicating the possible presence of depression or anxiety, and 80 (15.7 percent) scored 7 or more, revealing the probable presence of depression or anxiety.

More women than men had scores above the two chosen cut-off points with a significant difference for a score of 4 or more (p=0.004). Dermatological patients who were hospitalized had higher rates of probably depression and anxiety than did outpatients (p<0.001). In fact, the highest GHQ scores (4 or more) occurred in patients with leg ulcers (p=0.013), psoriasis (p=0.058), and pemphigoid (p=0.092).

Skindex-17 scores closely mirrored those from GHQ. Average scores were higher in women than men (p=0.008). And, the psychological impact was greatest in patients with leg ulcers, hidradenitis suppurativa, psoriasis, dermatitis, and pemphigoid.

Investigators also compared the participants’ questionnaire scores with the records of which patients had undergone psychological counseling. Among the patients who had GHQ scores of 7 or more, 53.8 percent met with a psychologist, and 24.2 percent of those with scores between 4 and 6 received counseling. Again, women were more likely to receive these services than men, as were younger patients.

Overall, the researchers said, this study shows, initially, that implementing a self-administered screening questionnaire can augment a patient’s care.

“Our pilot study provides preliminary evidence that the use of a simple, self-administered screening questionnaire for non-psychotic psychiatric disorders, such as the GHQ-12, may alert the dermatologist to the needs of certain patients for further assessment and possible psychological support,” the authors wrote.

If dermatologists can recognize these disorders, they could potentially provide referrals for services that could improve a patient’s clinical condition. In fact, the researchers wrote, existing research has shown, among patients with psoriasis, that initiating mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can significantly improve both the psoriasis severity and the patient’s quality-of-life.

Ultimately, investigators determined, administering these questionnaires can be an expedient way to identify any underlying psychological conditions that could affect a patient’s dermatological treatment.

“To alleviate the suffering of a patient, the treatment of psychiatric/psychological problems is foremost,” they wrote. “Moreover, better patient morale may also improve adherence to treatment, as well as health outcomes.”

How can we help?

At Elan Medical Skin Clinic we see a lot of women with skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and psoriasis. We understand the psychological effects associated with acne, rosacea and psoriasis. Our caring, professional staff ensure that our patients are not told that their condition is ‘only mild’. During the initial dermatology consultation, we will discuss treatments that you have used in the past and we will devise a medical treatment plan based on medical evidence, rather than anecdotal myth. You will be treated with understanding.

What happens next?

If you would like to ask our Medical Director & Nurse Consultant, Sue Ibrahim a message, by all means do. We provide a responsive service that aims to set your mind at ease and ensure you are fully informed before booking your consultation. At Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex, all new patients receive a thorough consultation and medical assessment prior to treatment. Click here to read what our patients are currently saying about Elan Medical Skin Clinic

How do I book an appointment?

You can either call Elan Medical Skin Clinic on 01268 770660 between 9.30am and 5pm Monday to Saturday or you can click here to book online and one of our reception team will contact you by phone or email, whichever you prefer. You will be asked to pay your initial consultation fee by credit or debit card on confirming your appointment.

Spironolactone for Acne

What is Spironolactone?

Spironolactone is a medication that has been around since the 1950s. It functions as a diuretic medication (promotes water loss) and is licensed in the UK for the treatment of blood pressure and heart failure.

So what does this have to do with acne?

As with many medications, they often come onto the market for a specific medical problem and then we realise the drug itself has a number of other actions. In otherwise fit, young healthy women, without a background of kidney or heart problems, it is also an extremely effective drug for adult acne.

Spironolactone

Acne can be distressing if you suffer from PCOS

How does Spironolactone work for acne?

Acne is caused by an interplay between hormones and genetics. Hormones known as androgens drive oil production in the skin which is part of the process in acne development. Spironolactone is an ‘anti-androgen’ drug and reduces the level of androgen hormones in the skin. The knock-on effect is reduced activity of the oil glands. Scientific studies have shown that it is able to reduce oil production at starting doses of 50-100mg daily.

Who is Spironolactone useful for?

Spironolactone

Spironolactone is often a good treatment for women with PCOS

At Elan Medical Skin Clinic we often use Spironolactone in the following circumstances:

  1. Post-teenage women with acne
  2. Acne that flares up with menstruation
  3. Women with acne that aren’t suitable for Roaccutane or do not wish to take it
  4. Women with a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Who should not take Spironolactone?

It is not a suitable treatment for male patients with acne, as it is not a good idea to reduce androgen hormones in men. It is also not suitable for those with underlying heart or kidney problems. It should also not be taken if you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What happens next?

If you would like to discuss this or any other treatment for acne, we provide a responsive service that aims to set your mind at ease and ensure you are fully informed before booking your dermatology consultation.

How do I book an appointment?

You can either call Elan Medical Skin Clinic on 01268 770660 between 9.30am and 5pm Monday to Saturday or you can click here to fill in a contact form and one of our reception team will contact you by phone or email, whichever you prefer. You will be asked to pay your initial consultation fee by credit or debit card on confirming your appointment.

Our Essex skin expert shines a ‘spot’light on acne myths

Young woman looks at a river. Suffering with acne? Call Sue Ibrahim at Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex for help and advice.

Suffering with acne? Call Sue Ibrahim at Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex for help and advice.

Despite being one of the most widespread skin conditions affecting teenagers AND adult men and women, acne is one of the most poorly understood. There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding acne and its causes. In this month’s blog, our skin expert and nurse consultant in dermatology, Sue Ibrahim, helps separate fact from fiction.

Myth: A poor diet high in fat and dairy causes acne

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Essex skin expert reveals the fads not back up by evidence

A girl drinks a sports drink - Essex skin expert from Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh debunks the myths not based on scientific evidence

Essex skin expert from Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh debunks the myths not based on scientific evidence

Before you reach for yet another glass of water, Essex skin expert, Sue Ibrahim would like to shed some light on some of the skin fads out there.

At Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh we do not offer new technology or recommend certain skin care regimes until there is a wealth of clinical evidence to show they are safe and the results are clinically proven. Here are some myths that have no evidence base behind the advice.

Skin fad no.1 – drink 2 litres of water a day

It is claimed that drinking two litres of water a day is the amount we should drink for optimal health. This much water is said to benefit us in many ways from flushing away harmful toxins from our bodies, reducing lines and wrinkles, clearing acne, to helping us lose weight and fighting infections, among others.

But according to American paediatrician Aaron E. Caroll from Indiana University, there’s absolutely no science to back up the idea that we should be drinking eight glasses of water a day, and there never was.

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Skin changes during pregnancy

Pregnancy is normally a time when you are radiating with excitement, yes? But when your pregnancy complexion doesn’t always reflect that inner joy it can dampen your spirits.

Worry not, for most you will find that these skin issues resolve themselves following the birth of your baby.  Here are some of the most common skin problems women encounter during pregnancy—and what you can do about them.

skinproblems

Pregnancy should be a time of excitement

Skin Sensitivity

Go easier on your skin now that you’re pregnant. You might get red more easily if you use a facial scrub, your normal facial might verge on painful, and the perfumed lotion you wear might irritate your skin (and make you nauseated, but that’s a different story). That’s why many mums-to-be switch to unscented products and start choosing products that do not contain harsh chemicals, preservatives and fragrances. “You certainly don’t want anything causing micro-tears on your skin,” says Sue Ibrahim, our dermatology nurse consultant.  “The more cuts and wounds on your skin, the easier it is for chemicals to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Ingredients to stay away from in soaps and body washes include sodium laureth sulphate, parabens and fragrance.” These ingredients aren’t just potential irritants—some say they could pose health risks to baby. We say believe it, because (not surprisingly) a lot of products aren’t tested directly on pregnant women. If you are using prescription topicals on your face you need to tell your doctor that you are pregnant as most prescription creams are not licensed for use during pregnancy either. At Elan Medical Skin Clinic we advise our patients to use our Elan Medical DermaCalm range during pregnancy, because they are free from fragrances and preservatives. They also contain mild anti-inflammatory ingredients that can soothe irritated skin.

Acne breakouts during pregnancy

During pregnancy your hormones are all over the place, and that might mean pimples like you had when you were a teenager. The cruel joke, of course, is that many of the treatments that are prescribed for acne cannot be used during pregnancy. Prescription medications like Tetracyclines, Isotretinoin (Roacutane(R)) and the anti-androgen hormone therapies are definite no-nos. And the jury’s out on over-the-counter creams, since they haven’t been tested specifically on pregnant women (yup, you find that a lot with products). Ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be absorbed into the bloodstream, so they’re not worth the risk either. “You can safely use lactic acid and biosulfur to treat acne,” Sue Ibrahim says. Don’t touch, pick or squeeze pimples— just wash with a mild cleanser twice a day. “A lot of women find Acne Phototherapy beneficial during pregnancy and it is perfectly safe for both you and the baby.

Sun Sensitivity

Sorry, mums-to-be, but “pregnancy glow” does not refer to a bronzed, sun-kissed complexion. You should actually try to stay out of the sun as much as you can while you’re pregnant. That’s because your surging hormones make you susceptible to dark patches on your skin—known as melasma, or the ‘mask of pregnancy’, which is triggered by sun exposure. So pull out the big floppy hat, find a beach umbrella and be diligent about wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day. If you are unlucky and do get Melasma during pregnancy it may resolve on its own following the birth of your baby, if not then you will need the help of a dermatologist I’m afraid.

Stretch marks

Now you’ve got another big skin concern: stretch marks. Anytime someone’s body grows quickly, they’re at risk for stretch marks, so the fact that baby is growing exponentially in there puts you right in the high-risk zone. Of course, not every mum-to-be gets stretch marks. “For most people, whether or not they get stretch marks has to do with genetic predisposition,” says Sue Ibrahim. But you can do your best to head them off by gently exfoliating and thoroughly moisturising your belly, boobs, stomach, hips and thighs as much as you can. As for what moisturizer to use, it’s hard to make a recommendation. “A lot of products make claims,” Sue Ibrahim says. “Some may help but aren’t really proven to prevent stretch marks.” If you are left with troublesome stretch marks following the birth of you baby, it is worth looking into the skin tightening treatments we offer at Elan Medical Skin Clinic.

Skin rashes during pregnancy

If you’ve got red, itchy skin, it’s important not to ignore it. Itchy feet and hands could be a sign of cholestasis of pregnancy, a scary complication that can cause liver problems for baby. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to make sure that’s not causing your rash. Another common pregnancy rash is PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), which often starts in the abdomen and spreads from there. PUPPP is actually harmless to baby, but it will be completely aggravating for you. Book in for a Dermatology Consultation if you are concerned.

Acne, you don’t have to live with it!

Acne is a very common skin problem characterised by blackheads and whiteheads and pus-filled spots. Although we tend to associate acne as a teenage problem, here at Elan Medical Skin Clinic, we see acne in men and women of all ages.

Acne can vary in severity from a few spots on the face to quite a significant problem on the face, chest, shoulders and back.

It is not just the acne that can have a significant impact on self-confidence, the scarring and altered skin pigmentation that is left behind when the spots clear up can also cause a lot of distress.

Aacne treatments at Elan Medical Skin Clinics

Acne, you don’t have to live with it!

Unfortunately, many doctors can trivialise the effects acne can have on a person’s confidence, self-esteem and quality of life. Having spent over 30 years working within medical dermatology, Sue Ibrahim is passionate about treating acne early and effectively as she fully understands the consequences of living this spots on a daily basis. At Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex, we take the time to listen to your concerns and devise a management plan to get your skin looking great again!

What causes acne?

The oil-producing (sebaceous) glands are particularly sensitive to certain hormones present in both males and females. These hormones stimulate the production of excess oil. At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the pores clog up the follicles. As a result, there is a build up of oil, producing blackheads and whiteheads. Acne bacteria lives on everyone’s skin and in those prone to acne, the build up of oil creates an ideal environment in which the bacteria can multiply. This triggers inflammation and the formation of red, pus-filled spots that can be quite uncomfortable.

Some acne can be caused by medication given for other medical conditions or by certain contraceptive pills or injections. Some tablets taken by body-builders contain hormones that can trigger acne and other problems.

How will your acne be diagnosed?

There are several varieties of acne that Sue Ibrahim will be able to diagnose at your dermatology consultation. We have extensive experience in dealing with all types of acne. We will discuss the treatment options available to you that can be very effective in preventing the formation of new spots and scarring.

How can acne be treated?

Acne treatments fall into the following categories:

  • Treatment with topical creams (prescription and/or non-prescription)
  • Treatment with oral antibiotics alongside topical creams
  • Treatment with oral hormones that counteract the hormones that can trigger acne
  • Isotretinoin tablets (Often referred to by the trade name Roaccutane (R))

There are also a number of cosmetic dermatology treatments that can help, although these treatments are not usually offered on the NHS:

And there are treatments that can help with scarring:

Many thousands of people have been treated by Sue Ibrahim for their acne at Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex. It is our philosophy to work alongside your own GP, or a Consultant Dermatologist to provide the best possible outcome for our patients.

If you are fed up with suffering from acne or any other skin condition, why not book your dermatology consultation now!