Acne is a common skin condition that can affect both teenagers and adults. In men and women alike it is typically triggered by excess sebum. Testosterone enters the sebaceous glands and stimulates sebum production. In men testosterone originates in the male sexual organs, while in women it is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands.

There are four main factors that contribute to acne:

  1. Overactive sebaceous glands
  2. Cell accumulation
  3. Bacteria
  4. Inflammation
  5. 1) Overactive Sebaceous Glands
  • Sebum production, or excess oil, is the catalyst for acne or skin breakouts. This is often associated with enlarged pores, a tendency toward follicle congestion, and an oily T-zone.
  • When testosterone is secreted into the body and enters into the sebaceous gland, the enzyme 5-alpha reductase converts the testosterone into di-hydrotestosterone. This stimulates sebum formation in the sebaceous glands.
  • 5-alpha reductase is sensitive to hormone levels – an excess production of sebum when testosterone levels escalate, which is seen during puberty.
  • Recent studies have shown that this enzyme may increase its sensitivity to testosterone, triggering excess sebum production even when lower levels of the hormone are present.
  • Scientists have discovered several new ingredients to regulate sebaceous gland secretions by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase enzyme activity and by decreasing overall lipid formation.

2) Cell Accumulation and 3) Bacteria

When acne is present,

  • a proliferation of cells occurs at the neck of the follicle,
  • accompanied by excess sebum that causes the cells to stick together along with bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes=Corynebacterium acnes),
  • the conglomeration of the sebum and cells leads to formation of an impaction plug that provides a nice anaerobic environment for the bacteria to thrive in,
  • this process (abnormal desquamation of sebaceous-follicle epithelium results in altered keratinization) is called retention hyperkeratosis; this first stage impacted follicle is often referred to as a micro comedone.

There are fewer lamellar granules in the Stratum Granulosum of acneic skin which contain the desquamation enzymes and lipids that comprise the barrier layer in the intercellular spaces, this could account for the accumulation of cells in the follicle canal.

Acneic skin is more permeable around the sebaceous gland and follicle, which may lead to leakage and inflammation into surrounding tissue. Studies have shown that linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that is a component of the barrier lipid layer, is indeed deficient in acneic clients.

The bacteria in the follicle excrete a lipase enzyme to break down the sebum triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol. The sebum is used as a food source and the free fatty acids are merely waste products that irritate the lining of the follicle. At this point, the disease may result in non-inflammatory lesions and simply produce closed commedones (whiteheads) which may turn into open commedones (blackheads) and expel their contents.

4) Inflammation

Inflamed lesions may also result, whereby the follicle wall ruptures forming a papule:

  • if the break in the follicle is close to the surface, a pustule results,
  • if it is deeper, a nodule forms,
  • in some cases, a membrane entraps the infection and a cyst develops

Regardless, matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) enzymes are stimulated to help repair the damaged tissue and white blood cells invade the area: this is when inflammation sets in.

Scientists have discovered that specific ingredients can inhibit the lipase enzyme in the bacteria that is responsible for breaking down sebum triglycerides into free fatty acids that are known to cause irritation in the skin. Controlling the breakdown of triglycerides helps minimize inflammation due to the free fatty acids; and since the fatty acids are often attacked by free radicals leading to additional irritation, if we can inhibit the formation of the free fatty acids then we can effectively prevent inflammation before it occurs.

What can be done to treat the affected follicles?

  • Overactive sebaceous glands (i.e. excess sebum production including hormonal fluctuations like those that occur at puberty, peri-menopause, and menopause) can be controlled with ingredients such as Niacinamide to eliminate the bacteria and oily shine.
  • Cell accumulation which impacts follicles and triggers early commedone formations (whiteheads and blackheads) can be controlled with professional and home use exfoliation using ingredients like Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid.
  • Bacteria formation in the follicles and on the skin’s, surface usually causes irritation due to the fatty acids which are the waste products of the breakdown of sebum (lipase activity) as a food source.  Anti-bacterial agents including Benzoyl Peroxide or Tea Tree Oil can help.
  • The fourth factor which should be controlled is inflammation.  The topical application of anti-inflammatory repair ingredients, botanicals and moisturizers help heal and soothe inflamed skin (some examples are Green Tea and Panthenol).

2.) Cell Accumulation and Bacteria

  • When acne is present a proliferation of cells occurs at the neck of the follicle. This is accompanied by excess sebum, which causes the cells to stick together along with bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes=Corynebacterium acnes)
  • The conglomeration of sebum and cells leads to the formation of an impaction plug. This creates a favorable anaerobic environment where bacteria can thrive.
  • This process (abnormal desquamation of sebaceous-follicle epithelium, which results in altered keratinization) is called retention hyperkeratosis. This is the first stage of an impacted follicle and is often referred to as a micro comedone.
  • There are fewer lamellar granules in the Stratum Granulosum of acneic skin, which contain desquamation enzymes and lipids that comprise the barrier layer in the intercellular spaces of the epidermis. This could account for the accumulation of cells in the follicle canal.
  • Acneic skin is more permeable around the sebaceous gland and follicle, which may lead to leakage and inflammation effecting the surrounding tissue. Studies have shown that linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that is a component of the barrier lipid layer, is indeed deficient in acneic clients.
  • The bacteria in the follicle excretes a lipase enzyme to break down the sebum triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol. The sebum is used as a food source and the free fatty acids are merely waste products that irritate the lining of the follicle. At this point, the disease may result in non-inflammatory lesions and simply produce closed commedones (whiteheads) which may turn into open commedones (blackheads) that expel their contents.

3.) Inflammation

  • Inflamed lesions may also result, whereby the follicle wall ruptures forming a papule.
  • If the break in the follicle is close to the surface, a pustule results, if it is deeper, a nodule forms. In some cases, a membrane entraps the infection and a cyst develops. Regardless, matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) enzymes are stimulated to help repair the damaged tissue and white blood cells invade the area: this is when inflammation sets in.
  • Scientists have discovered that specific ingredients can inhibit the lipase enzyme in the bacteria that is responsible for breaking down sebum triglycerides into free fatty acids, which are known to cause irritation in the skin. Controlling the breakdown of triglycerides helps minimize inflammation due to the free fatty acids. Since the fatty acids are often attacked by free radicals leading to additional irritation, inhibiting the formation of the free fatty acids can effectively prevent inflammation before it occurs.

What can be done to treat the affected follicles?

  • Overactive sebaceous glands (i.e. excess sebum production including hormonal fluctuations, which commonly occur during puberty, peri-menopause, and menopause) can be controlled with ingredients such as Niacinamide. This helps to eliminate the bacteria and oily shine.
  • Cell accumulation, which impacts follicles and triggers early commedone formations (whiteheads and blackheads), can be controlled with professional and home exfoliation, using ingredients like Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid.
  • Bacteria formation in the follicles and on the skin’s surface usually causes irritation due to fatty acids, the waste products released during the breakdown of sebum (lipase activity). Anti-bacterial agents including Benzoyl Peroxide or Tea Tree Oil can help.
  • The fourth factor that should be controlled is inflammation.  The topical application of anti-inflammatory repair ingredients, botanicals and moisturizers help heal and soothe inflamed skin (some examples are Green Tea and Panthenol).

Acne is a common problem. It can cause severe embarrassment, but treatment is available, and it is effective in many cases.

Call Nell Laser Clinic at 416-228-0011 to book a complementary consultation session for acne and acne scars treatments.

Benefits of Chemical Peel for Dry, dehydrated Skin!

Skin is our largest organ with three main functions: protection, regulation, and sensation. Adults carry some 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms) and 22 square feet (2 square meters) of it. The human skin produces about one million skin cells every 40 minutes, which equates to over 36 million skin cells per day. as our skin cells renew from the deeper layer of the epidermis, the more surface cells harden and lose moisture. Eventually these cells detach from skin and are replaced by younger cells moving up from deeper layers. Desquamation (detaching) also eliminates damaged and contaminated cells that carry pollutants and micro-organisms from the environment. These superficial skin cells don’t always effectively fall from skin and may cause clogging and congestion while leaving the skin’s surface dry and dull looking. As we age, desquamation and cell turnover slow down, making professional exfoliation or chemical pell critical to removing the accumulation of cells that give a dry, dull appearance to the skin.

What is Dry and Dehydrated Skin?

Dry skin, generally refers to skin that is lacking oil, whereas dehydrated skin lacks moisture in the outermost layer of the skin.  When skin is both dry and dehydrated, it is often irritated, inflamed and itchy and it is generally worse in areas with relatively few sebaceous (oil) glands such as arms, legs and torso.

What Causes Dehydrated Skin?

There are many factors that contribute to dehydrated skin. Extrinsic factors include the environment; dry, cold air (heaters and air-conditioning); ultraviolet rays; lifestyle (excess bathing); and more specifically, low humidity environments. Skin starts to lose moisture when the relative humidity dips below 60 percent. To put this in perspective, the average office building has a relative humidity of 40 percent; an airplane 10 to 20 percent; a sauna 10 to 30 percent; and the Sahara Desert is 25-percent humid. Dehydrated skin may also result from exposure to chemicals (pollutants, detergents, etc.), hot water, and friction from clothing. Intrinsic factors include physiological abnormalities and illness, as well as one’s mental state (stress), which may also trigger dehydrated skin.

These factors can compromise the skin’s barrier layer which can cause reactive and sensitized skin. When the barrier layer is stripped from our skin, we lose moisture from the deeper layers, leading to the dehydration of the skin. What are the biggest culprits that remove this barrier layer? Very simply: soap and water, over exfoliation, and exposure to harsh chemicals, which can include skin care products! Anything with a high pH like soap will strip the barrier lipids from our skin.

Regardless of what skin condition you have, spraying a hydrating toner (water or botanical extract based—no alcohol!) on the skin after cleansing, followed with a moisturizer is critical. Studies have shown that to maximize the benefits of a moisturizer, it should be applied within two minutes after cleansing the skin.

What Treatment is more Beneficial for Dry Skin?

Through professional chemical peel or skin peel, dry and dulling skin cells effectively removed, and newer cells are revealed for fresher, healthier appearance.                                       

 At Nell Clinic we use professional chemical peel such as Pro Power Peel from Dermalogica -tend to be more concentrated and customizable to all skin type and deliver more dramatic results. It has designed to be applied by licensed professional skin therapists.

Benefits of Chemical peel

Reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation

Minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Evens skin tone

Normalizes cell turnover and cell cohesion

Increases glycosaminoglycanes and collagen synthesis

Increases barrier function and reduces Trans Epidermal Water Loss

Please call for a complementary consultation at 416-228-0011