Whether it’s the first zits that appear post-puberty to the creases that form because of college stress, or the bags under your eyes from sleepless nights, your skin tells a story, even if it’s an inconsistent one. Being the largest organ in your body, it’s of no doubt that it will continue to transform and change just as your life does, and so will your skin routine. With the many issues that may come to your skin, two of the largest concerns for most must be acne and aging. How to address both concerns, which treatments and creams to choose, and to fend off your worries every time you look in the mirror is a struggle for many. But fear not, because we’ve gathered all the information to help you manoeuvre your way through this struggle of skincare.
Identifying aging and acne
With all the transformations our skin undergoes and the factors that contribute to it, the first step to treatment is learning the signs to identify the characteristics of aging and acne.
As you get older your skin begins to lose its elastin, the elastic tissue in which skin typically looks plump and smooth. With that you may find an emergence of wrinkles, dryness and age spots as well as underlying veins and bones. “Our skin becomes more transparent, caused by the thinning of the epidermis. Skin aging also leads to becoming more easily bruised due to thinner blood vessel walls.” says Dr. Fatima Habib, Specialist Dermatologist at CosmeSurge Clinics.
Acne, of course, is much easier to identify, but the variations of its form may not be. Acne is a disorder of the skin caused when the sebaceous gland in skin becomes infected or inflamed. “The sebaceous glands lie just beneath the skin's surface. They produce an oil called sebum, the skin's natural moisturiser” says Dr. Fatma Mostafa, Senior Consultant Dermatologist and Head of Dermatology Department at University Hospital Sharjah “these follicles open onto the skin through pores. Increased levels of androgens (male hormones) cause the glands to produce too much sebum. When excess sebum combines with dead, sticky skin cells, a hard plug or comedo forms. It blocks the pore hence forming an acne.”
The different types of acne can be categorised in two subcategories: non-inflammatory which are whiteheads and blackheads, and inflammatory acne which are pimples that are typically red and swollen. These consist of papules, hard, clogged pores and very delicate to touch, cystic acne, which is one of the hardest types to treat and are very painful, Nodules which are very deep within in the skin, and pustules which are like papules but are filled with pus and often have yellow or white heads on top.
What to look for in anti-aging & acne creams
For anti-aging purposes, Dr. Fatima Habib at Cosmesurge says it is crucial to have a good diet that is full of antioxidants especially with Vitamin C as it plays a large role in the synthesis of collagen which attributes to restoring skin and prevent damage. Topical antioxidants, such as coffee berry, CoQ10, and Vitamin E, also help to rejuvenate and protect skin. Other ingredients to look for in creams are green tea, black tea, oolong tea and grape seed extract which promote healing. Dr. Habib advises that when seeking an over the counter treatment to also look for peptides or retinol. Retinoids, particularly assist in re-thickening the skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Looking for the right acne cream may deem a little more difficult. Specialist Dermatologist Dr. Mayur Bhobe at Cocoona Centre for Aesthetic Transformation says that the creams should have low concentrations of ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and retinoids and should be used with caution as directed by the physician. Benzoyl peroxide is an ingredient that kills bacteria which causes acne, helping to remove dead skin cells that clogs pores. Other ingredients to look for are salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acids.
Some recommended creams
• Olay Pro-X Deep Wrinkle Treatment
• SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex
• Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
• SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum
• RoC Deep Wrinkle Serum
• Infini Microneedling
• Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
• PCA Skin Pigment Gel
• Verso Dark Spot Fix
• Fractionated Laser Skin Resurfacing
• Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
*Creams suggested by Dr. Fatma Mostafa Senior Consultant Dermatologist and Head of Dermatology Department at University Hospital Sharjah.
Seeing a dermatologist
When over the counter creams are ineffective, it’s never too late to seek professional help. “Aging and acne is something you can’t control, but the scientifically superior medical world can help you slower the process and keep acne at bay” says Dr. Fatma Mostafa from University Hospital Sharjah.
“A patient should always see the dermatologist for these issues” says Dr. Mayur Bhobe at Cocoona “Acne for instance if it is a chronic problem. Hence it needs to be evaluated and the appropriate treatment needs to be started according to the severity.” For acne, if you don’t see any changes even after 2 to 3 months of consistent use of over the counter treatment or if you notice signs of more skin issues including discolouration, itching, rashes, and scarring, you should consult a dermatologist. also it is advised to see a dermatologist if you see signs of premature aging or if you notice pigmented lesions, keratotic lesions, and sun damage.
Some clinical treatments for acne include chemical peels, using acids such as salicylic acid to decrease oiliness, pigmentation and open blocked pores. There are also treatments taken orally that assist with most severe cases such as oral retinoid. “The oral retinoid isotretinoin is for people with the most severe types of acne that do not respond to other treatments (nodular or cystic)” says Dr. Fatima Habib at CosmeSurge. There is also hormone therapy for those with androgen excess in which patients are given a low-dose of estrogen and other medications.
“Anti-ageing procedures include those to erase wrinkles such as Botox injections,” says Dr Mayur Bhobe “hyaluronic acid fillers for volume loss and sagging, and the sagging of jawline and neck can be corrected by energy-based devices such as microneedling radio frequency and ultrasound based tightening systems.”