Acne vulgaris – some facts on the disease
Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease of the pilosebaceous unit ensuing from androgen-induced increased sebum production, altered keratinization, inflammation, and bacterial colonization of hair follicles on the face, chest, neck, and back by Propionibacterium acnes. What exactly triggers the disease and how treatment affects its course keep on uncertain. However, family history and diet are believed to have play a significant role in the disease. Besides the physical issues, acne usually is associated with negative effects on self-esteem. Facial scarring due to acne is believed to affect around 20% of teenagers.
Although no ideal treatment for acne has been clearly determined, an appropriate treatment for reducing lesions can be found for most cases. Comparative effectiveness of common topical versus systemic acne therapies are scarce, particularly those with appropriate technical support. Most known topical therapies use combination of benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, and antibiotics which usually improve and regulate mild to moderate acne. More severe inflammatory acne cases usually need oral antibiotics combined with topical benzoyl peroxide to prevent antibiotic-resistant organisms. Treatment with combined oral contraceptives can help women with acne.
Although peak incidences are frequently at puberty, acne can affect all age groups. High carbohydrate diet and dairy products have been implicated as aggravating factors.
The majority of acne patients will receive a topical treatment either as monotherapy or in mixture with a drug therapy depending on the severity of the case. The currently available topical agents affect either one or more of the four main pathogenetic factors accountable for the development of acne, hyperkeratosis, immune response, microbial colonization, and inflammation.
The use of a blue light device in a therapy combined with proprietary creams, has been proved to be effective in reducing the inflammatory lesions after typically 3 weeks of use. The treatment is free of pain and side-effects. The blue light device offers a valuable alternative to antibiotics and potentially irritating topical treatments. Blue light phototherapy, using a narrow-band LED light source, appears to be a safe and effective additional therapy for mild to moderate severity, with no significant short-term adverse effects.