Maintaining and preventing acne with DermaFix skin care products

Although oily skin might exacerbate acne, it is not the root cause of it. It is now clear, from extensive research, that there is a genetic component to acne. To understand the physical changes that cause acne, it is important to understand the microscopic processes that produce it.

The deeper layer of the skin, called the dermis, is made up of collagen and elastin, which supports the surface of the skin and provides a home for blood vessels, nerves and other cells.

Directly beneath the dermis is a layer of fat that cushions and insulates the skin, and contributes to the rounded look of a youthful face. The follicle (pore) originates as a tube from the dermis; this is where glands that resemble little clusters of grapes branch out. These are the sebaceous (oil) glands that produce an oily substance called sebum. The sebum flows to the top of the tube (follicle) and is eventually secreted onto the skin’s surface.

“Pimples” are medically known as “retention hyperkeratosis”. The skin or “stratum corneum” dead cells are supposed to fall off the skin in a natural process called exfoliation or desquamation. This stratum corneum also lines the inside of the follicle (tube) and sometimes does not exfoliate properly, when this happens the keratin mixes with the sebum, making it viscous and sticky, thus clogging the follicle and creating pimples. The term retention hyperkeratosis simply means that the pore is retaining the stratum corneum cells, resulting in a clogged pore. The dermatological term for this plug is comedo (comedones). A microcomedo first forms and then progresses, which can be felt at this stage as a bump, the comedo then becomes a fully grown pimple. Within a short period of time bacterium develops and Propionibacterium acnes begins multiplying rapidly.

The closed comedo or the whitehead or blackhead – the still open follicle, which also contains a pigment called melanin, is oxidised by the air and turns it brown or black. If the comedo cannot drain and inflammation moves from the invisible molecular level, to the visible cellular level, it develops into a papule, then finally a pustule (pimple). Visible inflammation can progress even further, meaning that the lesion can become deeper and more severe, resulting in a nodule or a cyst.


Scientists use a acne grading system to categorise the various stages of acne lesions

Grade 1 – mircocomedones and comedones – whiteheads and blackheads referred to as non-inflammatory acne lesions.

Grade 2 – papules, inflammatory bumps or inflammatory lesions

Grade 3 – pustules andmore visible inflammation than the papules.

Grade 4 – nodules are large, painful, solid lesions extending deep into the skin, with visible inflammation.

Grade 5 – cysts that are 1 centimetre or larger, inflamed pus filled lesions and an intense inflammatory response.

Grade 2 is a unique type of acne, where the face becomes studded with whiteheads, called maturation arrest acne, because the comedones do not go ahead and mature into actual blackheads. The small whiteheads just continue to enlarge and the surface opening never dilates, trapping the material inside. This is the toughest acne to treat because it requires extensive peeling to force the impactions to open up.

Not all faces fit neatly into one definite “Grade”; the grading system however, makes it easier to understand. The genetics inherited by some families will just pass on whiteheads or blackheads. Other families will pass on more inflammatory acne, with papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.

Fortunately, we can now stop the effects of the genetic acne cycle with professional advice from DermaFix Cosmeceutical Skin Care, the solution to your skin care concerns.

Lifestyle considerations such as stress, sunlight, seasons, climate, pressure and friction, picking, industrial oils, chemicals, diet, drugs, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, birth f pills and cosmetics are also aggravating factors to consider in the fight against acne.