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The physical and emotional burden of post-acne marks

The EADV1 Congress is one of the most relevant events in the field of dermatology and venereology worldwide. Eucerin was once again present this year with a virtual booth to present latest scientific findings and dermocosmetic solutions to dermatologists. The highlight of the brand’s program was the Satellite Symposium on the topic of “Acne leaves its marks. Spot the problem – face the challenge”. In this interview, Dr. Julia Gallinger, Eucerin Global Medical Manager, summarizes the outcome of this event, explains how Beiersdorf’s R&D empowers impactful innovations and underlines the life-changing power of dermatological skincare.

Dr. Julia Gallinger, Eucerin Global Medical Manager

Julia, you were part of the symposium yourself. How exactly does such an event look like?

Our objective was to promote the scientific discourse on main questions of acne and post-acne marks – also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH. That is why we presented the current state of science together with Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Bettoli and Prof. Dr. Alison Layton. The two well-known experts in this field are key opinion leaders for dermatologists and highlighted both, the physical as well as the emotional burden of affected patients. They also gave recommendations to the participating dermatologists for potential treatment methods. Of course, we also presented our product innovations for the prevention and treatment of blemish-prone skin with PIH. The event was hosted by our Director of Medical Management, Dr. Shirin Keyhanian. After the input presentations she started an open dialogue between the audience and the experts in a dynamic Q&A session. A great opportunity to further evolve the scientific discourse.  

Which scientific findings are particularly relevant in your point of view?

First of all, our expert Prof. Bettoli described how PIH develops. Put simply, the inflammation of acne and blemishes triggers increased melanin production. This leads to a darkening and discoloration of the formerly stressed area. Sun can additionally darken those spots.

Especially interesting is the prevalence and impact of PIH. A total of 650 million people around the world suffer from acne making it the 8th most prevalent disease worldwide. More than 50% of people affected can develop post-acne marks which can last for many months or even years. The risk of developing post-acne marks is even increased in individuals with darker skin complexion. This prolongs both, the physical and emotional burden of those affected even after the acute acne has vanished. That’s why, according to our experts, it’s crucial to treat acne early to prevent post-acne marks. The treatment can be supported by reducing PIH risk factors, such as picking pimples which aggravates the inflammation. Additionally, sun protection is important to prevent PIH from darkening further.

Virtual Eucerin Booth at EADV Congress

You mentioned the emotional burden of those affected. What consequences are we talking about?

We are in fact talking about far to very far-reaching consequences. This has been proven through various study results presented by Prof. Layton, who specializes in the quality of life of patients. An important finding shows that acne accompanied by post acne marks is even more burdensome for the patients compared to be affected by acne alone. On the one hand, a study showed that 40% of people who were currently affected by acne marks, describe psychological distress as very strong. Some experience anxiety in social settings. It is not uncommon for them to feel isolated or like an outcast. This is also due to the stigmatization they experience. Studies show that outsiders judge people with acne and PIH at first glance as less successful in job searches and less intelligent and also as insecure and less self-confident. This stigmatization can increase negative self-perceptions of those affected and significantly influence their quality of everyday life. Sometimes this can even lead to psychological consequences such as depression. This once again underlines the relevance of preventive measures.

Base line (l.) vs. skin after 12 weeks of using the DERMOPURE product innovations (r.).

But what can you do if post-acne marks are visible already?

Apart from preventive measures there are also topical, systemic and interventional treatment options which should also be activated as early as possible. At the symposium, we emphasized that this treatment needs to address both, acne as well as PIH. That is why we have enriched our two latest innovations for acne-prone skin: one with our patented active ingredient Thiamidol and the other one with a broadband UV filter system. Thiamidol in the serum targets the root of hyperpigmentation which is melanin production. Pigment spots can thus be reduced and prevented. The fluid additionally helps to prevent existing pigmentation from being further darkened by sun exposure thanks to the photostable sun protection. In combination, the products provide reduction of and protection against blemishes and PIH. The efficacy is further increased when used in combination. 10 out of 10 respondents even confirmed that they noticed an improvement in their quality of life2. This is great news for us, because it underlined the contribution of these products to our brand purpose “WE BELIEVE IN THE LIFE-CHANGING POWER OF DERMATOLOGICAL SKINCARE”.

The content of the symposium is certainly interesting for dermatologists. But what if one could not participate in the event?

Scientific discourse is very important to us, which is why we made the recording of the symposium available on our virtual booth even beyond the event. And we continue to happily share our findings, for example in the form of the recordings of the symposium on YouTube.

1 European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology; the congress has regularly above 11000 Dermatologists attending and is therefore the largest Dermatology community in Europe and beyond.

2 DLQI (Dermatology Life Quality Index) was used as method of measurement.

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Carolin Schreyer

About the editor: Carolin Schreyer

Carolin is responsible for our Pharmacy and Selective Brands within the Corporate Communications team. In this way she takes care of international communication projects of brands like Eucerin, Aquaphor, Hansaplast and La Prairie.