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Acne is one of the most widespread and psychologically distressing chronic (persistent) skin conditions that exists. Acne has several stages, each distinguished by the type of spots that you are suffering with.


Suffering from acne means you will experience common spots such as whiteheads and blackheads, or more severe spots such as cysts and nodules.

The disease is caused by a sensitivity to androgen hormones. Specifically, it is sensitivity to the hormone derivative of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, known as DHT - that triggers the condition.

Related Conditions

There is conflicting research regarding the relationship between diet and acne.

Individual foods cannot cause acne; however lack of good nutrition will reduce the skin's capacity to fight infection and heal itself. Low levels of antioxidants allow free radical formation, which can further damage the skin tissue. Low levels of Free Fatty Acids, particularly Linoleic Acid, will reduce the skin's natural barrier defences and acid mantle. So it's a good idea to eat a healthy, balanced diet and take Vitamin C and Zinc supplements to increase the skin's healing capacity and defences against infection.

Likewise, acne cannot be blamed on poor hygiene. It is a systemically caused (affecting the whole body) inflammatory condition and is not due to an individual being unclean. A thorough skincare regime is however vital in removing surface grime, make-up and dead skin cells, which cause skin congestion. In fact, being too clean can actually aggravate acne as an overly harsh cleansing regime will trigger further oil production, cause dehydration and disturb the vital acid balance and barrier function of the skin against infection.


There are many different types of acne, which makes a personalised treatment plan very important. We highly recommend you attend a sk:n acne consultation, where our expert practitioner will be able to diagnose the type of acne you have and grade its severity as either mild, moderate or severe.

Acne Vulgaris

This is a skin disease that can occur at various life stages and is mainly caused by sensitivity to a certain androgen, a male hormone that is naturally present in all males and females.

Teenage acne: This commonly occurs during puberty, when the skin's oil glands become overly stimulated by production of the hormone testosterone, which is normal in both males and females.

Adult acne or late-onset acne: We sometimes think of acne as being a teenage problem, but sk:n and lots of renowned dermatology clinics around the world treat many men and women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s.

How does adult acne differ from teenage acne? Adult acne differs markedly from the spots of your teenage years, both in how it appears and how it is treated.

Teenagers usually see hundreds or thousands of tiny bumps, blackheads or whiteheads on the skin of the face, especially the forehead, along with the occasional cyst on the chest and back. That's because teenage skin tends to be a little stickier so they are more likely than adults to get clogged pores. In adults, acne is more likely to appear on the lower part of the face, especially around the mouth and jawline. It's usually deeper nodules or red papules in those areas. The fine little bumps of teenage acne can still happen in adulthood, but are much less common.

Adult acne in women: Roughly 80 per cent of late-onset acne is found in women, due to the various hormonal changes that occur during a woman's life, such as menstrual periods, menopause and, for some, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and pregnancy. In fact, these changes account for almost three quarters of adult female acne cases. The majority of women with acne have normal androgen levels, but hormonal testing is recommended for those who have acne accompanied by excess facial or body hair, a deepening voice, or irregular or infrequent menstrual periods.

Adult acne in men: Almost 43 per cent of men in their 20s and 20 per cent of those in their 30s get acne. In fact, the average age for acne sufferers is now mid to late 20s. Hormones play the biggest part, but outbreaks can also be exacerbated by stress, tiredness and sudden changes in lifestyle.

Steroid Acne

Steroid medication can lead to acne development, particularly anabolic steroids.

Sometimes used by body builders, the drug can have the side effect of causing Nodular-Cystic Acne. It is recommended that you talk to one of our doctors if you suspect this is the cause of your acne.

Acne Cosmetica

This is caused by poor skincare or using pore-blocking cosmetic products, which causes congestion in the skin's pores.

The condition will show many black and whiteheads, but generally no inflammatory lesions. Our expert acne practitioners can help you with this condition and recommend a new skin routine.

Acne Conglobta or Nodulocystic Acne

This is a severe form of Acne Vulgaris (common acne), with infection deep under the surface of the skin and a high risk of severe scarring. Care should be taken to treat this acne as quickly as possible.

It tends to be more common in males than females and can be particularly distressing and painful. You would typically see a doctor for immediate treatment if you suffered from this.

Excoriated Acne

This form of acne occurs when the sufferer has picked at the spots, sometimes subconsciously as a nervous reflex. It leads to a longer healing period and carries a greater risk of scarring.

It is important to be honest with your practitioner about this habit as they will be able to help you much easier and get the results you need.

Acne Mechanica

Acne Mechanica sees the spots in an irregular pattern, very unlike Acne Vulgaris. This shows that the skin has been exposed to a specific substance.

Maybe a dirty phone handset for example, or the edge of a seat belt, which is unhygienic but comes into contact with the face. Removal of the aggravating substance of habit will clear the condition.

Acne Rosacea

Acne Rosacea is different from adult acne. It is another inflammatory condition, where the skin appears very red and often covered in broken blood vessels, especially across the nose, forehead and cheeks.

In severe cases there will be papules and pustules, but no blackheads will be present. You would typically see a doctor for treatment if you suffered from this.

Pyoderma Faciale

This rarer type of acne is characterised by sudden onset of pustules and nodules on red cheeks, chin and/or forehead, typically in young adult women.

If you suspect you have Pyoderma Faciale you should be referred to a dermatologist, who will most likely prescribe medication as treatment.

Acne Fulminans

This is an uncommon yet severe, cystic form of acne that mostly affects males, and may by accompanied by fever and joint pain.

It is also known as Acute Febrile Ulcerative Acne, and would need to be assessed by a dermatologist.


Although there is no cure for acne, there are a number of specialised treatments and products available to help significantly reduce its symptoms. It is important for you to receive the correct diagnosis for the type of acne you're suffering from, so that you are best equipped to treat and control it.

Our medical practitioners are experts in dealing with acne prone skin, helping over 4,000 acne sufferers each year so you can be sure you are in the safest hands.

We offer a range of market-leading, clinically proven products, approved by our dermatologists as well as industry leading treatments. View our Anti-Blemish product range.

  • Skin Peels

Our chemical skin peels for acne contain a patented carrier solution which allows the active ingredients to be absorbed into the skin. This new technology enhances the rate of exfoliation for greater results and reduced surface trauma. Find out more about Skin Peels. 

‚ÄčA Pyruvic peel contains a natural occurring acid that penetrates deep into the skin. The peel stimulates collagen and elastin production, as well as gently exfoliating the skin to make it appear tighter and clearer. A Pyruvic peel can be used to tackle photoageing and acne and is ideal if you desire firmer, more evenly toned looking skin.

A Salicylic peel is especially formulated to treat acne, with active ingredients to reduce the oil production and inflammation associated with acne. The peel exfoliates the skin, encouraging the removal of dead cells, dirt and sebum from the pores.

  • Isolaz

This double action blue-light and vacuum technology targets both the upper and lower layers of the skin to help fight acne. Isolaz uses a broadband light to heat up the dermal layer of skin, destroying acne causing bacteria, as well as reducing inflammation. Simultaneously, the pore-cleansing vacuum helps to loosen and extract blackheads and excess oil from deep within your pores. Find out more about Isolaz.



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