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What is Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition characterized by pimples, blackheads, and sometimes deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms.

While it’s most commonly associated with teenagers, it can affect people of all ages.

Acne can cause emotional distress and, in severe cases, can result in permanent scarring.

Causes of Acne:

  1. Sebaceous Gland Activity: Acne develops when the sebaceous glands produce too much oil (sebum).
  2. Dead Skin Cells: These can block the pores when they mix with sebum.
  3. Bacteria: The bacteria Propionibacterium acnes can lead to redness and inflammation by breaking down the sebum into irritating substances.
  4. Hormonal Changes: Hormones released during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy can stimulate sebaceous glands to produce more sebum.
  5. Diet: Some studies suggest that certain dietary factors, like dairy products and foods rich in carbohydrates, can trigger acne.
  6. Medications: Some medications, including certain corticosteroids, androgens, or lithium, can worsen acne.

What are the different types of acne lesions?

Types of Acne Lesions:

  1. Whiteheads: Closed, clogged pores.
  2. Blackheads: Open, clogged pores.
  3. Papules: Small, red, tender bumps.
  4. Pustules: Papules with pus at the tips.
  5. Nodules: Large, solid, and painful lumps beneath the skin’s surface.
  6. Cysts: Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the skin’s surface.

What treatments are available for Acne?


  1. Over-the-counter (OTC) Topical Treatments: These are available without a prescription .
  2. Prescription Topical Treatments
  3. Oral Medications:
    • Antibiotics, sometimes combined with oral contraceptive ( for women)
  4. Therapies:
    • Light and Laser Therapy: These treatments target the bacteria that cause acne inflammation.
    • Chemical Peels: These can treat both acne and its scars.
    • Drainage and Extraction
  5. Natural Remedies
Prevention and Management:

  1. Gentle Skincare: Use mild cleansers, avoid vigorous scrubbing, and avoid touching your face frequently.
  2. Moisturise and Hydrate the Skin . Many acne treatments can dry out the skin. Use a hydrating moisturiser to reduce dryness and skin peeling.
  3. Proper Products: Use makeup and skincare products that don’t clog pores.
  4. Regular Hair Wash: If you have oily hair, washing it regularly can help prevent facial acne.
  5. Diet: Eating a balanced diet and avoiding foods that seem to trigger your acne might help.

It’s important to note that while many of these treatments can be effective, they might also have side effects.

Always consult with a Doctor before starting a new acne treatment, especially for persistent or severe cases. Doctors can provide guidance tailored to an individual’s specific needs.


Dr Margaret Grabicka

Dr Margaret Grabicka

General Medicine and Aesthetic Medicine Doctor with expert experience in anti-ageing procedures, dermal fillers, anti-wrinkle injections, i.v infusions, lifting threads and body contouring treatments.

M Clinic London