Acne occurs when a hair follicle and its associated oil (sebaceous) gland become blocked and inflamed. This provides an ideal environment for bacteria (Cutibacterium acnes, formerly known as Propionibacterium acnes) to grow and cause the skin to become irritated, red and tender.

Acne affects approximately 85% of Australian’s – mostly mid-teens to mid-twenties – with the severity varying from person to person. Some may experience mild symptoms while others will experience severe symptoms that require medical attention.

Acne is often first noticed in adolescence (early teens) and becomes increasingly worse as you enter your late teens. By the time your early 20s roll around, it will usually clear up on its own. Having said that, it is not uncommon for adults in their late 20s and 30s (sometimes older) to experience Acne in various forms.

There are many characteristics of Acne, so symptoms are divided into grades. From open and closed comedones, to papules and pustules, and in severe cases nodules and cysts. One of the key characteristics of acne is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Hypertrophic and keloid scarring may also occur.

If that wasn’t enough, there are also the psychological effects on the individual that need to be addressed such as self-esteem, self-confidence, and anxiety.

There are many ‘myths’ out there about what causes and what might help Acne – and they range from stupid, to stupidly outrageous!

  • Drink more water. While water is great for general health, it won’t do much for Acne.
  • Exfoliate more. If you’ve got Acne, then your skin barrier is already damaged/impaired. Exfoliating more isn’t going to help you. You can’t just scrub Acne away!
  • Restrictive Diets. There are some links between certain dairy products and Acne – but what you eat generally isn’t going have much effect otherwise. Having said that, high glycaemic index foods and sugar, as well as saturated fats may trigger acne for some people.
  • Detox Diets. Acne has nothing to do with with ‘toxins’ in our gut or body. Detox diets should be avoided – especially if you’re paying someone for it. Eating a balanced diet in general is a much better option.
  • Get a tan. Stupidest advice we’ve ever seen. While some light sources (specific wavelengths) may help, laying out in the sun is only going to cause sun damage. So now you’re someone with Acne, a potential sun burn, and a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Treatment options and how we can help

It is important to work alongside a professional that can guide you through the complex nature of Acne – and work with you on finding a solution.

Acne may clear up on its own, but it’s not advised to let it run its course as this may result in further issues such as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring, not to mention the psychological effects such as low self-esteem, self-confidence, and anxiety – all of which are common side-effects – especially in severe cases.

If you deal with Acne early on, these side-effects can often be avoided, or at least significantly reduced.

Prevention is better than a cure! The sooner you seek help, the better the outcome.

Treatment options can vary greatly depending on the severity and type of Acne. Regardless of what treatment option is taken, the importance of continuing treatment is paramount, even if you don’t see immediate results or results are slow.

Acne is a chronic condition that could last for 3–5 years or more. Despite initial treatment being effective, acne may return after treatment has stopped.

Most importantly – there is no ‘quick-fix’. Do not fall for marketing, hype, trends, or fads that promise overnight remedies – they will simply cost you money and waste your time. Money and time that could have been far better spent treating it properly.