To make an appointment, call 01925 215068

For treatment enquires please call Jane 01925 215029

Acne Treatments

What is Acne?

Acne is a very common skin condition characterised by comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pus-filled spots (pustules). It usually starts at puberty and varies in severity. Acne can be a serious problem which may be embarrassing, causing scarring and a lack of self confidence. It does tend to resolve by the late teens or early twenties but can persist for longer. Acne can also develop for the first time in people who are in their late twenties or thirties and can occasionally occur in young children.

What is the cause of Acne?

Acne bacterium (known as Propionibacterium acnes) lives on everyone’s skin, usually causing no problems, but in those prone to acne, the build up of oil creates an ideal environment in which these bacteria can multiply. The sebaceous (oil-producing) glands of people prone to acne are particularly sensitive to a hormone called testosterone, which is present in both men and women. This causes the glands to produce an excess of oil. At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the pores are not shed properly which can clog follicles. These two effects result in a build-up of oil producing blackheads and whiteheads.

How can acne be treated?

The medical team at Reba will take a full history at consultation and recommend the treatment most suitable for each individual client. For patients with milder forms of acne and residual scarring, a bespoke treatment plan may be recommended. The plan may incorporate a combination of peels, microdermabrasion and/or photofacials and skincare products which can lead to a significant improvement for the majority of people. For others, treatment maybe recommended from one of the other categories listed below.

Acne treatments fall into the following categories:

  • Topical treatments which are applied directly to the skin
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Oral contraceptive pills
  • Isoretinoin capsules – which are prescribed only by a Consultant Dermatologist

Topical treatments

These are usually the first choice for those with mild to moderate acne. They should be applied to the entire affected area of the skin and not just individual spots. Topical treatments may sometimes cause irritation of the skin and a temporary reduction in the frequency of application may be required, which can help to alleviate the problem.

Oral antibiotic treatment

Your doctor may recommend a course of antibiotic tablets which should be taken in combination with a suitable topical treatment. Antibiotics need to be taken for a minimum of two months, and are usually continued until there is no further improvement. Often, antibiotics should not be taken alongside food, so instructions need to be read carefully.

Oral contraceptive treatments

Various types of oral contraceptive pills may help women who have acne. The most effective pills contain a hormone blocker (for example cyproterone), which reduces the amount of oil the skin produces. However, as with many treatments, this may take three to four months before any benefits show.


This powerful treatment can only be prescribed by a dermatologist and can potentially cause a number of serious side effects. Prior to starting treatment, women will be asked to enrol in a pregnancy prevention programme and need to have a negative pregnancy test as Isoretinoin can harm an unborn child. Effective contraception must be used whilst taking Isoretinoin, and for four weeks afterwards.
There are concerns that Isoretinoin may cause depression in some individuals and therefore, details of any personal/family history of mental illness should be discussed prior to considering treatment.
Most courses of Isoretinoin last for several months during which time the skin may become red and dry and often, acne will become a little worse before any improvement occurs. It should be emphasised that many thousands of people have benefited from treatment with Isoretinoin without any serious side effects.

Further advice

  • Try not to pick or squeeze spots as this usually causes aggravation and may cause scarring.
  • It is important to take action to control acne as soon as it appears. This helps to avoid permanent scarring and reduces embarrassment. In milder cases, it is initially worth trying over the counter preparations in the first instance and advice can be obtained from a pharmacist.
  • Expect to use treatments for at least two months before any improvement can be seen and ensure that any instructions are followed to achieve the maximum benefit.
  • Some topical treatments may initially dry or irritate the skin. An oil-free moisturiser should help with this, although a temporary reduction in the frequency of application may be required.
  • Always wear oil-free, water-based make-up and choose products which are labelled as being non-comedogenic (should not cause blackheads or whiteheads) or non-acnegenic (should not cause acne). Products should be removed at night with mild soap or a gentle cleanser and water, as scrubbing too hard can irritate the skin cause aggravation.
  • There is little evidence that any foods are a direct cause of acne, however it is sensible for any foods which appear to worsen acne to be avoided.

Treatment for acne

Acne treated after 1 Easy TCA peels and SkinTech Purifying Cream



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Reba Cosmetic Clinic

Spire Cheshire Hospital, Stretton, Warrington, Cheshire WA4 4LU

Appointments call: 01925 215068