Acne is an incredibly common skin condition that according to the NHS website, affects about 95% of people aged between 11-30 at some point in their life. However, only 3% of adults have acne over the age of 35.

Active acne which can appear on the skin in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pastules, nodules and cysts and can often be more easily treated than more commonly believed. Although acne cannot be totally ‘cured’, with
the right treatment it can be very effectively controlled.

As skin experts here at Sean White Aesthetics, we wanted to clear up any misconceptions there may be about acne, give you actionable advice and reassure you that there are solutions for acne no matter how severe.

Types of Acne

There are 6 main types of spot caused by acne:

  • Blackheads– small black or yellowish bumps that develop on the skin; they’re not filled with dirt, but are black because the inner lining of the hair follicle produces colour
  • Whiteheads– have a similar appearance to blackheads, but may be firmer and will not empty when squeezed
  • Papules– small red bumps that may feel tender or sore
  • Pustules– similar to papules, but have a white tip in the centre, caused by a build-up of pus
  • Nodules– large hard lumps that build up beneath the surface of the skin and can be painful
  • Cysts– the most severe type of spot caused by acne; they’re large pusfilled lumps that look similar to boils and carry the greatest risk of causing permanent scarring

What Causes Acne?

Put simply, acne is caused when tiny holes in the skin, known as hair follicles, become blocked. They become blocked when oil production, that comes from sebaceous glands, which are attached to the hair follicles, mix with dead skin and plug them.

Sebaceous glands main function is to stop hair drying out. They do this by producing an oil called sebum.

If a plugged follicle is close to the surface of the skin, it can bulge outward which causes a ‘whitehead’. Alternatively, the plugged follicle can be open to the skin, which creates a blackhead.

Harmless bacteria that lives on the skin can actually end up contaminating blocked follicles which causes the more severe skin conditions such as papules, pustules nodules or cysts.

Hormonal changes that develop during puberty or for adult women during menstrual cycle can cause the sebaceous glands to produce larger amounts of sebum than usual.

Acne Treatments

Treatments will differ depending upon who you see. For example, if you see your GP, they may try to treat your acne with medication such as antibiotics or Isotretinoin tablets, better known as roaccutane. However, this isn’t always totally necessary.

Acne is a very treatable skin condition and skin experts, like our staff, have a very high success rate of greatly reducing the appearance of acne.

If you are suffering with acne or acne scarring, we offer free no obligation consultations to acne patients, all you need to do is contact us on 020 8050 4065 or



Skin peels are a chemical exfoliation which remove the dead skin cells and excess sebum from the surface of the skin. This prevents the skin from getting blocked therefore causing outbreaks.


A cleanser is the bread and butter in any acne sufferer’s fight against breakouts. Look for a cleanser with salicylic acid which gives a deep clean and is a great acne preventative.


Retinoids work in a similar way to skin peels in that they exfoliate the dead cells from the skin. Tretinoin and adapalene are topical retinoids used to treat acne. They’re available in a gel or cream and are usually applied once a day before you go to bed.

Apply to all the parts of your face affected by acne 20 minutes after washing your face.

It’s important to apply topical retinoids sparingly and avoid excessive exposure to sunlight and UV.

Acne Scarring

There are four different types of acne scarring prevalent in those who suffered with active acne. NB – Collagen is a protein that acts like the building blocks for your skin. It is collagen that makes the skin look youthful and firm.


  • Caused by a loss of collagen during the wound healing process.
  • Deeper than they are wide
  • Width less than 2mm


  • Caused by a loss of collagen during the wound healing process.
  • Wider than they are deep
  • Width 1.4mm

  • Caused by a loss of collagen during the wound healing process.
  • Appears like a ripple on the skin
  • More than 4-5mm

    • Caused by an abnormal accumulation of collagen during the wound healing process
    • Includes keloid scarring
    • Rare for acne to scar in this way
    • Silicone sheets and laser treatments may help

    How to treat acne scarring

    Best treated with collagen producing treatments such as microneedling and chemical
    peels. Alternatively fractional radiofrequency is a highly effective treatment with minimal downtime and doesn’t use needling to create a healing response.

    Typically, acne scarring is best treated by an expert and a treatment plan should be made bespoke to your condition. Always make sure that the person who is treating you has a level 3 in beauty or a medical background
    especially when it comes to microneedling treatments. If you feel like this is a course of action you want to take, please do get in touch and make the most of our free consultation.


    Acne treatment pricing really depends on the severity of the condition.

    These treatments are most effective as part of a course of treatments combined with a thorough homecare regime. And it can sometimes take months to get substantial results.

    Acne myths

    Despite being one of the most widespread skin conditions, acne is also one of the most poorly understood. There are many myths and misconceptions about it according to the NHS Website.

    ‘Acne is caused by a poor diet’

    So far, research has not found any foods that cause acne.
    Eating a healthy, balanced diet is recommended because it’s good for your heart and your health in general.

    ‘Acne is caused by having dirty skin and poor hygiene’

    Most of the biological reactions that trigger acne occur beneath the skin, not on the surface, so the cleanliness of your skin has no effect on your acne. Washing your face more than twice a day could just aggravate your skin.

    ‘Squeezing blackheads, whiteheads and spots is the best way to get rid of acne’

    This could actually make symptoms worse and may leave you with scarring

    ‘Sunbathing, sunbeds and sunlamps help improve the symptoms of acne’

    There’s no conclusive evidence that prolonged exposure to sunlight or using sunbeds or sunlamps can improve acne. Many medicines used to treat acne can make your skin more sensitive to light, so exposure could cause painful damage to your skin, and also increase your risk of skin cancer.

    ‘Acne is infectious’

    You cannot pass acne on to other people.

    A final reminder that if you would like a free consultation to take a look at your skin, whether for acne or any
    other specific concerns, we offer free consultations to all new patients, all you need to do is contact us on
    020 8050 4065 or

    Download The Ultimate Acne Survival Guide

    Sean White Aesthetics Acne Guide

    For a personalised quote or to discuss your requirements, contact us today

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