The journey to treating acne can be a long and frustrating one. With it though that globally, over 80% of people under the age of thirty suffer from breakouts, finding a fix should be an easier task than it is. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably tried countless acne treatments already, likely with very little success.

Or perhaps acne is an issue that you’re dealing with for the first time and are wondering where to start with tackling it. Many adults come to see me hoping to find a way to take back control of their skin, many of whom are in their forties or fifties, battling acne for the first time as they approach menopause, and their hormones are changing. Acne doesn’t have an age limit and can affect anyone.

Whether you’re dealing with a surge of whiteheads or the cystic, under-the-skin type of spots, there is a solution. Over the years, I have tried and tested countless skincare products and in-clinic treatments, and these are the ones that will always have a place on my treatment shelf.

Where to start with tackling acne

I always recommend that my patients start by introducing an acne-controlling skincare regime that includes ingredients such as salicylic cleanser, hyaluronic acid, and retinol. If you feel that your acne has gotten out of control or if it’s cystic, you should seek professional help and get the advice of a doctor, aesthetic therapist, or dermatologist. Cystic acne is much more likely to scar and to avoid this, it’s crucial to get control of it quickly.

A skin health assessment is also a good starting place as it will enable you and your practitioner to gain a deeper understanding of what’s happening beneath the surface of your skin. In turn, they’ll be able to recommend a skincare regime and treatment plan that is both safe and effective, and you will see results quicker.

The HydraFacial

If you have mild acne, HydraFacial is a very effective treatment. It is highly customisable, and the skin peel step will be tailored to meet your skin’s needs to clear existing acne and prevent future breakouts.

By combining vortex pressure with a clog-purging solution of salicylic acid, willow bark extract, and anti-inflammatory Tasmanian pepper, the device suctions gunk and impurities from the pores – no damaging squeezing or pressing required – just a relaxing, feel-good experience that improves hydration, radiance and texture and reduces oil and pore size.

The treatment may be concluded with a short round of LED light therapy, personalised to the individual, shining antibacterial blue light on acne, or red light to build collagen and calm the skin.

If it’s a clear complexion that you’re hoping to achieve, then HydraFacial acne treatments will rebalance your skin over time, and an improvement can be seen in as little as just one treatment.

Targeted chemical peels

The right peel can eliminate acne and soften the scars that come with it. Salicylic acid peels penetrate deep into the skin to unclog pores whilst resurfacing the complexion to fade post-pimple marks. They lift away dead skin cells and, as the upper layer of the skin is shed, your skincare products will perform better because no dead cells are impeding their penetration.

I love to create bespoke peel treatments for my patients with skin complaints such as acne, as there is so much that we can do. Depending on the type of acne you’re suffering with, one option is to extract the pimple before layering with a chemical peel containing glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid or even retinol to allow the ingredients to work their way deep into the skin.


Topical retinoids are a fantastic option for treating acne, and leave your skin smooth and glowing, too. They work on the cellular level to help kickstart your cell turnover, reduce inflammation, and decrease oil production – all critical functions for keeping pores clear and skin free of breakouts. They can also help fade the stubborn acne scars and marks that linger after a breakout too.

I love the Medik8 Crystal Retinal, which can deliver results up to 11 times faster than classic forms of retinol. It even boasts direct, powerful antibacterial properties, which allows it to target acne-causing bacteria, promoting a healthy, visibly clear complexion.

When using any retinol product for the first time, start by applying a pea-size amount of product once a week at night for one week, then twice a week at night for two weeks, then three times a week at night for three weeks. The goal is to work your way up to nightly use without irritation

Benzoyl Peroxide

There aren’t many ingredients as effective as benzoyl peroxide when it comes to treating acne. You can get benzoyl peroxide in a prescription form, but for anyone with mild to moderate acne, there are many different over-the-counter products that you can try, all with varied strengths of the ingredient.

Benzoyl peroxide works by killing c.acnes (the harmful bacteria on your skin that’s responsible for breakouts), and help minimise oil production, sheds pore-clogging dead skin cells, and reduces the redness and swelling associated with inflammatory pimples. However, it can be quite drying, so I recommend that you visit a practitioner for a skin consultation to ensure that you have a well-rounded regime that focuses on everything your skin needs.

Steroid injections

Occasionally breakouts, particularly nodules and cysts, become large and painful or just won’t get better, no matter what you try. In this case, steroid injections can be a good option. The steroid acts as a potent anti-inflammatory, stopping the inflammation in its tracks and helping your skin heal much faster.

Not sure where to start with your skincare regime? A comprehensive skin consultation will help you understand what’s going on with your skin and the ingredients to focus on to get the most out of your skincare. Click here to book.