Although, we require oil for our skin to function and keep us looking younger and healthier,  a common skin complaint  known as acne often occurs as a result of  an over production of oil and a bacteria found on the skin know as propionbacterium.  Below, we take a closer look at acne, the causes and the products we recommend to treat this skin complaint.

What is acne and what causes it?

Acne is formed when the hair follicles become blocked. Hair follicles are tiny holes in the skin from which an individual hair grows out of and attached to these hair follicles are sebaceous glands which can be found near the surface of your skin. The sebaceous glands prevent your hair and skin from drying out by producing an oily substance called sebum. More often in acne cases, these glands can sometimes produce too much sebum which then mixes with dead skin cells which consequently blocks your follicles resulting in acne.

The plugged follicle can react in different ways, which is why your spots can appear different.  Lets have a look at the main types of spots caused by acne skin:

1. BLACKHEADS appear if the plugged follicle is open to the skin and becomes oxidised, creating small black or yellowish bumps that develop on the skin; they are not filled with dirt but are black because the inner lining of the hair follicle produces pigmentation.

2. WHITEHEADS are caused if the plugged follicle is close at the surface of the skin, which then bulges outwards. They have a similar appearance to blackheads, but they can be firmer and will not empty when squeezed and most often require professional lancing.

3.PAPULES are small red bumps that may feel tender or sore. Normally harmless bacteria that lives on the skin can then contaminate and infect these plugged follicles forming papules.

4. PUSTULES  are similar to papules, but have a white tip in the centre that is caused by a build-up of pus .  Nodules are large hard lumps that build up beneath the surface of the skin and can be painful.  CYSTS are the most severe type of spot caused by acne; they are large pus-filled lumps that look similar to boils and carry the greatest risk of causing permanent scarring.

Factors that can cause acne within the skin


Naturally you may be producing too much oil, ingredients within products such as Vitamin A can regulate this.


More than 80% of cases of adult acne occur in women. It is thought that many cases are caused by the changes in hormone levels that many women have at certain times from their periods or during pregnancy.

Teenage acne is thought to be triggered by increased levels of a hormone called testosterone, which occurs during puberty. The sebaceous glands are particularly sensitive to hormones. It is thought that increased levels of testosterone cause the glands to produce much more sebum than the skinneeds.  Acne skin can run in families and unfortunately is often inherited.


Certain medications, such as steroid medications, lithium (which is often used to treat depression and bipolar disorder) and some anti-epileptic drugs (used to treat epilepsy) can cause a flare-up of acne.– is often a cause of acne found in older people.


When it comes to cleansing the skin properly and not correctly sterilising make-up applicators one can easily cross contaminate and this sometimes can contribute to an acne flare up.

Small changes that can help

  • Cleanse make-up brushes after each use and cover
  • Change your pillowcase weekly and turn frequently
  • Use good proffessional skincare prescribed by a skin specialist
  • Avoid over cleansing, over exfoliating and harsh astringents
  • Seek advice from a Skin Specialist

Product recommendations

My personal two favourite products at the moment are the Image Skincare Clearcell Salicylic cleanser and the Clearcell mattifying moisturiser which both work together hand in hand.

The Clearcell cleanser is a foaming, salicylic-based gel cleanser gently removes makeup and eliminates excess oil while lightly exfoliating dead skin cells and keeping skin smooth, soft and shine free.  Ideal for oily/acne prone skin.


The lightweight Clearcell mattifying moisturiser revitalises irritated skin. Vitamin B6 derivative improves skin’s overall healthy balance by visually minimizing pore size, shine and sebum production while botanicals reduce the appearance of irritation and inflammation.  Hydrates while absorbing surface oils for a refreshed, mattifying effect.


At The Clinic we are here to help.  Skin Specialists are available to give you the best possible advice and will direct you further with the correct home care to help reduce the over production of oil.