What is Adult Acne?

Adult acne is a post-adolescent condition that is characterised by excessive production of sebum, leading to oily/greasy skin. Blocked pores lead to inflammation with redness, spots and cysts.

Acne tends to be thought of as a teenage problem which will pass with time, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

At Cosmedics, we see many patients in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s who are still really struggling with acne on a day to day basis. It can even recur in the 50’s and late onset acne is especially an issue for those undergoing hormone changes (e.g. menopause) or stress.

Symptoms of Acne

acne scarring

  • Spots on the skin, ranging from mild blackheads and whiteheads to tender pus-filled pustules and cysts, which can become infected
  • Greasy skin due to excessive production of sebum
  • Usually occurs on the face, back and chest
  • Flushing (redness) or skin pigmentation, especially in darker skin types

Causes of Acne

  • Acne occurs where bacteria infect a hair follicle which has been blocked with excessive sebum, causing blackheads and whiteheads which then develop into full blown acne with spots and pustules
  • Genetic condition – tends to run in families (although not always)
  • Hormonal changes (e.g. puberty, menstrual cycle, menopause, pregnancy)
  • Environmental factors such as stress or exposure to pollution

Acne Treatment

There are a number of effective treatments available which reduce and prevent the activity of the acne in order to stop the severe inflammation and pigmentation. Our skin treatments are designed to address the underlying problems of blocked pores, excessive oiliness, and inflammation / infection, whilst at the same time improving the overall texture and resilience of your skin e.g. laser, peels, microdermabrasion.

Cosmedics Skin Clinics in London offers high tech treatment for acne in our London beauty salons (Putney and Harley Street). Options include:

What’s more, our team can recommend the best route regarding any medication, based on examination of the client’s skin. We recognise that in severe cases, a structured programme of treatment for the acne can work from the inside (medication) as well as outside (skin treatments) can offer excellent results even in serious cases.

Treating the acne will prevent the appearance of long-lasting scars. Talk to Cosmedics about the next steps for you.

Types of Acne Spots - Treatment Guide

Whiteheads occur when the normal follicles become blocked with excess oil. The white bumps can be quite numerous.

When whiteheads appear, the best tactic is to prevent them from becoming inflamed.

Treatments to prevent and/or treat whiteheads are:

  • Topical treatments i.e. over the counter spot cream or wash
  • Exfoliation

Blackheads are whiteheads with pigmentation and the same guidelines apply as for whiteheads, i.e.:

  • Topical treatments i.e. over the counter spot cream or wash
  • Exfoliation

Unfortunately, it can take longer for the appearance of blackheads to improve due to the pigmentation

Papules occur when the pore walls break, causing bigger pimples which tend to feel quit hard.

Avoid the temptation to pick/squeeze the spots.

Firstly, review the skin regime – medicated ingredients may be more appropriate – then:

  • Topical treatments i.e. over the counter spot cream or wash
  • A GP may prescribe oral medication in severe or persistent cases
  • Professional treatments to consider – exfoliation (peels or microdermabrasion), laser

Pustules are like papules, but filled with pus. The same advice as for papules applies i.e.:

  • Topical treatments i.e. over the counter spot cream or wash
  • See the in severe or persistent cases – a GP may prescribe oral medication
  • Professional treatments to consider – exfoliation (peels or microdermabrasion), laser

Generally a patient will have both papules and pustules, with the skin looking quite inflamed

Nodules are large bumps, which go deep into the skin. They can be inflamed and feel quite tender and generally only occur in the most serious cases.

Potential treatment options are likely to include:

  • Oral medication and/or even injections prescribed by GP
  • Professional treatments to consider – exfoliation (peels or microdermabrasion), laser

Cysts are like nodules, but filled with pus so they feel softer. The patient is likely to have both nodules and cysts and this would generally be considered a severe case of acne.

The same treatment options apply as for nodules, i.e.:

  • Oral medication and/or even injections prescribed by GP
  • Consider professional treatments – exfoliation (peels or microdermabrasion) and/or laser

Get in touch

Contact us for instant answers and the latest available appointments at our London and Bristol clinics.
Our friendly team of advisers are available Mon-Fri: 9am – 5.30pm, Sat: 9am – 2pm.


4 thoughts on “Adult Acne

  1. I have had acne for years and I’m using skinorean cream which ain’t working.what else can I use as I feel nothing is working and I need to clear it as I feel unhappy.what can I do to get rid of it.

  2. Hi, I have tried many antibiotics and nothing has made my skin good permanently.

    I was wondering if you can supply the antibiotic accutane?

    Thank you!!

    1. Sorry we don’t offer Accutane specifically. Our consultant dermatologist does offer Prescription treatments including:
      Topical retinoids to treat blackheads, Topical antibiotics to tackle infection and pustules, Antibiotic tablets to reduce inflammation, Retinoid tablets to treat severe acne cysts as well as Pharmacy treatments including: Antiseptic creams, Anti-inflammatory creams, Antiseptic washing agents. More information at https://www.cosmedics.co.uk/skin-treatments/dermatology/

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