Acne as a Fashion Accessory

In one of the more bizarre fashion statements ever, Malasyian designer Moto Guo sent his models down the Mens Fashion week runway in Milan last week, with pimples on their faces, not covered up with tons of make up, but highlighted as a fashion accessory.


Apparently the designer wanted to remind people its okay to be human. Reaction to Guo’s   fashion statement has been mixed, with some commentators applauding his efforts to normalise taboo skin conditions like acne, others saying, trying to make acne “cool” trivialises a condition that causes many of those who have it significant emotional trauma.

I believe highlighting acne as a real problem, even in this somewhat unusual way, is a good thing. Acne is the commonest health problem experienced by young adult women and men and young adult women in particular are four times more likely to suffer from chronic treatment resistant acne.

We all need to speak about this more, so that those with acne don’t feel isolated and alone in their struggle to get clear skin. Everyday I receive a dozen photographs of young adult women and men with acne who come to our Clinics for help. I am so pleased that we now have a solution to offer them.


Adult Acne – “Like an Epidemic”

Below is a story from the Telegraph London I have republished.  Adult Acne has been on the rise for a number of years now, but rarely gets the attention that such a common and distressing condition deserves. I have been on a mission for some time now to raise awareness of this condition, which is 4-5 times more common in adult women than men and much more treatment resistant.

SGA ( Sebaceous Gland Ablation ) has been a godsend for our clients with Adult Acne and breakouts over the past four years and it is my goal for 2016, that everyone in Australia and New Zealand who has Adult Acne, will hear about SGA and find a permanent solution for their Acne and enjoy clear skin.

Wish me luck!

Vicky Eldridge breezed through her teenage years and twenties without so much as a blotch or blemish. But two years ago, aged 34, the unthinkable happened; she began to be plagued by spots.

“They started on my chin and came up around that time of the month, then lasted longer and longer until they were there all the time,” says Eldridge, now 36, who lives in Chelsea. “Dating was out of the question; I wouldn’t want to meet anyone with my face looking like that.”

“I tried everything to cover them up. Before then, I had always taken my nice, smooth skin for granted. I was miserable, embarrassed and self-conscious. I would apologise to friends in advance about it – if my skin was bad, I would even stay in. Dating was out of the question; I wouldn’t want to meet anyone with my face looking like that. I grew depressed, low and very emotional.”

As the editor of a beauty magazine and someone who prided herself on knowing how to look good, her shame was all the more marked; at worst, Eldridge would call in sick when she had a particularly “horrific” breakout.

And as extreme as her case sounds, Eldridge is just one of an increasing number of people in Western countries affected by adult acne, an affliction doctors and dermatologists agree is on the rise, largely due to an increase in stress and poor diet.

Dr Stefanie Williams, medical director of Eudelo (European Dermatology London), does not mince her words on the subject. “It is like an epidemic. We have so many sufferers [in this country]. It is important to acknowledge that it is a skin disease. It is not normal and not a right of passage.”

Indeed, a study of 92 private dermatology clinics last year found a 200 per cent rise in the number of adults seeking specialist acne treatment. A quarter of those who visit their doctor have skin problems – from acne to psoriasis or eczema – and women are five times more likely than men to be affected by late-life acne, due to fluctuating hormones during pregnancy, the menstrual cycle and changing methods of contraception (the pill, coil or patches) – Cameron Diaz and Victoria Beckham have, notably, suffered.

Acne is caused by the over-production of oil from sebaceous glands, usually driven by changes in hormone levels, leading to blocked and inflamed pores.

Low-level changes in stress have long been linked to problematic skin as the hormone cortisol contributes to breakouts. Dr Nick Lowe, a consultant dermatologist believes it is this stress that is fueling the rise, especially in women who are working full-time while simultaneously raising families. “There are so many triggers; perceived shortness of time, general instability in lots of parts of the world, women being pressured at both work and home.”

Eldridge agrees mounting stress was integral to the onset of her acne. “Skin is a reflection of what is going on in the inside and I was burning the candle at both ends. I was working long hours, partying and not sleeping enough. It was definitely a contributing factor.”

As well as causing physical scars, the emotional impact of poor skin can reverberate through relationships, work and home life. The British Skin Foundation found that 95 per cent of acne sufferers say it impacts their daily lives and 63 per cent experience lower self-confidence.

Vicky managed her acne with treatments and a strict diet
Vicky managed her acne with treatments and a strict diet 

Vicky switched to a diet with an emphasis on healthy eating and fresh vegetables. After committing to giving up alcohol and avoiding dairy and sugar, where possible, she finally saw an improvement in her skin.

After three months, her cystic acne subsided and a prescription vitamin A cream saw off the rest of her breakouts.

Now Eldridge is spot-free, 10 months sober and has been known to leave the house without make-up for the first time in years.

“It was a long slog and there was no one quick fix,” she says. “Making the dietary changes certainly had a dramatic impact and then the cream finished it off. I know it will need maintenance but my face looks amazing now and there is no scarring.”

Republished from The Telegraph London


Diet and Acne

University of Osnabrück researcher Bodo Melnik has published more evidence linking diet to the development of acne.

Melnik calls into question the pivotal role of androgens in acne development, calling insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) the main culprit. He supports his argument with the fact that while androgen levels remain high after puberty, IGF-1 levels drop off about the same time acne usually does.

Or at least, they should. The problem is that our Western diet, high in saturated fats, dairy and refined carbohydrates, can exacerbate and sustain IGF-1 levels such that acne comes on stronger and lasts longer than it should, even into adulthood. Melnik cites several populations that eat paleo-style diets who also happen to be acne free.

The irony is that while most of us grew up being told that a poor diet causes acne, scientists have spent the past decade or so refuting this. While the old wives tales weren’t exactly on the mark (I recall fatty foods and chocolate as being no-nos),they weren’t entirely wrong either. Rather than specific foods, dairy and foods high in saturated and/or trans fats should be avoided in general. Instead, the paleo-style diet recommended by Melnik includes lots of vegetables and low-glycemic fruits with plenty of fish, rich in anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Reservatrol, a compound found in wines also helps, but then again that’s not particularly helpful for acne sufferers not old enough to drink.

So for now, it does make sense for anyone with acne to cut out dairy and fatty foods, which is good for the waistline as well as your skin.

Pete Evans


If you want to learn more about the Paleo diet, chef Pete Evans is a great advocate and his website is

Em Ford You Tube video

Em Ford has made a very powerful You Tube video in which she shows her skin un made up and the  nasty comments she received on Social Media about it, then she applies make up and displays both the positive and negative responses she received once her acne was covered up. The video has attracted 1.5 million responses and is very courageous, given that Em is a beautiful girl, with or without her make up.

Adult acne is very common in young adult women and is often treatment resistant. It is also a hidden problem as women with adult acne become very skilled at disguising it with make up.

My heart goes out to her and every other person who is plagued by breakouts and I feel very honoured to be able to help with this huge problem every day.


Sebaceous Hyperplasia

My post today is about Sebaceous Hyperplasia, a condition seen more commonly in middle age but it can affect young adults as well. It is a benign condition ( meaning it does not create any harm ) but it can be a significant cosmetic problem for some people. Each lesion appears on the surface of the skin as a lump, as each lesion is a sebaceous gland that has grown out onto the skin. In the centre of each lump is a pore, which is generally enlarged.

The biggest problem with Sebaceous Hyperplasia is that nobody treats it ( which I still find extraordinary ) and if you do find some one who does, the chances are they will over treat the lesions with a laser. Over the years I have had clients who have gone to multiple doctors only to be told there is nothing that can be done.

Well the good news is, there is something that can be done. Sebaceous Hyperplasia is very readily treatable with gentle diathermy ( a heat and seal treatment ) and provided the treatment is down very gently, the cosmetic result is very good.

Gentle Diathermy for Sebaceous Hyperplasia will be available at all my Clearskincare Clinics in the coming weeks.

Sebaceous hyperplasia 1

Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Best SGA Result

A big part of my job now is supervising more than 150 therapists around Australia and NZ who perform SGA. Every day I look at tens of photos of clients with Acne in all its guises. I particularly enjoy when therapists send me before and after photos of the success they had in treating a client with Acne. They are always as thrilled with the results as the client and have a tremendous sense of fulfilment. And sometimes a set of before and afters come to me that are so extraordinary I am as thrilled as them. So today I am sharing one such client with you all. OL came to us three months ago with severe breakouts and today he is well on his way to control following two SGA treatments, two peels and two LED light treatments as well as his home care, including Stieva A. The redness that he still has will fade over the next 6 to 9 months and in 12 months, his Acne will just be an unpleasant memory.OL before

OL after

OL before 1

OL after 1

OL before 2

OL after 2

More Great Results from SGA

This month will mark 3 years since I found SGA during a trip to a conference in Asia. I am constantly amazed at how few patients are referred to me by our Clinics, because SGA is not working for them. So far this year I have helped with 2 or 3 whose acne has not settled with 6 – 10 SGA treatments. Given we are treating thousands of patients with acne and breakouts, this is pretty remarkable. I have spent most of this year working out how to take SGA to the world as there are so many people who have chronic treatment resistant acne. I am hoping to launch a new website in the New Year which will offer online consultations, advice on where in-Clinic SGA is available and home based treatment in some countries.

In the meantime, here are a few more examples of the great results we are achieving with SGA.








Jury Still out on Accutane

Here is a very interesting article published on a US Law site about Accutane ( known as Roaccutane in Australia ). It follows recent calls in the UK for its banning following a number of suicides by young people taking the drug for acne.

In Australia, prescription of Roaccutane is restricted and it is only supposed to be prescribed for severe cystic acne.

The use of Roaccutane in acne, because of its high side effect profile, has always been contraversial. It is rarely reported that it has a high relapse rate in both males and females, when used at the recommended dose. Relapse rates can be reduced by increasing the dosage, which of course, increases the chance of serious side effects.

I do still recommend Roaccutane for severe cystic acne in young males. I rarely if ever recommend Roaccutane for females as the relapse rate is very high, particularly in females adults with acne. SGA is a far better option for adult women with chronic acne.

. By 

London, England: Although Accutane is banned in the US – Roche removed its acne drug from the market in 2009 after settling millions of dollars in damages to Accutane inflammatory bowel claimants – it is still available in many other countries. Prompted by a number of suicides, the UK may also ban the drug after the government reviews its risks and benefits.

Jury Still Out on Accutane?(Isotretinoin, which is a synthetic retinoid and a form of vitamin A, goes by several names including Accutane in the US and Roaccutane [made by Hoffman-La Roche] in the UK. Generic forms of Isotretinoin, however, are still available in the US since Roche’s patents for Isotretinoin expired in 2002. And the generic acne drugs are cheaper.)

Several family members of suicide victims in the UK – at least three suicides in 2012 were blamed on Roaccutane – have recently protested at Roche headquarters (its corporate company is in Switzerland but the global healthcare company has more than two dozen manufacturing sites and many offices worldwide). In the US, however, Accutane has been linked to suicide ideation and psychopathology for a number of years.

One doctor in Ireland (name not given) is defending Roaccutane. In a letter to the editor of Kerryman (April 23, 2014), its author says, “If Roaccutane was banned it would be disastrous for the small group of people who have very severe acne where nothing else will work. The acne support group in the UK reckon far more people suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts as a result of their acne, not their treatments….For the majority of my patients, their biggest regret with ‘Roaccutane’ is that they did not take it earlier.”

At the same time, the writer acknowledges that Isotretinoin is a very powerful drug and Accutane birth defects are “well known.” And it goes on to advise that acne patients need to be screened for signs of depression before starting the drug. If only dermatologists and other prescribing doctors had the time and/or inclination to do so…

One Accutane victim wishes her doctor had time to explain Accutane side effects. “Doctors…should tell their patients about potential side effects; they should take the time to talk to their patients,” Valerie says. “If my doctor only took five minutes to read about Accutane side effects and give me the option, even though I was probably vain in my 20s, I wasn’t naive.”

In the Kerryman letter to the editor, the writer cited a 2008 review that concluded the link between suicides and severe depression has not yet been clearly demonstrated, which was based on clinical studies and case reports. And given the fact that 13 million patients have used “Roaccutane” since it was approved in 1982, the number of suicides linked to the drug is rare.

Interestingly, the doctor doesn’t mention Accutane Ulcerative Colitis and other bowel diseases linked to the drug. The letter goes on to say that all Roaccutane patients get dry lips, dry nose and dry skin, and more serious side effects are rare. Not so, according to the manufacturer, who has paid more than $53 million to settle Accutane lawsuits.

More great results with SGA

We have just passed our 2 year anniversary from the introduction of SGA into our Clinics and we have now treated over 6,000 clients with acne and breakouts with SGA. We have learnt that the number of treatments required to bring acne and breakouts under control is higher than we first anticipated. If you come to one of the Clinics today for your acne consult, you will be advised that it will take 8 – 10 treatments to see a significant improvement in your skin. Some clients need less, some clients need more, but 8 – 10 treatments is the average, so patience is a necessity!

Here are some more fantastic before and afters:

dane lamb
final pictures
Garrett, Bec 20130521 Compare

SGA – A review

I am posting a review that the mother of one of our clients posted to our Facebook page. It really sums up what a huge difference SGA can make to acne sufferers’ lives:

At first I was very cautious as we had tried everything for Chelsea’s skin, so many things, so this really was my last shot for her as I would not have known what to do next. It has taken about 7 treatments if I recall so far but she is finally going to school without makeup. She hasnt done that in years. Always put a lot on to cover her acne, scarring, outbreaks and then been bullied some more for being a “cake face” or other names kids like to call others who struggle with acne. My heart bled for her when she told me she was injuring herself because she couldn’t take the bullying anymore and she hated her skin. Well since starting this treatment I have seen a different person emerge, a beautiful confident young lady and I can not thank you enough for providing this service in Perth that has been able to give her that lease of life back she deserved. I have taken your brochures to promote what you do to the Drs at the surgery who were unaware of what you offer. If we can help one more person become aware of you and help them, then this journey has been well worth it. No more Drs, medications, ointments, crap skin products that promise miracles because they are endorsed by this or that celebrity which then fail to live up to the hype but rob you blind. We see that light at the end of the tunnel. I am certainly bringing my son in should he get skin like she had.