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


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.








More SGA Results

It’s coming up to twelve months since we started doing SGA in all our Clinics. In that time we have treated over 3,000 people with Acne & Breakouts and we have learned a lot about the time it takes to see significant control of breakouts and clear skin emerge. Whilst it is always difficult to generalise, we believe that SGA is at least a six month commitment    ( at the rate of one treatment per month ) and for some people with really stubborn breakouts, 12 months, to see that significant improvement. One of the challenges for our therapists for those clients that are slow to respond to SGA, is keeping them from giving up. It is one of the sad facts of Acne & Breakouts that there are a lot of treatments that promise to deliver clear skin, but very few that actually do. This means that our clients are very sceptical about SGA’s ability to deliver clear skin for them, unless they see immediate results. My job with this blog is to keep presenting the evidence that SGA is different and break through that scepticism that abounds in the minds of people with chronic Acne and breakouts. SGA will permanently eliminate your Acne and Breakouts, if you give it a chance.

AT 31 may 2012[1]AT 9 nov 2012[1]B & A AndrewB & A GheryB &A Stuart[1]NH B&A


Another “Breakthrough” Acne Treatment

I have read four articles in the past week describing research into bacteria and viruses that interact with the P acnes bacteria on the skin and their potential to deliver a future “Acne Cure”. I can’t help feeling like Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark..”Indie, Indie, they’re digging in the wrong spot”. Too attention is paid by researchers, inaccurately in my opinion, to P acnes, which is not the cause of Acne. The role of P acnes in the Acne story is secondary to the malfunctioning of the sebaceous gland. If the sebaceous glands are functioning properly, P acnes is never a problem. After all, it is part of our ” normal” skin flora, the bacteria and viruses that live on our skin that act to help protect the skin from infection. In the malfunctioning sebaceous gland however, P acnes goes haywire, causing inflammation that leads to the formation of pimples and cysts.

Therefore, all our attention needs to be focussed on getting rid of the malfunctioning sebaceous glands. Enter Sebaceous Gland Ablation- SGA. SGA is the only treatment that focusses on eliminating the cause of Acne, the malfunctioning sebaceous gland, leading to permanently breakout free skin. In the Acne puzzle, SGA is the answer.

Best Skincare Products for Acne prone skin

There are thousands of products on the market that claim to be effective in controlling or eliminating Acne and breakouts. One thing I have learned treating thousands of people with Acne prone skins is that almost all  products deliver some short term improvement in breakouts, but there are very few products that are effective long term  in controlling Acne and breakouts for most clients.

Mild breakout is often readily controlled with a daily routine of cleansing and toning with a mild salicylic acid solution ( 0.5 – 2% ). Salicylic acid is very effective for controlling mild Acne and breakouts as it is oil soluble and therefore able to penetrate the sebaceous glands and help dissolve the mixtures of oil and dead skin cells that block the pores. Salicylic acid also assists in reducing the appearance of post acne marks. Other mild acids like glycolic acid and trichloracetic acid can also be helpful in exfoliating the excess dead skin cells and clearing the pores. These should always be used in low concentrations.

Benzyl peroxide is also a very commonly used medication for Acne and breakouts. All the  best known advertised Acne treatments are benzyl peroxide based and it can also be found in combination with some prescription Acne medications. Benzyl peroxide does work well for many clients and can be effective for long periods of time. It is less effective for moderate and severe breakouts and it can be very drying for the skin, particularly in higher concentrations. It is also a bleaching agent and will bleach clothes and bed clothes.

Topical antibiotics are often prescribed by doctors for Acne. They are also combined with topical retinoids in a small number of prescription medications. In my opinion, topical antibiotics are the least effective Acne treatments on the market. They promote the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria and should be avoided.

Topical retinoids ( tretinoin ) are the most effective skincare products for breakout prone skin. Unfortunately, they have significant side effects ( sun sensitivity and skin dryness and cannot be used during pregnancy ) which has made them unpopular with many doctors. An alternative topical retinoid adapelene is more commonly prescribed by doctors but in my opinion, is not as effective as tretinoin. It has the advantage of not causing sun sensitivity but can be very drying to the skin. It is important to use tretinoin in low dosages to start with, to allow the skin to adapt to it ( 0.025% is recommended). It treats all parts of the Acne cycle and is also helpful for treating Acne scarring. In my practice, I combine tretinoin with a mild bleaching agent to help resolve the pigmented scarring that is so common with Acne. I also like my patients to use a 2% salicylic toner, preferably daily.

Before you buy any more skincare products for your Acne, read the ingredient list and make sure they contain something that will actually help your skin.

More great SGA results

I have written earlier posts about what a big problem Adult Acne and Breakouts are. It is difficult to determine how common Adult Acne is, but a study published in 2008 ( which attempted to measure the prevalence ( how many people are affected )  of Acne in adults 20 years and over ), reported 42.5% of men and 50.9% of women continue to have problems with acne and breakouts in their 20s. Although the peak prevalence of Acne is the teenage years, the mean age at presentation for treatment is 24 years.

This is certainly our experience and the majority of people we are treating with SGA are adults. I believe the majority of teenagers put up with mild to moderate Acne, waiting to “grow out of it”. But young Adults affected by Acne are quickly frustrated when the common Acne creams fail to reduce their Acne and are looking for a permanent solution. The hardest part of this search is wading through the myriad of “fixes” advertised online and in magazines and trying to evaluate the claims.

I hope, over time, the weight of evidence of the effectiveness of SGA will make this process much easier.







More great results with SGA

Here are some more great results we are achieving for our clients with SGA. We have now been performing SGA for six months and our client base is building exponentially with word of mouth. When I introduce a new treatment into our Clinics, I always expect a stream of emails from my therapists with all the clients the treatment hasn’t worked for. I was expecting the same with SGA. We have treated over 1500 clients in the past six months with SGA and I have received one email about a client whose acne has not improved after 3 SGA treatments. We know now that some clients with particularly stubborn can take up to six treatments to start to see improvement and we have revised our recommendations so that new clients can expect to have 6 to 10 treatments to clear their Acne and breakouts.

One email from 1500 clients undergoing a brand new treatment, I am astonished. I would have expected  a 10% “problem with the treatment” rate and many, many more emails.

It’s still early days for us, and we are currently undertaking a massive follow up of all 1500 clients to determine our success so far. But most importantly, the feedback from all my therapists is that our clients are really happy with SGA and really happy with their progress.

We have a long journey to introduce SGA to all those people who could benefit from it and have it recognised as the effective Acne treatment it is, but we’ve made a great start.






Excellent Results from SGA

I am posting a number of photographs today of some of our clients who are currently having SGA treatments. All the clients are woman over the age of 20, who have persistent, treatment resistant acne. I have always felt this was a significant subgroup of Acne affected adults and I came across a Spanish study,, published in 2009, which also proposed recognising this subgroup, as the incidence of adult Acne is thought to be increasing and it is twice as common in women than in men. What is so important for this group of adult females, who are affected by chronic Acne, is that they do not respond to antibiotics and are less responsive to topical treatments ( like medicated creams ). The authors of this study proposed using intermittent low dose isotretinoin ( Roaccutane ) to treat these women but admitted the relapse rate following this treatment was 40%!

I know for my group of female adults with chronic acne, SGA is a godsend. A quote from the Spanish study summarises my view exactly:

“It is important to dedicate time and energy to these patients as the impact on their quality of life can be even greater than that seen in adolescents, and sensitivity is required in offering medical solutions to their skin problems”.

I have seen so many young adult woman over the past 12 years who have been so distressed by their chronic Acne, that it becomes a barrier to them enjoying their lives. To be able to offer them a permanent solution that does not involve ongoing drug therapy is profoundly satisfying.

Please note, all of these clients have only had 1-2 SGA treatments and will require several more treatments to be permanently breakout free. It can also take another 6 to 9 months for all of the red scarring ( post inflammatory hyperpigmentation ) to fade.