Article written by Dr Katya Mishanina


Chronic inflammatory condition characterized by comedones, papules, pustules, cysts and scars.


Acne vulgaris is common and affects over 80% of teenagers. The peak age of onset is 18 years of age. Men and women are equally affected.


Acne is cause by a complex interaction between sex hormone production, increase in sebum production, skin pore blockage (producing blackheads) and skin colonisation with Proptionabacterium acnebacteria.

Rarer causes include:

  • Endocrine – PCOS, Cushing’s
  • Squeezing – acne excoriee
  • Aromatic industrial chemicals – chloracne
  • Cosmetics
  • Drugs – steroids, sex hormones
  • Infantile
  • Physical occlusion  

Signs and Symptoms

  • Spots of the face, neck and possibly back and chest.
  • Blackheads (dilated pores with black plugs, also known as comedones)
  • Whiteheads (small cream-coloured dome shaped spots)
  • Red spots, cysts and scarring from old spots may be present.
  • Burrowing abscesses with scarring (conglobate acne) may be present in severe acne.


Diagnosis is usually made through history and examination.

Sometime investigations may be needed to establish the root cause of the problem.

What therapies shall I try?

You may choose different therapies to tackle acne.

At the Natural Practice the following therapies are offered for people with acne: integrated medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, reflexology.

Practitioners to see about this condition

Following Up

After you initial consultation, we recommend that you have regular check-ups to monitor your symptoms and response to interventions. The practitioner will advise on appropriate follow up arrangements for your individual situation.  

Multidisciplinary approach.

Depending on your needs, your care may be shared with other practitioners at the natural practice or elsewhere. Whenever you permit us, we will write to your GP to ensure they are aware of our recommendations and follow up arrangements.

Further information:

British Skin Foundation 


  • Simon C. et al Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Jones D.S.  et al The textbook of functional medicine 3rd ed, Gig Harbour, WA: Institute for Functional Medicine, 2010.

Anthony, H et al Environmental Medicine in clinical practice, Southampton: BSAENM publications, 1997.