Blemish Clinic is a centre of excellence for acne treatment and offers a broad range of treatments for the management and improvement of acne to put you back in control. Blemish Clinic owner and dermatology specialist consultant nurse, Jan Birch and consultant dermatologist, Dr Andrew Winter have a specialist interest in all aspects of acne management.
The range of in-clinic treatments includes topical skin creams and skincare programmes, medical facials and skin peels, intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, the prescription of antibiotics, phototherapy with combined blue and red LED light technology, and dynamic phototherapy using a topical sensitising cream alongside light. We also offer a Roaccutane Service for the treatment of severe acne that has not responded to conventional treatments and therapies.
Alongside in-clinic treatments, there are a range of things that you can do at home under medical supervision to improve and manage your acne that include the use of medical grade skincare and compact phototherapy devices.
As a specialist acne treatment centre, we collaborate with medical companies to support product development so acne sufferers get the best up to date technologies to manage their acne. There are many myths about the causes of acne and how best to manage it, so our aim is to give you the information to enable you to manage your skin problem at the earliest stage to prevent some of the more serious side effects of acne, including scarring.
Blackheads, whiteheads, comedones, pustules, hormonal acne, adult acne, cystic acne, nodular acne
Acne is a common skin problem that affects most teenagers, meaning that it is predominantly viewed as an adolescent problem, however, it can persist into adulthood.
Genetics play a role too, meaning you may have a genetic predisposition to developing acne if your parents had the condition. Acne can affect many people, both male and female, intermittently for many years during their lifetime and have a detrimental effect on self-confidence at all ages. If you suffer from acne, you are most certainly not alone!
Acne is identified by blackheads (open clogged pores with no inflammation) and whiteheads (closed clogged pores with no inflammation) that are collectively called comedones caused by overstimulation of the sebaceous glands. By adding a proliferation of acne causing bacteria to the mix, suffers can have red, raised, pus-filled spots known as pustules – the typical acne spot – or small, raised bumps under the skin called papules.
More severe types of acne, develop cysts or nodules that have a risk of causing permanent acne scarring. Acne most commonly occurs on the face, typically on the cheeks and forehead, but in many cases also occurs on the neck, chest, and back.
Acne usually starts during puberty, varying in severity during the teenage years. For most people it will tend to resolve with ageing and may well go away by their early to mid-twenties. However, acne can persist, or in fact develop later into adulthood.
The sebaceous glands in the skin, located alongside hair follicles, are responsible for producing oil or sebum to lubricate the skin and hair. These are affected by our hormones and in people who have acne, the glands are particularly sensitive even to the normal blood levels of these hormones. This causes the sebaceous glands to produce too much oil and grease. At the same time, the lining of the pores (the small holes in the skin surface) become thickened and dead cells cannot shed properly. The mixture of sebum and dead skin cells builds up and plugs or clogs the pores, producing blackheads (open, clogged pores) and whiteheads (closed, clogged pores). The plug in a blackhead turns black from exposure of the contents to the air and is not due to dirt.
Acne can be inflamed with spots and pustules or just blackheads and blocked pores.
Acne-causing bacteria known as Cutibacterium acnes or C.acnes (these used to be known as Propionibacterium acnes or P.acnes) live on everyone’s skin and usually cause no problems. But for those with acne, the build-up of sebum is an ideal environment for the bacteria to multiply causing inflammation which leads to the formation of red, swollen, or pus-filled spots.
As a rule, the greater the severity of the acne, the more areas are affected, meaning that it will extend from the face to the neck first. More than half of those with acne will also have back acne, and around 15% will experience the condition on the chest. Severe cases of acne will affect all areas.
Many people often do not relate non-inflammatory acne with ‘having acne’, dismissing the subtler signs of it as temporary breakouts which go away on their own. However, this can progress as a chronic inflammation of the pilosebaceous unit (the combined unit of the hair shaft, hair follicle, sebaceous gland, and the erector pili muscle that causes hair to stand on end) which leads to more problematic acne and even scarring.
Acne can be broken down into stages or gradings of severity.
Stage 1 – Oily skin with clogged pores - slight acne
Stage 2 – Oily skin with clogged pores - lots of acne
Stage 3 – Oily and inflamed skin with clogged pores – acne with papules and pustules
Stage 4 – Oily and very inflamed skin with clogged pores - severe acne with many papules and pustules
Each progressive stage of acne manifests a variety of different problems, it can be painful and uncomfortable and may lead to scarring. All the stages require some intervention to prevent the progression of the condition.
The patients that we see most often at the Blemish Clinic for acne treatment range from teenagers to those in their late 20s to early 30s, as well as some patients presenting with adult acne in their late 30s. Acne can be a devastating skin condition at any age and has psychological effects on the individual that can lead to a lack of self-confidence in social circumstances, working life, and in building relationships with others.
It is not always possible to get a complete solution to your acne from primary healthcare services, so we offer a leading, private acne treatment service for the North West of England with a team including a dermatology specialist consultant nurse who has a special interest in photo biology, alongside a consultant dermatologist.
Being able to help patients who are severely affected by their acne provides real satisfaction for our in-house team of medical professionals and they are rewarded by seeing our patients grow in confidence, with improved self-esteem after embarking on their tailored treatment plan. We will admit to getting personally attached to our patients; we really do care, and it is heart-warming to see such great changes in their lives.
We pride ourselves on supporting our patients on their acne journey from the first moment they step foot into the Blemish Clinic. There are many myths about the causes of acne and how to manage it, and many people truly underestimate the effect that acne can have on an individual. You may be spending a lot of money on over-the-counter skincare products that have been advertised to help with acne but do not have rigorous medical assessment and clinical trial data to back up their efficacy. Similarly, not understanding the process of acne and how to manage it might mean that you use the wrong products and make things worse. You may have visited your GP who will usually prescribe some creams, cleansers, washing products and/or antibiotics as a primary care option for treatment, or even certain contraceptive pills if you are female. All of these have their own side effects, including skin irritation, and may not work to appropriately manage your acne.
Our aim is to give you the information to enable you to manage your skin problem in the early stages to prevent more serious side effects from acne. You will be guided with a bespoke treatment regime that will enable you to manage breakouts, saving you money in the long-term as you identify which products to use and when to use them in the management of your condition. We will also teach you about the fluctuations and changes in your skin health, including hormonal impacts, so you can ensure you use your at-home treatments appropriately without being too aggressive on already sensitive skin.
Your struggle is our struggle; we are here to guide you, educate you, treat you, and more importantly hold your hand on your journey to acne management. Together we can stop acne from dominating your life.
Treatments for acne will vary depending on the type and severity of your acne. A bespoke treatment programme will be designed for you by our specialist team. This will include an at-home regime of prescribed skincare products used to cleanse and treat your skin in between visits for in-clinic treatments and reviews. This may also include the use of home phototherapy, using a Light Emitting Diode (LED) device to destroy acne causing bacteria on the skin. Your at-home regime will be done under medical supervision using medical grade products. We will hold your hand throughout this journey, and you will have access to support and guidance.
In-clinic treatments may include singular or combination treatments to include medical grade skincare and skin peels as medical facials, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy, phototherapy with combined blue and red LED light technology, or photodynamic therapy that uses a topical sensitising cream alongside the light. You may also require medication including the prescription of antibiotics or our Roaccutane Service for the treatment of severe acne that has not responded to conventional treatments and therapies.
At Blemish Clinic, your suitability for acne treatments will be assessed by either our dermatology specialist consultant nurse, Jan Birch or consultant dermatologist, Dr Andrew Winter. There are a broad range of acne medications, topical skincare, and treatment options available so during your consultation, we will assess which is the best solution for you and the management of your acne.
During the consultation, we will take a full medical history to discuss any underlying medical conditions, allergies, or medicines (especially photosensitising medication) that you are taking with may conflict with the use of various treatments for acne.
If you are pregnant or breast feeding, you may not be suitable for all the acne treatments we can offer, and in some cases hormonal acne that occurs during pregnancy and post childbirth can resolve by itself. We may be able to advise you on appropriate skincare regimes and non-invasive solutions that can help with your skin health during this time. If the acne persists after this, we can of course further assess your suitability for treatment.
All available treatment options will be thoroughly discussed, alongside the potential side effects and risks of each, until you jointly agree on a treatment plan. Blemish Clinic will require your engagement in terms of a commitment to a home regime to ensure that your acne treatment is successful.
This will depend on the individual treatments or combination of treatments prescribed to target your acne, and could include some redness, skin dryness, minor irritation or skin peeling, and tenderness, as skin heals or adjusts to topically applied treatments or medications.
The aim of a bespoke acne treatment plan is to manage the symptoms and causes of your underlying acne, (which will vary depending on type and severity), alongside improving the appearance of your skin and your skin health.
Red, pus-filled spots and comedones will be significantly reduced and skin quality and appearance improved. If you have acne scarring already, we may recommend additional treatment options, including micro-needling to improve the appearance of the scarring.
Treatment also aims to improve your psychological well-being, improve self-confidence, and help you to feel better in your own skin.
Your individual treatment plan presents a journey towards long-lasting control and management over your acne, to prevent some of the more serious side effects that can happen with some types of acne, including scarring and pigmentation changes.
Most treatments will require regular maintenance with in-clinic appointments, and/or an at-home skincare routine to keep symptoms at bay to avoid reoccurrence of problems, although the addition of medication can produce prolong periods of reduced acne breakouts.
You will be given a pathway to staying on top of your acne and we will guide you towards maintaining long-lasting results from all your treatments.
We believe in being transparent with our prices and want you to be fully aware and comfortable with the cost of your treatment. A full list of our prices can be found here. We will always agree a final price with you though before treatment commences.
Treatments to manage, control, and improve mild, moderate, or severe acne in adults and young people.
A bespoke acne treatment plan that may include a combination of home use skincare and phototherapy, alongside medication and in-clinic treatments such as skin peels and photo dynamic therapy. Patients will be under medical supervision throughout their journey.
Acne and skin health will improve and become manageable. Regular maintenance and a home regime will be required to control future outbreaks
Treatment times vary but be prepared for an at-home skincare regime that must be followed, alongside appointments for clinic treatments and review.
The underlying discomfort from acne itself will be reduced with treatment, however, there may be some mild discomfort or irritation as your skin adjusts to skincare regimes or skin peel treatments. Some medication can cause side effects, but pain is unlikely. Light treatments are usually relaxing in nature.
Acne treatments may cause additional redness and sensitivity as skin health improves and the symptoms of acne improve. Recovery includes a resolution of excess sebum and acne causing bacteria on the skin, which will happen over several weeks.