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Can Acne Be Cured? First, Let’s Understand Acne

Topic: Acne

Tags: acne acne-prone skin skin changes skin health

A cropped photograph showing a young female's chin, cheeks and lips. She has mild acne but is softly smiling

Meet Dr Shweta Mehta, our contributing editor, dedicated GP, and skin expert.

Dr Mehta MBBS BSc PGDip (Aesthetic Medicine) graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery from Imperial College, London. Dr Mehta then continued her training to qualify as a GP, where she has dedicated the last 9 years serving as a GP both privately and within the NHS.

Dr Mehta’s passion for skin and aesthetics grew and she qualified at the Blizard Research Institute, Queen Mary University in London in 2020 with distinction in Aesthetic Medicine. She sees patients for non-surgical facial aesthetics and skin treatments at Blackberry Clinic Guildford.

Dr Mehta is a contributing editor for CellDerma’s Skin Lab and will be answering your most-asked questions, shattering skin myths, and providing insight and advice for a plethora of skin conditions and concerns.


A young male with moderate acne on his left cheek
A young female with congested skin and mild acne


During puberty, a surge in testosterone (the hormone involved in the formation of genitalia in boys and muscle and bone strength in girls) results in excess sebum production. This excess sebum contributes to acne by clogging pores and trapping bacteria.


  • High glycaemic index foods such as dairy, lead to insulin spikes that stimulate follicular epidermal hyper-proliferation (via increased sebum production).
  • Studies have also shown a deficiency in certain nutrients (such as fatty acids) can also play a part.
  • There is also growing evidence that a lack of fibre in the diet can preclude inflammatory skin conditions.
  • We are also learning the effects of gut health, not only on our brains and the rest of our body, but our skin.
  • Gut health and skin health are closely linked, especially when it comes to intestinal flora (digestive bacteria). So, could clean eating have an impact here by reducing inflammation? More studies are required to prove this, but there is no harm in adding more whole foods, fibre, vegetables, fruits, and proteins to your diet.


Medications such as anticonvulsants (epilepsy medication), lithium (depression and bipolar medication), and steroids have been shown to influence the occurrence of acne, in some cases.

Sun Exposure

Excessive exposure to sunlight can damage and dry out the top layer of the skin (epidermis), leading to an increase in sebum production to counteract the dryness.

Genetic Factors

Acne can also run within families (the consistency and factors that make up the sebum e.g. fatty acids play a part here).


Make-up and facial products that are comedogenic/oil-based can lead to acne formation. Comedogenic means ‘to block pores’. Always ensure everything you are putting on your skin is non-comedogenic. CellDerma products are 100% non-comedogenic, but if you are unsure about any others, ask your skin practitioner or refer to Google.


Anxiety and stress hormones have been shown to contribute to acne. Cortisol (the hormone released when stressed) can create inflammation within the body, which is a leading cause of acne.

Illustrated scientific diagram of the skin layers, showing 5 different types of acne. Shows a healthy hair follicle, a whitehead, a blackhead, a papule and a pustule.

Types of acne lesions:

Comedones: Whiteheads are closed and blackheads are open

Papules | Pustules

Nodules | Pseudocysts

Post-Inflammatory Erethema | Scarring

A cropped photograph showing a young female's chin, cheeks and lips. She has mild acne but is softly smiling