Ask the experts... Acne and spots

More than 90% of the population are affected by acne, proving that spots are not a small problem.

That's why we teamed up with the British Skin Foundation to bring you a clinic covering all things acne and spots earlier this month. From hormones and home treatments to management and mental health, our members had loads to ask. 

If you missed the clinic, here is a round-up of the best advice! 

I have the Mirena coil and have noticed more spots and blackheads on my face - how can I treat them?

When you are managing acne, it is important to use prevention methods to stop spots from developing in the first place. If you have spots and blackheads adapalene gel combined with benzoyl peroxide is a combination that could help. You will need a prescription for this and should use it carefully as it can cause redness and peeling if used too much. Salicylic acid is another ingredient that can help to reduce inflammation and unclog pores.

The Mirena coil can trigger acne for some women. If the timing of the acne matches the time you had the coil inserted, and it doesn’t settle down, there are alternative contraception options such as the copper coil. Discuss this with your GP. 

How can I treat acne scarring? 

There is a range of surgical (e.g. subcisionpunch elevation) and non-surgical (e.g. chemical peelsCO2 laser resurfacing and micro-needling) treatments that can reduce the prominence of acne scarring. 

The best place to see a Consultant Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon with experience in treating acne scars - there are so many treatment options, it can be hard to work out which one is the best option for you. 

Are LED light treatments effective for acne scars, I’m struggling with it and it’s affecting my mental health?

It is important to address your mental health as well as your skin. If your acne scarring is having an impact on your life, you should speak to your GP about your feelings. 

Regarding the scarring - I would not recommend this type of treatment. People often have many different types of acne scarring, this will not work for multiple of them. You should see a Consultant Dermatologist or Plastic surgeon with experience in treating acne scarring to discuss what the best treatment options are for you. 

How do I prevent dark spots from appearing after my spots have gone? 

The best way to minimise acne scarring is to reduce the incidence of acne appearing in the first place. Your GP or dermatologist will be able to advise which face wash and creams to use for your skin type.

When you do get a spot, try not to squeeze it as this can cause inflammation and redness. Niacinamide is a helpful anti-inflammatory ingredient that is helpful for acne that you can purchase over the counter (4% Nicam gel). Remember to always read the label before using OTC products. 

What can I do about hyperpigmentation? 

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can improve with time but it is difficult to predict how long this will take. If your hyperpigmentation is present on a large part of your body, micro-needling or dermabrasion may not deliver the long term effects that you desire. I would suggest seeing a Consultant Dermatologist with expertise in treating acne scarring to discuss the most suitable option for you.

If you need some extra support for your skin, our talkacne hub has loads of helpful, evidence-based advice. 

Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.

Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 27 July 2021
Next review: 27 July 2024