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What is Acne? 

Acne is a very common skin condition caused by the inflammation of grease-producing glands in the skin.

This causes blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads) and inflamed red papules and pustules, otherwise known as spots.
Acne predominantly occurs during adolescence and is most commonly experienced on the face, back and chest. The correlation between acne and adolescence is due to the increase in testosterone occurring in both genders during puberty.

Acne can also be prompted by psychological factors such as increased stress levels, genetics and dietary habits, as well as hormone changes during pregnancy.

Where on the body does Acne typically occur?

Acne commonly occurs in the following areas:

  • Face 
  • Neck
  • Back 
  • Chest 

How can you treat Acne?

There are a range of treatments for Acne and we offer all of them at the Cadogan Clinic in Chelsea.

After you've been fully diagnosed at your consultation, one of the various treatment options will be recommended by a dermatologist to achieve the best results for you.

These range from

  • topical creams and gels for less severe cases
  • oral antibiotics or hormonal treatments 
  • oral contraceptive pills
  • prescription medicine, e.g. isotretinoin capsules 

We also offer a range of other cosmetic treatments to treat acne (and acne scars), such as:

Whatever your personal requirements, you can rest assured that we will provide the leading UK consultants, techniques and facilities for your treatment at our state-of-the-art, purpose-built, dermatology clinic in Sloane Street, Chelsea.

How does Acne form?

What are the benefits of Acne Treatment?

The benefits of Acne treatment are cosmetic, medical and psychological, and include:

  • Clear, smooth skin free of blemishes 
  • Eliminates risk of scarring 
  • Improved self confidence
  • Reduces stress and unhappiness 
  • Reduces infection risk 

What are the different types of Acne?

Acne is generally classified in terms of its severity, ranging from mild to moderate and severe

  • Mild – whiteheads and blackheads
  • Moderate – whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pustules (a bump on the skin filled with pus and fluid)
  • Severe – large, painful papules and pustules, nodules and cysts. Scarring may also be present 

What to expect during your acne consultation at the Cadogan Clinic?

You will meet with one of our highly trained dermatologists at the Cadogan Clinic on Sloane Street, Chelsea for an in-person assessment of your skin.

Your consultant will discuss the following with you at this consultation:

  • The best options for treatment for you given your acne condition, and the results that you would likely achieve with each treatment
  • An explanation of the treatment or treatment plan 
  • Go through your past medical history
  • Answer any questions you may have

3 Easy Steps

  • Visit the Clinic on Sloane Street, Chelsea for your in-person consultation with one of our dermatologists 
  • Start your treatment plan 
  • Return to the Clinic to see your dermatologist - if required - to monitor the progress of treatment 

Why choose the Cadogan Clinic for your Acne treatment?

  • We treat thousands of Acne cases each year 
  • Our team of 9 highly experienced specialist dermatologists have been handpicked to form one of the best independent dermatology units in the country
  • Conveniently located off Sloane Square  
  • Integrated dermatology and cosmetic clinic, with specialism in acne scar removal and scarring and a comprehensive range of other skin treatments

Dermatology Gallery

Skin Lumps and Warts

Benign Dermatofibroma - Persisting asymptomatic nodule. Recommend excision on cosmetic grounds as will never go away spontaneously.

Benign vascular nodule - Developed at site of minimal trauma; needs surgical removal as bleeds easily.

Benign vascular nodule - On face of elderly lady, for surgical removal.

Warty benign basal cell papilloma (seborrhoeic keratosis) - Slowly growing on trunk of 70 year old man; removed by curettage.

Warty benign basal cell papilloma (seborrhoeic keratosis) - Flesh-coloured growth on trunk of 75 year old man

Seborrhoeic warts / keratoses - On a patient

Seborrhoeic warts / keratoses - On a patient

Solar keratoses - Extensive scalp solar keratoses suitable for PDT

Rapidly growing nodule - Below left eye in 70 year old man. Needs excision for cure and for histology to differentiate between a keratoacanthoma and a basal cell cancer

Hand warts - Can be treated with Cryotherapy

Plantar warts - Potentially suitable for cryotherapy


Lentigo maligna - Black discolouration on background brown lentigo on nasal bridge–needs excision to prevent spread.

Melanoma - Melanoma on a patient

Lentigo maligant melanoma - Slowly growing brown stain on cheek of elderly lady

Malignant melanoma - Well demarcated black plaque on sun damaged trunk of 35 year old

Malignant melanoma - Well demarcated black plaque on sun damaged skin

Melanoma - Change in the pigmentation of a previously brown mole

Nodular melanoma - A large pigmented nodule

A nodular melanoma - Enlarging pigmented plaque

Subungual melanoma - Persisting black toenail originally thought due to trauma

A nodular melanoma - Persisting oozing nodule with pigmentation

Amelanotic melanoma - Vascular nodule on the foot

Large malignant melanoma - On upper back of very sundamaged skin

Other Skin Cancers

Basal cell cancer - Slowly growing nodule on sun exposed skin of 68 year old man showing telangiectasia (blood vessels) diagnostic of a basal cell cancer

Multiple cancers - Multiple scaly patches consistent with multiple cancers on sun-exposed neck of elderly woman

Basal cell cancer - Scaly area which never heals on right side of forehead of 72 year old. Need excising to prevent further enlargement.

Basal cell cancer - Slowly growing area on sun damaged facial skin of 35 year old surfer. Basal cell cancer needing Mohs and reconstruction to prevent further growth.

Pigmented basal cell cancer - On sun exposed skin of 72 year old. Could be mistaken for a melanoma due to the black pigment.

Squamous Cell Cancer - Sore ear thought to be infection in 78 year old man but due to a squamous cell cancer

Bowen’s disease on the hand - An early skin cancer


Psoriasis - Symmetrical well defined erythematous plaques on the knees

Psoriasis - Well demarcated scaly plaques on elbows of a 4 year old

Psoriasis - Scaly itchy scalp with well demarcated edge due to psoriasis

Psoriasis - Well demarcated scaly rash of psoriasis in a child on an unusual location

Small Plaque Psoriasis - Widespread rash with well demarcated pink scaly patches

Psoriasis - Psoriasis on the forehead and scalp


Large congenital mole - Atypical pigmentation in a child - needs monitoring

Protruding benign mole - Excise on cosmetic grounds

Hair bearing benign flesh coloured facial naevus -

Halo naevus - This is benign and occurs more frequently in patients with vitiligo

Large naevi with irregular pigmentation - Dysplastic naevi which need monitoring /excision to prevent progression

Unusual mole on sole of foot - For dermoscopic monitoring

Halo - Less intense pigmentation surrounding a normal mole

Benign Mole - Benign mole on a patient

Benign Mole - Benign mole on a patient


Acne Scarring - Acne Scarring

Acne - Acne on a male patient

Acne - Acne on the forehead

Acne - Acne on the cheek


Alopecia - Alopeca areata


Urticaria - Urticaria or hives


Vitiligo - On a patient

Actinic Lentgines - On the patient's hand

Sun Damage - On the patient's chest

Actinic Lentgines - On the patient's hand

Extensive Actinic Lentigines - Forehead with extensive actinic lentigines sun freckling


Vascular Papule - Vascular papule on patients face

Superficial Leg Vessels - Close up of superficial leg vessels amenable to sclerotherapy or laser.


Dry Eczematous Skin - Dry eczematous skin on a patient

Flexural Eczema - Flexural eczema on a patients arm

Frequently Asked Questions

Acne can run in families but its representation in the population is extensive, and it can occur in anyone.

+ Cleanse your skin and remove make-up with a mild soap or a gentle cleanser and water, or an oil-free soap substitute
+ Eat a balanced diet including fresh fruit and vegetables
+ Wear oil-free, water based 'non-comodogenic' or 'non-acnegenic' makeup
+ Do not pick or squeeze existing acne, as this can aggravate the condition or encourage scarring
+ Seek immediate medical advice if you see acne starting to form

The visible signs of acne are actually caused by issues that develop underneath the skin.

In this layer of the skin there are tiny structures called sebaceous glands that produce an oily substance called sebum that lubricates the surface of your skin and hair.

Sebum usually passes through the hair follicle out into the surface of the skin. When the follicle becomes blocked, however, the sebum begins to build up inside, leading to the formation of pimples and spots on the surface of the skin.

This blockage can happen for a variety of reasons: most frequently, it is caused by an excess of sebum being produced, or dead skin cells or makeup blocking the exit point onto the surface of the skin.

Once the blockage has been created, sebum continues to be produced, making the issue worse.

Yes all types of acne can be treated, however severe. The more severe the case, the sooner you must seek medical advice

Outcomes and results vary by case and the status of the existing acne, when treatment is sought. It is most common for your acne to be fully cleared, although some particularly stubborn cases can require ongoing treatment

During the teenage years it is common for acne to disappear on its own. Adult acne is much less likely to clear on its own without treatment.

Given the material risk of scarring, we always recommend you get your acne looked at by a professional dermatologist or seek medical advice.

There are highly effective treatments for reducing the appearance of acne scars, sometimes completely. This depends on the type of scarring however.

To find out more, visit our dedicated Acne scars treatment page.

Yes, IPL treatments can be used to treat the appearance of acne. By undergoing a number of treatments, varying depending on the patient and the severity of the condition, IPL can help to destroy the bacteria that create acne, therefore reducing its appearance on the skin.

Cystic acne is one of the most severe types of acne.

It is caused when sebum and puss begin to build up inside the skin, and instead of breaking through the surface or being healed by the immune system, the acne continues to grow deep into the skin, sometimes even rupturing the sebaceous glands that produce the sebum in the first place in some cases.

This is the most difficult type of acne to treat, because it is too deep for most topical medications to be effective.

The difference between whiteheads and blackheads relate to variations in the skin follicles and whether they are closed off from the surface or not

+ Whiteheads are white to the eye, and occur when the follicle becomes closed off at the surface of the skin. The sebum, dead cells and bacteria therefore build up underneath the follicle inside the pore, causing the white coloration
+ Blackheads are black to the eye and form when the follicle becomes clogged. This material is not blocked off from the surface, but the clogged build up causes the edges of the follicle to expand, causing the pore to appear larger. The dark coloration is the visible sebum, dead cells and bacteria in the pore, not dirt as is commonly held

The Cadogan Clinic is based at 120 Sloane Street in Chelsea, just off Sloane Square and the Kings Road.

Our address is 120 Sloane Street, Chelsea, London, SW1X 9BW.

We are accessible by all major bus routes that pass through Sloane Square and Sloane Street, as well as Sloane Square tube station.

Local pay parking is available just around the corner from the Clinic on Cadogan Gate, Cadogan Square and Cadogan Gardens. Our local residential parking zone is the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

How to find us

The Cadogan Clinic is based at 120 Sloane Street in Chelsea, just off Sloane Square and the Kings Road.

We are accessible by all major bus routes that pass through Sloane Square and Sloane Street, as well as Sloane Square tube station.

We are just a 5 minute walk northwards up Sloane Street once you have arrived at Sloane Square.

Local pay parking is available just around the corner from the Clinic on Cadogan Gate, Cadogan Square and Cadogan Gardens. Our local residential parking zone is the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

Address: 120 Sloane Street, Chelsea, London, SW1X 9BW


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