• Level 6, 24 Collins Street, Melbourne
  • (03) 9939 8115

Acne

Acne Treatment

Acne is a very common skin condition, and dermatologists are the experts in all the treatment options available.

We understand it is often distressing and can have an affect on your mood and social interactions – our aim is always to give you the best improvement possible in a safe manner.

Although acne is most common in adolescents, it can affect all people of all ages.

We treat all types of acne including:

  • Childhood Acne
  • Teenage Acne
  • Adult Acne
  • Resistant or scarring cases of acne
  • Hormonal Acne
  • Acne Scarring

We offer access to all prescription treatments including isotretinoin (Roaccutane) which is very effective for severe and scarring acne.

In Australia only dermatologists are registered to prescribe isotretinoin. (Pamphlet here: Acne-Oratane- Roaccutane )

For a guide to some dietary assistance for acne problems, you may find some helpful information in this leaflet: acne diet Booklet pdfs.

Acne FAQs

Your questions answered

What causes acne?

Acne occurs due to blockage of the pilosebaceous unit (oil ducts). Some people are particularly sensitive to naturally circulating hormones called androgens. These hormones cause an increase in oil production, which encourages bacteria to grow. When this combines with a blockage in the duct – a pimple forms.

We ensure that all aspects of this process are treated – including oil production, hormones (in women), bacteria and preventing blockage resulting in the best clearance of acne.

Why treat acne?

Whilst acne may be just a small annoyance for some people, acne that persists and causes scarring can be upsetting. Severe acne can have a significant impact on self-esteem and social interactions.

It is particularly important to treat acne at an early stage, before it leads to scarring. Although there are significant advances in the treatment of acne scarring it is much easier (and cheaper) to treat the problem before it causes permanent damage.

Can anything cure acne for good?

Mild cases of acne may require a short course of medication combined with prescription skin care to reduce breakouts. However, for severe or scarring acne a medication called isotretinoin (Roaccutane) is the only prescribed drug which can  permanently improve acne breakouts. Please note that only dermatologists can prescribed isotretinon.

You may come across cosmetic clinics offering laser treatment for acne. Generally these treatments are minimally effective or have very little evidence of long term success, and can be extremely expensive.

Can I treat acne scarring?

The best treatment for acne scarring is to prevent it in the first place. We recommend ensuring there is no active acne  prior to considering laser procedures for acne scarring.

Prescription skin care including glycolic acid and vitamin A can assist with mild acne scarring and some forms of acne scarring will improve over time. 

For more severe acne scarring, please see our dedicated acne scarring page, as there are a number of procedures which can help significantly. In choosing a specialist dermatologist for treatment of acne scarring you can be sure you receive the most appropriate treatments and expertise in a safe medical environment.

Can anyone have Isotretinoin (Roaccutane)?

You will need to see a dermatologist to determine if your acne requires isotretinoin treatment.

As there are some small potential risks involved with taking the medication, these need to be discussed in detail prior to deciding if it is the right treatment for you. This is particularly important for female patients who MUST NOT become pregnant whilst on the medication and strict contraception is required.

How about changing my diet?

While it makes sense to have a healthy balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables, there is no dietary cure for acne. The only medical research with any evidence that diet affects acne suggested that people should avoid extremely high intakes of dairy and sugar products.

Patients who have severe acne have a medical disorder of the oil glands, which usually requires medical treatment. For these patients, diet will have little to no impact on their acne. Focusing too much on dietary changes can be dangerous, as it can delay treatment and lead to further scarring.

What does acne treatment cost?

You will need to book an appointment with the dermatologist to discuss acne treatment options. The out of pocket cost for your first visit is approximately $150 provided that you have a medicare card and a referral from your GP.

For international students the costs are usually the same, as international student private health insurance covers a similar amount to medicare.

If you require the prescribed isotretinoin, it is not an expensive drug, costing no more than a standard medical prescription. Correctly supervised treatment from a dermatologist is usually much cheaper than the financial and emotional cost of delayed treatment, over the counter creams and beauty salon visits.

How long does it take to see an acne specialist?

At Melbourne City Dermatology, we work hard to keep our waiting list short. It is likely that you will be seen within 1-2 weeks if you have severe acne. For particularly urgent cases, your GP can download an urgent referral form and request an early appointment if needed. To call and check what appointments are available, please ring our receptionists on 9939 8115.