Severe Acne

Acne is a skin disease which can cause severe psychological distress affecting one’s self-confidence and self-esteem. 85% of people suffer from acne at some stage in their life according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

The causes range from genetics, hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, stress, inappropriate use of moisturisers and makeup. There is nothing more rewarding than helping acne patients achieve healthy, beautiful, clear and glowing skin.

I often witness and marvel the transformation when my patients leave smiling exuding confidence after treatment.

Home care using effective medical grade products are as important as medical grade facials, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and even prescription medication.

Firstly, here are simple changes which you can implement which can make a significant difference.

Before & after treatment

Severe Acne Treatment - Before and 4 Months After Treatment

4 months into treatment with visible redness and flaking

Severe Acne Treatment Before and After 5 Months

After 5 months and completion of treatment

My top tips are as follows:

  • Skin hygiene is essential this means washing skin twice daily. I explain to my patients acne occurs because skin is oily. This needs to be washed off.
    The sebaceous (oil producing) gland goes into overdrive spilling this oil onto the surface of the skin. Oil is irritating, blocks and clogs pores causing white and blackheads. Washing twice daily removes this trigger and can automatically induce a 30% improvement. Remember this is step one on the road to treating this distressing disease.
  • Avoid inappropriate use of moisturisers . Think about it, if you have oily pimply skin due to excess oil building up in your pores causing congestion, why oh why would you make the situation worse by using moisturisers?
  • I always like to look in my female patients makeup bag and check their foundation. It amazes me how many present looking for advice and their normal regimen includes using oil based heavy makeup. It is my experience the worse the acne the more likely this is in an attempt to camouflage spots and pimples. Mineral makeup such as Glo Minerals luxe foundation is oil-free and talc- free therefore it is kind to your pores and ultimately your skin.
  • Never, never pick spots. This can spread the infection or worse still lead to scarring.
Acne Treatments Price
Initial Consultation Fee €90
Follow-Up Consultation Fee €65
Stimulator peel €100
Stimulator peel with mask €120
ZO Ossential Stimulator Peel
(No peeling, a course of 4 is recommended €300* special offer 1 free)
ZO Ossential Brightening Stimulator Peel
(No peeling, a course of 4 is recommended €360* special offer 1 free)
from €120
ZO 3-Step Stimulation Peel €200
Glycolic Acid Peel €65
Obagi Blue Peel Radiance €120
Dermapen Microneedling
(€199 per session or package of 3 for €500)
(€500 per treatment usually 2-3 recommended)

Treating Severe Acne and Achieving the Best Results

Here I have decided to share with you my approach to managing severe acne and the results which are possible.

My ideal regimen for severe acne employs multiple treatments in order to guarantee the best results. In this case we used oral Roaccutane for 5 months with ZO Medical Severe Acne Protocol developed by the infamous Dr. Zein Obagi. This multifaceted approach specifically targets acne by combining cleansing, exfoliation, increasing cell turnover and also reducing oil production.

Patients always ask me why they need to use topical creams while they are taking roaccutane. Let me address this by explaining that acne is a skin disease and while oral treatments can be extremely effective, by combining the two approaches we can achieve spectacular results. Skin looks healthier, smoother, rejuvenated and we can address superficial acne scarring and pigmentation or marking secondary to scars simultaneously.

Reversing the Ravages of Acne

So here is my prescription to reverse the ravages of acne and nurse acne prone skin back to health. Basic skin hygiene is the key to healthy skin. Washing skin reduces oil, stimulates cellular exfoliation and suppresses inflammation. The skin surface is delicate so it is important to select products which are not too harsh or abrasive.

Step 1 – Wash your face twice daily with a cleanser for 40-60 seconds to solubilise sebum and excess oil. Products containing salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid are ideal

Salicylic acid breaks down sebum or oil which is extremely irritating to the skin. Only tepid or cold water should be used as hot water is irritating and can exacerbate sebum or oil production.

Step 2 – An exfoliating mineral scrub once daily for 60 seconds removes dead keratinocytes (skin cells) and promotes new cell turnover revealing fresher skin underneath. ZO exfoliating polish used in this case cleans pores, smooths texture and again removes surface oils. Important, scrubs should be gentle so as not to cause scraping or irritation to the skin.
Active oil glands can produce oil throughout the day. Cebatrol oil control pads containing alpha hydroxy acid and mandelic acid removes excess oil and also minimises pore size.

Step 3 – Glycolic acid products accelerate cell activity and turnover to remove the “road blocks” caused by trapped oil. Pores start to look more refined and less visible.

Step 4 – ZO Daily Power Defence contains antioxidants, DNA Repair enzymes to aid in the restoration of the skin surface barrier. Antioxidants ( vitamins A,C,E, B, coenzyme Q-10 and stem cell) protect against sun damage and pollution which produce free radicals which damage skin.
Sun damage causes pigmentation, wrinkles and DNA repair enzymes reverse this trend.

Step 5 – Sun protection an everyday essential is not for just when the sun comes out but daily use. Come hail or shine trust me on the sunscreen! The use of Sun protection is particularly important in this case as topical retinoids ( vitamin A creams) and roaccutane are photosensitising meaning that skin is particularly vulnerable to sun exposure.

Step 6 – Vitamin A preparations minimise pores, blackheads, whiteheads, provides surface exfoliation and accelerates the efficacy of the regimen further.

In addition for individuals with severe acne or oily skin I recommend roaccutane.

Warning! Be warned..

Severe Acne - Reactions to Acne TreatmentThe appearance of your skin may worsen before it improves. I am not going to lie, you will experience redness, peeling, flaking, dryness and irritation for the first 6 weeks. Week 6-12 skin will start to develop a tolerance with less redness peeling and flaking. At 18 weeks the transformation is visible and the results keep getting better and better. The way I explain it the more the peeling the deeper the repair and the quicker you will witness results.

Testimonial from patient

“The results from this treatment were amazing. It took me a few weeks to get into the routine with doing the creams in the morning and evening, but after a while it took me no time at all. The first 8-10 weeks were the weeks where I saw the most flaking and dryness, but after about 12 weeks the peeling and redness had gone down significantly. This is when I really saw the effects of the treatment. Now a few months on from the treatment, my skin is perfectly clear and I often get people asking me how I got rid of my acne”

Dr Lisa Fay

Dr Lisa Fay is the founder of She has over 12 years of clinical experience and has been performing aesthetic treatments for over 9 years.

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First Floor, Slievemore Clinic, Old Dublin Rd, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin
Tel: 01 2000 500
Fax: 01 2101 564