How To Treat Adult Acne.


With practices in Sydney, Melbourne and tri-annual residency in Paris, Melanie Grant specialises in skin.

Her clinical approach to skin health sees her tailor treatments which enhance an individual’s skin and treat complexion irregularities. This is done with state-of-the-art technology and therapeutic products and prescriptive skin regimes.

Melanieis renowned for her refined aesthetic which has made her a firm favourite with models and celebrities. A leading authority in her field, Grant is the preferred choice of several of Australia’s leading cosmetic doctors who view her skills as an essential complement to their own procedural work.

Here, she discusses the cause and treatments of adult acne and takes us through a client successful treatment through laser.

Q & A With Melanie Grant, Skin Expert


What is acne?

Acne is the result of bacteria infecting blocked hair follicles. Triggers, such as fluctuating hormone levels, can cause an increase in oil production by the sebaceous gland which is attached to the hair follicle. The excess oil clogs the shaft, creating a plug. The follicle then swells as more oil is produced beneath the plug and becomes inflamed and subsequently infected with bacteria. This results in acne.

What are its main causes?

Common causes include improper or infrequent cleansing of the skin, diet, hormones, stress, skin care products or genetic predisposition. I believe most cases of adult acne is caused by stress and hormone fluctuations.

Why do adults get acne? 

Some people have acne prone skin which continues into adulthood. Others may never have suffered from acne and can experience it for the first time in their 30s, 40s or even 50s. This is known as "adult onset acne” Causes can range from fluctuating hormone levels before or after a period; during pregnancy or menopause and when starting or stopping birth control pills. Stress can cause an acne flare up as our bodies can respond to stress by producing more androgens. These hormones can stimulate the oil and sweat glands, resulting in blemishes. Undiagnosed medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome can be a cause and you should  always seek advice from a doctor.

Skin care products can also be a cause -  I call this product acne, and I see it often. Using too many products, products that are too heavy, occlusive or rich for simply the wrong products for your specific skin type and condition.

Does diet play a roll in acne?

Absolutely. Gut inflammation can wreak havoc on our skin. Try avoiding inflammatory foods such as dairy, refined sugar, processed foods, alcohol and coffee. Keep a food diary to monitor your skins response to certain foods. Increase your intake of water, green leafy vegetables, oily fish, nuts, avocados and berries.


What are the different approaches you take to treating the condition?
A great home care regime is essential. I recommend incorporating ingredients such as salicylic acid to reduce inflammation and deep clean the pores. AHA’s such as lactic acid are great to slough away dead skin cells that may be clogging pores. Retinoids and light weight oil free moisturisers and sunscreens are also good for acne prone skin. As part of your regime, double cleansing in the evening, exfoliating at least three times per week and maintaining hydration is vital.

Clinical treatments and facials can also be a great support. The type of clinical treatment depends on the severity and cause of your acne. Everything from gentle AHA peels, salicylic peels, microdermabrasion, light therapy, ultrasound, laser and radio frequency can be effective in treating and managing acne.

Case Study: Laser For Adult Acne.

Clare Mc Coll suffered from bad acne for over ten years. 

Melanie treated Claire's acne with  treatments of high level Sublative (Fractionated RF) laser over a twelve month period. Here, Clare talks us through the procedure, down time and results.

Was the treatment painful?

It was quite painful but only as much as you’d expect for this type of treatment and certainly not unbearable. The first few passes are relatively straight forward and it’s only then when you start going over the same area or targeted areas it starts to get a bit uncomfortable. You really just need to focus on your breathing and try to relax and much as you can. Remember, it’s only 15 minutes and Melanie is chatting to you throughout the treatment which helps to take your mind the procedure. My tip: Try not to tense up!  

What was your down time?

 I was quite red and sore for the first few days but nothing beyond what I was told to expect. Prior to having my first treatment I had a lot of build up (congestion) and underlying toxicity which I never thought would subside because it had just been the way my skin was for many years.

During the first six days post treatment my skin was red, quite swollen in areas and very sensitive. This was the skin purging so all those toxins were coming up, I actually looked quite scary. Put it this way, I was house bound for the first few days. My second treatment was almost a year later and I didn’t have quite as much downtime as there was much less build up, we were more treating the residual scarring this time around so we focused on my cheeks and jawline. 


How did the results unfold and over how many weeks?

The process was fascinating and a huge learning exercise. It was proof there and then of just how fascinating our integumentary system is. After the redness had settled the top layers of my skin came away and the surface of my skin felt really rough and each time I cleansed a little bit more came away. It was pretty gross, but also extremely satisfying. It really took about 4-5 months to see the final result of the first treatment. Because your skin cells are constantly turning over it certainly made me understand the process my skin was going through to get it to a smoother and more even texture. 

Biggest changes in your skin?

I’ve experienced a dramatic reduction of congestion particularly around my jawline and cheeks which have been problem areas for me for quite some time. I’ve also seen improvement in texture and tone in these areas where there was once scarring from breakouts. Finally, my pore size has reduced a lot which has helped me maintain a healthy barrier function and stabilised excess oil flow to the surface of my skin. 


Has it changed how you look after you skin? 

Absolutely. I think when you start to see the results of the treatment it really motivates you to maintain your skin. I’m strict with my regime and use active ingredients on a daily basis. Using a combination of antioxidants, AHA’s and retinol have helped me maintain my skin, prevent any future breakouts and congestion but also help prevent free radical damage and prolong future ageing. 

Are you happy?

 Extremely happy! The sublative process has acted like a bit of a reset and It’s been a while since I’ve felt really in control of my skin. I’m now more confident and proud of the skin I have and in turn am wearing less make up and taking more preventative measures in order to keep my skin maintained and in it’s healthiest state. 

Sublative (Fractionated RF) Laser start at $1500 per treatment, fore more information head to


Melanie On Laser Treatment.


How is FRACTIONATED RADIO FREQUENCY used to treat acne?
I often treat both acne and acne scarring with fractionated radio frequency. It works in two ways. First by vaporising the build up of keratinised dead cells and cell debris. This helps to decongest the follicle.

The second is to cause thermal affects to the sebaceous glands to reduce and control excessive oil production. My favourite aspect of this treatment is its effectiveness in treating acne scarring and refinement of large pores. The energy from fractionated RF creates controlled, microscopic injuries that destroys the scar tissue. A subsequent rapid healing response is triggered that results in the destroyed, uneven scar tissue being replaced with fresh, healthy collagen and elastin producing cells. It takes around 12 weeks after your last treatment to see the final result.

Who is the best candidate for this kind of treatment?
This treatment is great for those wanting to treat acne scarring and mild congestion or acne. I always recommend finding and treating the cause of your acne before treating the symptoms. If your acne is sore, inflamed or infected you may need to take medication or antibiotics. For severe hormonal acne your doctor may recommend the pill or anti androgen medication.

What is involved per treatment?
The skin is thoroughly cleansed, degreased and sterilised. Next an applicator is passed over the skin, stopping for a few seconds each time for the electrode to deliver the energy deep into the skin. I generally deliver around 400 pulses to treat an entire face. This can take up to 45 minutes. Depending upon the intensity of the treatment pain factor ranges from warm sensation to significant discomfort. The skin is cooled immediately afterwards and a protective balm is applied.

Photography by Nicole Bently

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