Better acne treatments in sight

A face that is always sore, a dread of looking in the mirror and of photographs, feelings of being diseased and dirty, always purchasing products you hope will cure you, depression and anxiety.

The list goes on for Suzanne when she recalls what life was like for her between the ages of 18-35 years when she had severe acne. Acne which gave her sores and painful lumps under the skin.

“I couldn’t look people in the eye, I didn’t want people looking at me.

“I felt deformed. I thought people felt sorry for me and I was always apologising,” Suzanne recalls.

Improved treatments for people with acne could be one step closer after researchers from QIMR Berghofer made a genetic discovery linked to the common skin disorder.

Acne is the world’s most prevalent skin disease. It can cause irreversible scarring, and severe forms have been associated with mental health disorders and diminished performance at work and school.

“I had a bit of acne at high school, but it became severe soon after I finished school.

“For nearly twenty years of my life I had no confidence, I felt different, was always self-conscious and constantly anxious – at work, in the lead up to events, around the opposite sex. It was constant,” Suzanne said.

Suzanne is excited about the findings of the
genetic research study.

In the world’s largest genetic study of acne, QIMR Berghofer researcher Dr Miguel Renteria, who co-led the study with Professor Michael Simpson from King’s College London, uncovered 29 new genes that appear to increase a person’s risk of developing acne.

“This is a big leap forward in our understanding of the genetic basis and biological causes of acne, a condition that is estimated to affect more than 85 per cent of young people to some degree, with up to 8 per cent having severe disease.

“These findings open up some very exciting pathways for the development of new and much needed treatments for people with severe acne,” Dr Renteria said.

“It would be amazing if someone could come up with a cure for acne. It would be a miracle because it affects you in so many ways. I just wanted to be normal and I know there are so many other people going through the same situation I went through,” Suzanne said.


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