P.acnes grow predominantly in sebaceous glands, which produce oil called sebum. Many acne treatments help clear acne by cleaning the skin and clearing away excess sebum to help reduce the growth of the bacteria.

Some other treatments such as antibiotics help to kill the bacteria, however these may have side effects and the bacteria can become resistant to them in the long term.

To help patients achieve better results, many skincare specialists now recommend reducing the amount of oil in the skin (a treatment known as sloughing) to create an environment which inhibits the growth of P. Acnes, combined with a treatment to kill the bacteria.

What causes spots or acne?

Hair follicle and sebaceous gland



P. acnes is a bacteria which normally lives on skin. Under certain circumstances, often associated with hormonal, lifestyle or diet changes the sebaceous gland will over produce a natural oil called sebum.

Step 1

Increasing sebum production

As sebum production increases the spot causing bacteria, P. acnes begin to grow and multiply more rapidly.

Step 2

 Blocked hair follicle

As this process continues hair follicles may become blocked. The increasing amount of sebum together with the P. acnes bacteria and dead skin cells, cause a plug to form.

Step 3

Spot inflammation and swelling

As the sebum and bacteria continue to grow, white blood cells move into the area and begin to fight the bacteria, this causes swelling or inflammation and a spot forms.

This process will continue until the white blood cells have managed to fight the P. acnes infection and the inflammation stops or until the pore is unblocked and the sebum levels are reduced.