top of page

The History of Acne

Believe it or not, those angry red bumps on your face have plagued people for centuries.

This dermatological problem has been debated and argued over for hundreds of years with no firm conclusion.

We take a look at the age-old problem of acne and attempt to trace its roots! Stay with us till the end to blast to the past.

What Is Acne?

If you’re reading this, you should be no stranger to this skin issue.

As one of the three most prevalent types of dermatological troubles globally, it’s attributed to these key characteristics:

● Cysts

● Papules

● Comedones

● Nodules

● Scarring

Even though it doesn’t claim lives, it can lead to facial scarring, disfigurement, and a plethora of psychological problems as a result. It usually manifests in people from 12 to 14 years old and may do so earlier in females.

However, it can also affect adults in their 20s to 40s, called adult acne.

When Was Acne First Discovered?

Although it wasn’t officially named, the diagnosis and treatment of acne, or acne vulgaris to be exact, has existed since ancient Greece and Egypt.

In fact, famous Greek physicians Hippocrates and Aristotle described acne as varus and ionthoi.

On the other hand, the Ebers Papyrus, an influential and important Egyptian medical papyrus of herbal knowledge, showed that the ancient Egyptians used the term akut that likely signifies the root word of acne.

The Modern Development of Acne

Ancient times aside, acne has experienced much development over the centuries.

In 1931, influential Swiss dermatologist Bruno Bloch conducted an examination of 4,000 boys and girls in Zurich, Switzerland. He determined that comedones, a type of acne, occurred so often in young people that it could be thought to be a physical indication of puberty.

Both Robert Willan and Thomas Bateman, pioneers in the field of dermatology, categorised acne into four different aspects in the 19th century:

  1. Simplex

  2. Punctate

  3. Indurate

  4. Rosacea

Where Did Acne Get Its Name?

The term acne vulgaris itself was first used centuries ago in 1840 by Fuchs.

Today, it’s one of the three most often diagnosed dermatological problems globally.

How Was Acne Treated in Ancient Times?

The Greeks preferred a different type of acne treatment from the Egyptians. They usually went for vegetable-based solutions while the latter opted for animal-based treatments.

Whichever it was, one particular type of treatment, honey, was common in both civilisations.

History of Acne Treatments

Greeks and Egyptians aside, acne treatments have evolved and developed throughout the centuries.

Even though the progress of acne treatment stayed at a standstill throughout the Middle Ages due to religious reasons,

All throughout history, a substantial amount of emphasis has been placed on a particular form of acne treatment, dietary avoidance.

When Wilhelm Roentgen learned that x-rays could be used in medicine from 1895, it was carried out to also treat this dermatological problem.

The first person to realise the usefulness of benzoyl peroxide as an acne treatment was Canadian dermatologist William E. Pace. Today, this substance remains a highly popular ingredient used in acne treatment products.

In the 19th century, it was uncovered that Vitamin A had therapeutic effects on acne.

During the first half of the 20th century, phototherapy became a sought-after treatment method for acne.

The Bottom Line

Who knew that a common skin problem had such a complex history?

No matter how it developed or what people perceived it as, one thing’s for sure - it still affects us even today. Acne is more than just a facial problem: it has the ability to affect our self-confidence and mental health.

Take action to reduce your acne woes and improve the condition of your skin when you buy our range of reliable anti-acne treatments!

91 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page