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How To Treat Acne


If you’re like others suffering the frustration and discomfort of acne, you know that breakouts often appear at the worst possible time. Studies show that this can negatively affect your confidence , both professionally and socially.

Perhaps you’re confused by conflicting advice about treating acne – Do DIY treatments work, what skincare products to use (or not use!), and will changing my diet really help?

And, you may be tired of spending hundreds of dollars on skincare products, acne supplements, and treatments that make big promises but often produce few results.

You’re not alone. We see many acne sufferers, and they tell us their similar frustrations with treating acne. But, there is an answer. And it begins by understanding that acne is not a cosmetic condition but rather a medical skin condition, that can be treated with a medical approach.

QR8 Mediskin is a doctor-prescribed and nurse-supported skincare service designed to address your specific acne challenges with evidence-based acne treatments that are simple to use (just a few minutes each day).

We help you:

  • Get a medical assessment of your skin – not all pimples are acne!
  • Understand what really causes acne (and what doesn’t!)
  • Manage current breakouts, and make future breakouts less frequent and severe
  • Get a simple-to use, at-home, evidence-based, acne treatment cream and use it with minimal burning, redness, peeling and purging
  • Treat dark or red spots left behind after pimples are gone (often at the same time as your blemishes are being treated)
  • Find simple and inexpensive skincare products that support your skin, without causing additional breakouts

Our online skincare team gets to know you and your skin (using a detailed questionnaire combined with a secure video consultation) and prescribes a science-backed treatment from a choice of 20+ evidence-based ingredients that are targeted and blended for your specific skin condition.

As part of your treatment you also receive comprehensive skincare recommendations and ongoing support from our dermatology nurse via SMS, phone, email, and or video call.

What Acne Is
(And Isn’t!)

Acne (technical name: Acne vulgaris) is a common inflammatory skin disease that affects more than 80% of teens. But it isn’t limited to teenagers – adult acne can strike at any time, especially in females, even if you didn’t have teenage acne.

Acne is not a cosmetic condition – it is a medical skin disease. More specifically, a disease of the skin’s ‘pilosebaceous units’ – the hair follicle (that exits at the skin surface via a pore) and associated sebaceous gland that produces oil. Because it’s a medical condition, it is rarely fixed with complicated (and expensive!) skincare routines or cosmetic products and treatments. You need a targeted prescription acne treatment to manage it effectively.

There is no such thing as mild acne – all acne, even if it’s a single pimple or blocked pore, can and should be treated, especially if it makes you feel self-conscious or anxious. Acne and the dark marks it leaves behind (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, PIH) can make it difficult to attend school and work, socialise with friends, and generally enjoy life. And the best treatment for acne scars is to treat your acne effectively to prevent scar formation.

What Does
Acne Look Like?

There’s no simple answer because acne lesions can be anything from clogged pores (also called comedones, which can be open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads), papules (small red bumps on the skin) and pustules (like papules but filled with pus) to very large, painful, inflamed and swollen nodules and cysts (the dreaded ‘blind pimples’) – and sometimes all of these together! Redness, hyperpigmentation, scarring and pain are also common.

Read Dr Michele’s advice for dealing with the occasional blind pimple (cystic acne treatment), and the best acne spot treatments in Marie Claire Australia HERE

What Causes Acne?

It all starts with a clogged pore. Acne sufferers produce excess oil (‘sebum’) and the skin cells lining their pores don’t shed properly, instead collecting in the pore. The sticky skin cells and oil mix together in the pore, creating a microscopic blockage called a microcomedone.

Acne bacteria (Cutibacterium acnes, which used to be called Propionibacterium acnes) feed on sebum, gathering in large numbers around this oily plug, signalling the body to start producing chemicals that ramp up inflammation.

The inflamed plug gradually enlarges to form a visible comedone.

Eventually the pore bursts and bacteria and oil leak into the surrounding tissue, creating even more inflammation, and causing other acne lesions like papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.

1 normal Image
2 clogged pore Image
clogged pore
3 inflamation Image
4 pore bursts Image
pore bursts

Which Hormones Cause Acne?

Excess sebum production (‘seborrhoea’) is driven by hormones. The hormones involved are called ‘androgens’, and include dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and testosterone.

Both males and females produce androgens, either in their adrenal glands, testes or ovaries or converted from precursor chemicals in the skin, hair follicles, sweat glands and sebaceous glands. Circulating androgens bind to receptors on oil glands and stimulate them to produce excess sebum, creating the perfect conditions for acne formation.

Teenage acne is common due to the natural increase in androgen hormones during puberty, but adult acne is more common than you think – it can flare during menstruation (it’s thought that this is because less oestrogen is available to suppress androgens), and pregnancy. So adult acne treatments are also important.

Because of its hormonal basis, dermatology treatments for acne can include anti-androgen drugs such as oral contraceptives, spironolactone and cyproterone acetate (Androcur). Vitamin A can also reduce sebaceous gland activity.

Don’t Forget Chest And Back
Acne (‘Backne’)

Acne doesn’t just affect your face – it can appear on your chest and back
(and sometimes your upper arms) as these areas have loads
of sebaceous glands.

What Doesn’t Cause Acne?

Acne isn’t caused by a lack of hygiene or ‘dirty’ skin – so no amount of cleansing, scrubbing or exfoliating will get rid of it. In fact, this can inflame skin and make everything worse! Acne is simply a medical condition, that needs a medical solution.

Read more about some common acne myths HERE.

Can I Fix My Acne With Diet?

There is still no conclusive scientific evidence to suggest that diet causes acne. High-glycaemic foods and dairy can trigger breakouts for some (but not all!) people who are already predisposed to acne. Read more about skin health & acne HERE. If you’re going to seek advice about diet and acne, make sure it’s evidence-based advice from an Accredited Practicing Dietitian.

And ignore advice from ‘experts’ on social media trying to sell you supplements – they don’t work!

Remember that you just have a medical skin condition that can be managed with simple medical treatment – you’re not doing anything wrong!

What is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)?

PIH is a reaction to injury or inflammation that causes the skin to produce increased melanin pigment. It is more common in those with deeper skin tones. The most common cause of PIH is pimples, but it also can result from inflammatory skin conditions, burns, a reaction to skincare products, medications, or treatments, or any skin injury (like picking at zits!).

PIH appears as dark spots/patches in the same area as the healed injury. These marks can take several months or years to resolve – up to 5 years in some cases. PIH can get darker and persist in the skin for longer when exposed to sunlight (so don’t forget your sunscreen!).

Our doctors can customize a treatment cream to fade PIH at the same time you are treating your acne breakouts. You can discuss this during your 1:1 video consult with our experienced doctors


There are loads of over-the-counter acne cleansers and acne treatment skincare aimed at unclogging pores (salicylic acid, glycolic acid) and killing bacteria (benzoyl peroxide, which also has a pore unclogging effect). These often don’t fully clear breakouts. This is because they don’t target all the factors that cause acne – oil, sticky skin cells, bacteria and inflammation.

That’s where Qr8 MediSkin comes in! Our doctors can customise the best acne treatment product for you – one that targets all the acne-causing pathways to help you manage acne (and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation at the same time). Without the need to visit an acne dermatologist, or wait in line at the pharmacy.

But we don’t just give you access to the best customised acne skin treatments. We are the Australia’s go-to servise for support so you can use your acne product safety and effectively to get results:

Why We Don’t Use Antibiotics In Our Skin Treatments

Although antibiotics can be successfully used in acne treatment creams, common anti-acne antibiotics like clindamycin and erythromycin result in high rates of antibiotic resistance in acne bacteria (without also using something like benzoyl peroxide for example). Antibiotic-resistant acne bacteria can also persist on your skin long after you finish using the antibiotic cream. And having antibiotic-resistant bacteria on your face means your acne treatment can be less effective. The resistant bacteria can also be transferred to close contacts!

Instead of topical antibiotics, our doctors use prescription-strength azelaic acid (15%-20%) if required to kill acne bacteria. Azelaic acid isn’t an antibiotic (so resistance has not been reported) but research shows that 20% Azelaic acid applied twice daily for 12 weeks is comparable to 1% topical clindamycin + benzoyl peroxide in reducing acne lesions. And it’s good news if you’re pregnant – Azelaic acid is a pregnancy class B drug (no evidence of risk in studies).⁠

Sometimes, our doctors may recommend a very short course of oral antibiotics in combination with a topical retinoid. Our doctors choose antibiotics known to result in the lowest rate of antibiotic resistance in acne patients, and they will only be used if absolutely necessary.


Comedogenicity (the potential of a formulation clog pores and cause blackheads/comedones) is an unreliable science. The method used to test a product’s comedogenicity rating (on a scale from 0-5, with 5 being most likely to block pores and therefore cause acne) involves test subjects placing the product on their back skin for 48-72 hours, multiple times over 4 weeks.

A skincare product label might be labelled as ‘non-comedogenic’ but this is nothing more than marketing jargon. Here’s why…

  1. Back skin isn’t the same as facial skin, so something can be comedogenic in the test, but not cause any issues on facial skin.
  2. An ingredient can be comedogenic when used in a high concentration in tests, but when used in a lower percentage in a cosmetic product, is not comedogenic.
  3. The term ‘comedogenic’ and the comedogenicity rating scale is not regulated by any governing body, so it can mean anything, and is therefore meaningless!

The good news is that you don’t need to worry! When you are using the best medical treatment for your acne, it will override any potentially comedogenic ingredients in your skincare. Our Skincare Support Team can help you choose the best skincare for acne to ensure your skin stays comfortable whilst you use your acne treatment cream.

Read more about comedogenic skincare and other beauty marketing jargon HERE.

Listen as one of our clients discusses how our service works (and the best skin treatment for acne) HERE

Do I need to spend a lot of money on skincare to support my acne product?

Click HERE to read what our founder, Dr Michele Squire, told Mamamia Australia about expensive skincare (all our patients receive personalized 1:1 advice from our Skincare Support Team about inexpensive skincare products to support their acne treatment product.

It’s part of our all-inclusive cost – read more in our FAQ.

Retinoids and Acne

We discussed this with dermatologist, Dr Natalia Spierings in our Instagram Live Skin Sessions Series.

Click HERE to watch.

Acne Medications And Purging

Purging is one of the possible initial side effects of prescription retinoid use, especially if you had a lot of comedones (bumps under the skin) to start with. What you will also have, but can’t see, are ‘microcomedones’ – pores that were already blocked, but invisible to the eye.

Retinoids speed up the shedding of skin cells to regulate the sticky skin cells that block your pores and lead to pimples. Unfortunately, in the initial stages of treatment, at the same time as treating your acne, you are also temporarily blocking pores with extra skin cells, pushing existing comedones to the surface, and causing microcomedones to turn into ‘actual’ comedones.

So the pimples that might have surfaced over the next few months can all appear at once!

If you are one of the unlucky few that this happens to, it is definitely NOT fun. If you already suffer from acne, it will feel like your treatment is making things worse, not better.

The good news is, that as you continue to use your retinoid and these blockages are pushed to the surface and clear, you can expect fewer new breakouts. The other good news is that purging gets a lot more air time on social media than it occurs in real life, so it may not even happen for you!

Our service includes a range of written guides, based on the most up-to-date scientific evidence, to help you manage side effects like acne purging. You also receive full access to 1:1 personalized support from our experienced Skincare Support Team. This is included in the one-off, all-inclusive cost of your treatment.

Your Customised Prescription Acne Treatment Medication

Our treatments include a combination of acne-busting ingredients designed just for you:

Prescription Retinoids
Aza Acid
Kojic Acid

* We even have pregnancy-safe options to tackle pregnancy breakouts!

Get Your Personalised Acne Treatment In Four Simple Steps


Questionnaire & Photos

Tell us about yourself and the challenges you’re having with your skin. Click here to get started.


Online Consult

Schedule a Video Consultation with one of our Trained Doctors who will diagnose your skin and prescribe a medical treatment cream specifically for you.


Receive Treatment

Your very own custom treatment will be delivered within days via Medical Express Shipping.


Expert Support

Schedule a Video Consultation with our nurse to receive your personal skincare recommendations, then get ongoing support via SMS, phone, email, or video call during your 3-month treatment cycle.

Does QR8 actually treat acne?
See our life-changing results

Thousands of customers are thrilled to finally discover skincare that works. Some even say using QR8 Mediskin has eliminated the need for expensive salon treatments, uncomfortable laser therapies, and invasive injectables and surgery. Here are some of the untouched before-and-after images we’ve received from our incredible community.

#Acne #Skin Barrier
#Acne #Pigmentation
#Acne #Pigmentation
#Acne #Melasma

Your Biggest
Questions Answered

What skin conditions can QR8 treat?

We have customisable medical solutions for:

  • Skin ageing concerns (lines & wrinkles, sagging skin, pigmentation)
  • Sun damage
  • Acne
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
  • Melasma
  • Texture, congestion, enlarged pores
  • Rosacea
  • Perioral Dermatitis

Our doctors only prescribe skin treatments where it is safe and appropriate to do so. You may be advised during your consult that it is in your best interests to see a dermatologist or other medical professional in person.

How much does it cost?

Our 3-month service is supportive, all-inclusive,  and convenient – no more trips to the pharmacy or GP, no waiting in line, no unexpected costs, and no more wasted money on skincare products that don’t work. Just effective, evidence-based results with minimal wait time.

The one-off cost of $220 / 3 months includes:

  • A review of your questionnaire and photos by your doctor prior to your video consult
  • A 1:1 video consult to design your treatment plan with an experienced doctor
  • 50g treatment cream with a customised blend of prescription-only active ingredients sufficient for 3 months of daily application. Our ingredients are the gold-standard for treating skin concerns like acne, sun damage, pigmentation, melasma, rosacea, lines & wrinkles, sun damage, and perioral dermatitis. The concentration and inclusion of active ingredients will be customised to suit your specific skin requirements and allergies/intolerences. We can generally treat multiple concerns in a single cream but sometimes you may require more than 1 cream to address your concerns. Your doctor will discuss this with you, and provide treatment options to fit with your goals and budget. The cost for 2 creams purchased in a single transaction is $380 (discounted from $440).
  • Detailed instructions
  • Australia Post Medical Express delivery to your door within 5 working days following payment
  • Unlimited SMS, email and phone support by our expert support team for 3 months
  • A video skincare routine consult with our dermatology nurse to assess your current skincare products to ensure they are safe to use with medical treatment creams, including personalised product recommendations if required
  • Access to our patient library
  • Monthly virtual masterclasses
  • Discounts, gifts and giveaways exclusive to our MediSkin patients

PLEASE NOTE: There is no government Medicare or private health telehealth rebate currently available for our service. You may be able to claim the drug component of the service on your private health (and we can provide a receipt for this upon request.

Can I claim it on private health insurance?

Yes, you may be able to claim the prescription cream component of your treatment using Extras cover on your private health insurance.

The rebate amount will differ depending on your fund and level of cover, but we’re happy to provide you with a pharmacy receipt that you can present to your insurer to help you claim your rebate.

Unfortunately, neither Medicare nor private health insurers currently offer rebates for the telehealth or support components of our service. However, we believe that our support services are an essential part of your treatment plan and we’re committed to providing you with the best possible care and attention.

How long does it take to arrive?

We’re so excited to help you achieve your skincare goals with our personalised treatment! Our team is dedicated to processing your order quickly, so you can start seeing the benefits as soon as possible.

Once our Qr8 admin team receive your payment, we’ll process your order within 24 working hours and confirm with you via text message. Then the pharmacy will work hard to compound your treatment promptly. Please allow 2-5 working days for your treatment to be compounded and shipped.

For your peace of mind, please note that orders cannot be safe dropped and will require a signature on delivery. If you’re not available to sign for your order, it will be taken to the closest post office for collection. If the order is not collected within 5 working days, it will be returned to the pharmacy.

Your order will be shipped directly from the pharmacy to the address you provided on your form, so please ensure this is up-to-date. If your address changes, or you have a special request for your delivery, please let us know so we can update your details and ensure a seamless delivery.

Do I have to subscribe?

We want you to feel completely in control of your treatment, which is why we’re not a subscription service. You’ll never have to worry about us taking money from your account without your permission.

Instead, you’ll be the one in charge of your payments. Every three months, we will remind you to book with your doctor for a progress and treatment review, and you can decide when the pharmacy dispenses your treatment.

Then we’ll take care of all the logistics for you, so you can focus on what matters most – getting the results you want.

How do I pay?

After your video consult, your doctor will send you an email confirming your recommended treatment plan and cost. We want to make sure you have all the details you need to make an informed decision about your treatment.

If you are ready to move forward, simply log into your profile using the link in the email, and pay the invoice. We process all orders within 24 working hours of payment being cleared into our account.

To make the payment process as easy as possible, we accept online payments via Visa and Mastercard, and we also offer Afterpay. You can also pay by direct debit. The choice is yours!

If you have any questions or concerns about payment or the treatment process, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team HERE, or phone us on (07) 3325-9700 M-F, during QLD business hours.

Meet our Founder

Dr Michele Squire

PhD, BSc (Hons), BBus

Dr Michele Squire, PhD scientist and former healthcare executive and Registered Nurse, recognised the crucial synergy between medicine, science and skincare in treating chronic skin concerns. In 2019, she established Qr8 (pronounced ‘curate’), a ground-breaking venture aimed at offering video telehealth-delivered medical consultations and uncomplicated skincare guidance rooted in scientific evidence. By promoting evidence-based medicine and combining it with the kind of expert support known to significantly improve treatment outcomes for patients, Qr8 empowers patients to make informed decisions about their skin and get results.

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Meet our Clinical Team

Dr Kristina Jonaityte

Vrac, FRACGP AHPRA Registration Number:MED0001907048

Dr Kristina has a keen interest in skincare and skin health. Helping her patients achieve their best skin and improve their self-confidence is the part of her practice she enjoys most.⁠ She believes beautiful skin needs commitment, not a miracle, combined with a knowledgeable support team to help patients reach their best skin health!

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Dr Yeshika Naidoo

MBBS, FRACGP AHPRA Registration Number:MED0000962959

Dr Yeshika focusses on what the patient is trying to achieve and adapts their treatment according to their individual lifestyles. She loves to see long-term and returning patients who are happy with their results, and she finds this to be the most rewarding part of her practice.

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Dr Sarah Newby

MD AHPRA Registration Number:MED0002066429

Dr Sarah has a warm and empathetic approach to her practice and listens deeply to ensure that she can work with patients to get to the root of the problem and arrive at an effective solution together. She finds being trusted with her patient’s stories and seeing how simple changes can make a world of difference to be the most rewarding part of her practice.

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Dr Jeremy Chou

MChD, FRACGP AHPRA Registration Number:MED0002066673

Dr Jeremy is holistic, thorough, and willing to take the necessary time and care to ensure his patients are empowered to take charge of their health. He specifically enjoys seeing patients enjoy positive results and become empowered to make better decisions for their skin and wellbeing.

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Dr Kathy Robinson

MBBS, MSc (Pharmacy), MForensMed, FACLM AHPRA Registration Number:MED0001399354

Dr Kathy combines science and evidence-based practice with a warm and compassionate approach to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients. She enjoys seeing the holistic benefits for patients that come with achieving great skin health and providing patients with the knowledge and tools to empower them to maintain great skin for life.

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Dr Maeve Anna

MBChB, BSc Med Sci (Hons), MSc (Aesthetic Med) AHPRA Registration Number:MED0001841436

Dr Maeve Anna approaches her patient’s skin concerns with warmth and empathy. Her personal journey with skin became the driving force behind her Master’s Degree Thesis which focused specifically on the science of skincare in Acne, her area of particular interest. Dr Maeve gains significant fulfilment from contributing to the positive transformation of her patients’ self-esteem throughout their treatment.

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Dr Danielle ten Brink

MD BMedSci AHPRA Registration Number:MED0002308228

I enjoy truly listening to a patient’s concerns and creating a relaxing environment where they feel heard and valued. My kind & approachable nature allows me to build strong relationships and trust, while my eagerness to help and offer support ensures each patient receives personalized and compassionate care tailored to their needs.

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Dr Maanasa Bandla

BMedScMD BBiomedSc AHPRA Registration Number:M900128682

Dr Maanasa enjoys being able to support patients on their clinical journey and build meaningful theraputic relationships with them. She is personable, friendly and approachable, and provides a judgment-free zone for patient interaction and support.

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Nurse Natasha Bruyn

EN AHPRA Registration Number:NMW0002618266

Nurse Natasha works closely with Nurse Kristen to help patients receive the highest calibre of support possible. If you have questions, she is your go-to alongside Nurse Kristen!

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Nurse Kristen Meiklejohn

EEN AHPRA Registration Number:NMW0001612708

Kristen is an integral part of our Qr8 MediSkin Skincare Support Team. If you have questions, need skincare product recommendations, or help setting up a simple but personalised skincare routine to support your prescription treatment, Kristen is your skincare guardian angel.⁠⁠

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Pharmacist Matthew Belgrove

BPharm AHPRA Registration Number:PHA0000982524

I have been a pharmacist for 14 years, owned and worked in a variety of Pharmacies including NCC for the last 10 years. When not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife, 4 kids & dog and also swim, bike and running. I find compounding pharmacy a rewarding profession because of NCC’s ability to customise medicine for any type of patient. I often find ourselves solving challenges which standard medicine couldn’t and the gratitude from Patients is very humbling.

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Your Customised Acne Treatment

Is Only A Few Clicks Away

You’ve heard the science that enables QR8 Mediskin to work so well. You’ve seen the difference in real customers. Isn’t it time to try QR8 Mediskin for yourself? Click the button below to get started.