Dying for Clear Skin

Dying for Clear Skin


On the surface this documentary is about how acne can damage self-esteem, but it’s really about the devastating effect one particular treatment may have: a drug called Roaccutane that dermatologists prescribe as a last resort because it can have severe side effects. The programme director, Derek Jones, believes his son killed himself after taking it but can’t prove it.

Radio 1 presenter Gemma Cairney investigates, meeting an acne-sufferer delighted with the drug, another who blames his depression and erectile dysfunction on it, doctors, the pharmaceutical company that makes it and a couple whose son hanged himself while taking it. She discovers nothing conclusive, which makes it all the more troubling.


Radio 1 presenter Gemma Cairney investigates the impact of acne on thousands of people in the UK and tells the story of Jesse Jones, who suffered from acute depression and was found dead in Dorset in 2011. It is believed that a commonly prescribed acne drug may have been to blame for his state of mind. Jesse's father Derek Jones joins Gemma to examine other treatments that are available, and the possible side effects they can cause.