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Acne - A view from our expert

Sakib Mohammed

Sakib Mohammed

MPharmS
Advance Pharmacist Prescriber

“Acne is a very common skin condition amongst all ages. Suffering from acne can be stressful, and it is not just the face that can be affected. Most people suffer from mild to moderate acne, which can be targeted by acne spot treatment. Severe acne, also called nodular acne or cystic acne, which can require antibiotic treatment.

There are many treatments available, ranging from over the counter to prescription medication. Many pharmacies sell acne medication online, but it is important to check if the pharmacy is UK registered. Skin acne treatment is available as oral antibiotics and topical medicines, which target bacteria that cause spots. They can be very effective if used correctly. However, acne is often not treated for long enough to see results; we recommend treatments should be used for at least three months for a noticeable difference.

Some people with mild acne may look for a home remedy for pimples or natural acne treatment. Some acne skin care tips that may help are to wash and shower if the skin becomes sweaty from exercise, avoid tight and restrictive clothing where acne is present, and use oil-free (non-comedogenic) products. Also, avoid picking spots and pimples as this can cause scarring.”

Acne information

What causes acne?

Acne is a condition where spots and pimples develop on the skin when the glands produce too much oil, known as sebum. When too much sebum is produced, it can mix with dead skin cells and block the skin’s pores and hair follicles. This can create blackheads and white heads (or pimples). In addition, if bacteria mix with the plugged hair follicles, this can result in papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. Acne occurs mainly on the face but can also be present on other parts of the body, such as the chest and back.

Acne can occur at any age. Changes in hormonal levels can cause spots, which is why acne is most common in teenagers. Most spots in teenagers will clear up by the time they reach their mid-twenties, but acne creams and spot treatment may help. Acne treatment for teens is extremely popular due to how common acne is within this age group but may differ from adult acne treatment.

 

Acne Medication and Treatments available

There are several types of acne medication. Treatment for acne will be dependent on the severity of acne. Some people think there are quick-fix treatments for acne removal, but this is not the case, and acne should be treated carefully following the full instructions of the medication. Most people will use face acne treatment products.

Mild acne treatment

Most people with mild acne will look for pimple treatment products. If acne symptoms are mild, they can be treated with over the counter (OTC) topical acne treatment. These treatments do not require a prescription and contain Benzoyl Peroxide, which works by preventing dead skin skills blocking the pores and hair follicles. There are numerous Benzoyl Peroxide spot treatment products- some of these are in the form of an acne gel.

Moderate to severe acne treatment

Moderate to severe acne treatment usually requires a prescription. Treatment can be in the form of acne creams. Some products may be suitable for cystic acne treatment:

Oral antibiotics for acne- oral antibiotics may be required to treat bacteria caused by acne. Oral antibiotics can be used alongside acne treatment gel.

Topical antibiotics for acne- topical antibiotics also work to treat the bacteria on the skin, and are available as solutions, gels and lotions. These are applied directly to the skin.

Topical retinoids for acne- topical retinoids are another skin acne treatment, such as Differin cream. These work by reducing the number of dead skin cells and the amount of sebum produced by the skin.

Below is a table of some popular acne treatments available at Click2Pharmacy. Acne prescription medication can be purchased through the online clinic.

Medication NameAknemycinDifferinAcnecideDuacZinerytSkinorenFinacea GelEpiduoTetralysalDoxycyline
Active Ingredients40 mg of erythromycin and 0.25 mg of tretinoinAdapalene 0.1% w/wBenzoyl Peroxide 5% w/w10 mg clindamycin phosphate

50 mg benzoyl peroxide
40 mg/ml erythromycin and 12 mg/ml zinc20% azelaic acid.15% azelaic acid.adapalene 3 mg benzoyl peroxide 25 mgLymecyclineDoxycycline
Key BenefitContains antibioticAnti-inflammatory properties1st step treatment
Kills 95% bacteria
Dual action – contains an antibioticCan be easily applied to large areasHas antimicrobial actionCan also treat acne and rosaceaCombination product with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activityFor wide spread or severe acne
12 week course
For wide spread acne
12 week course
Type of medicationSolutionCream
Gel
CreamGelSolutionCreamGelGelOral CapsulesOral Capsules
Dosages available40mg/0.25mg0.1%5%3%
5%
40mg/12mg20%15%0.3% / 2.5%
0.1% / 2.5%
300mg100mg
Do you need a prescription?YesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
When or how should it be usedApply to affected areas once or twice dailyApply to affected areas at nightApply thin layer once or twice dailyApply once a day in the eveningApply twice daily for 10 -12 weeksApply morning and night. Rub in gentlyApply morning and night. Rub in gentlyApply once in eveningOne capsule a dayOne capsule a day
Common side effects
Dry skin
Redness
Peeling
Burning sensation
Itching
Dry skin
Redness
Peeling
Burning sensation
Itching
Dry skin
Redness
Peeling
Burning sensation
Itching
Dry skin
Redness
Peeling
Burning sensation
Itching
Dry skin
Redness
Peeling
Burning sensation
Itching
Dry skin
Redness
Peeling
Burning sensation
Itching
Dry skin
Redness
Peeling
Burning sensation
Itching
Dry skin
Redness
Peeling
Burning sensation
Itching
Feeling sick
Abdominal Pain
Diarrhoea
Headaches
Rashes
Upset stomach
  

Do I need to see a doctor for my acne?

Acne can be self-diagnosed. You do not need to see a doctor to know you have acne. However, you may prefer to seek advice from a medical professional if you are unsure about your symptoms or if you have a severe form acne known as cystic acne. They may also help you decide which treatment works best for you.

Some acne treatments can be purchased over the counter (OTC). OTC treatments do not require a prescription. For treatments that require a prescription, you would usually see a doctor face to face as you cannot buy them in a store. However, at Click2Pharmacy, you can buy acne prescription medication online. You will need to fill out a consultation form first. This is an important step to check if you are suitable to take the medicine. Where appropriate, our prescribing pharmacist can then issue a prescription, and the medication will be delivered straight to your door.

Which is the best acne treatment at home?

Many acne treatments can be used at home, but the right one depends on the severity of the acne. These range from pimple treatment containing benzoyl peroxide, acne treatments with salicylic acid to antibiotics for hormonal acne.

Can I get acne rosacea treatment?

Rosacea was once called acne rosacea, but this term is no longer used as rosacea is NOT related to acne vulgaris. Rosacea is a type of skin rash that causes redness on the face, where mild papules can also form. Although rosacea and acne are different, some acne vulgaris treatment can be used to treat rosacea. Papule acne treatment containing azelaic acid works for rosacea- for example, Finacea gel (Azelaic Acid) 30g. Oral antibiotics containing lymecycline, such as Tetralysal® 300 mg capsules, can also be effective.

Are there antibiotics for cystic acne?

For some people, there is only antibacterial acne treatment for cystic acne; however, both topical and oral antibiotics can be used.

Can I get cystic acne treatment over the counter?

Over the counter (OTC) cystic acne products may not be effective enough if the acne is severe. Cystic acne treatment is usually available on prescription.

Can I buy butt acne clearing lotion?

Butt acne treatment does not differ from treatments for other parts of the body- suitable treatment is dependent on the type of spots and how severe they are. Zineryt Solution 30ml (Erythromycin) is an antibiotic treatment used for moderate acne.

Which scalp acne treatment works best?

Scalp acne is not as common as acne on the face, but it can still cause discomfort and problems. Topical antibiotic treatments and oral antibiotics can be used for scalp acne. Medicated shampoos are also an option- they work by washing away excess oil and preventing the build-up of dead skin.

Is cystic acne removal available in the UK?

Scarring caused by cystic acne can be removed using laser treatment, microdermabrasion, and chemical peeling. These procedures are not considered “acne removal treatment” since they are used for scarring caused by acne. Cystic acne cannot be removed by these methods.

What chest acne treatment can I use?

Benzoyl peroxide treatment can be used for mild chest acne. Moderate to severe acne will require retinoids and antibiotics. An acne solution such as Zineryt Solution 30ml can treat mild acne over a larger area.

Does back acne need to be treated differently?

No, back acne does not need to be treated any differently. Back acne remedies are dependent on acne symptoms and severity.

How do I treat chin acne?

Chin acne treatment does not require any special directions- you can use the same products for facial acne. Treatment will depend on the type of acne you have.

Which is the best forehead acne treatment?

The forehead can be prone to acne. One reason for this is that oil from the hairline is deposited onto the forehead, which can clog the pores. Benzoyl peroxide gel for acne is suitable for mild cases.

Is there acne treatment for sensitive skin?

Some acne treatments, like those containing Benzoyl peroxide, can irritate sensitive skin. It is best to try the lowest strength first and use the product a few times a week, gradually building up to daily use.

Is there hormonal acne medication?

Acne can be more prone in women due to hormonal imbalances. Contraceptive pills may be beneficial but can take up to a year before visible results are seen. Antibiotics for hormonal acne can still be used alongside contraceptive medication.

What about acne treatment for men?

Acne can affect men just as much as other groups of people. There are many products that men can use that provide acne relief. Some men have acne on their back as well as the face. Acne treatments with benzoyl peroxide can help target back acne.

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