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Acne vulgaris is a common and sometimes distressing skin condition. ‘Spots’ and deeper lumpy comodones tend to appear on areas including the cheeks, forehead and chin. Acne occurs at all ages but is more common in teenage years and early adulthood. The most commonly affected sites are:

  • Face
  • Upper Back
  • Upper Chest

Even though it is quite prevalent, acne can be a source of great distress to sufferers. Embarrassment regarding spots is common and sufferers sometimes avoid social events.

There are many commonly held beliefs regarding acne including that it is caused by foods like chocolate or not washing properly. However, acne is generally hormonal or genetic in origin. Teenagers are commonly affected with acne due to the large hormone increases that make them grow and mature. Older adults can also be affected if they are genetically predisposed.

Appropriate treatment depends on the degree of acne. This is difficult to define and best judged face to face or via clear photographs. Generally, acne that affects multiple areas incuding the face, chest and back is considered to be at least moderate in nature. 

Mild Acne

Creams such as benzyl peroxide and adalpene (if not contraindicated) are the first line treatments for mild acne and can be used together if required

Topical antibiotics are recommended in combination with benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide and Zineryt are considered safe in pregnancy 

Moderate Acne

If the topical treatments above do not settle symptoms, oral antibiotics should be considered. Lymecycline and doxycycline are the recommended treaments but erythromycin can be considered for acne in pregnancy or if allergic to these treatments

Depending on the degree of acne, oral antibiotics may be combined with topical creams

Severe/ non-responsive acne

If there is no significant improvement with trials of two oral antibiotics or if acne is severe, referral to a dermatologist should be considered 

Non medical treatment

Acne is not caused by poor hygiene. Washing twice a day with a gentle soap and fragrance-free cleanser is adequate. Over cleaning the skin can cause dryness

Picking/squeezing spots increases the risk of scarring and should be avoided

Maintain a healthy diet with a good balance of nutrition.

Further information is available from:

British Association of Dermatologists -- Acne

The treatments offered by PrivateDoc can make a significant difference to the condition. Results vary from person to person and we often find that different treatments work better for different people. Both topical treatments and oral antibiotics take time to work. Initial results are often judged at 8 weeks to assess the benefits of treatment.

With treatment, the condition can usually be much better controlled and easier to manage.