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Suffering from acne? Here’s how you can treat it and beat it.

Posted 7 June 2021 in Men's Health, Womens health

A girl in a towel squeezing spotsThe topic of acne doesn’t come up in everyday conversations that often, but when you suffer from it, it can be all-consuming and may have a lasting psychological impact.

There are acne treatments out there.

There’s no need to carry on suffering in silence.

A study showed that 54% of UK adults who experienced acne feel it affected their self-confidence[1], and 34% didn’t know what effective treatments there are for it.

The thing about acne is that while there’s no cure, you can control it with topical treatments and/or oral medication.[2]

What causes it?

It can affect you at any point, but 95% of people develop acne aged 11 to 30.[3] Whether you’re going through puberty or you’re an adult, hormone levels may be the culprit.

Acne starts when glands produce more sebum (or oil) than normal. Pore linings then become thicker and dead skin cells aren’t shed properly, causing follicles to become blocked. With a build-up of oil and bacteria, your skin becomes inflamed forming blackheads, whiteheads and/or papules (small red bumps), pustules (pus-filled spots), nodules or cysts.

Women are more likely to develop acne during adulthood - linked to periods, pregnancy or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - but genetics may also play a part.[4]

What type of acne do you have?

The type of acne you suffer from will determine the best treatment for you. And remember, acne can show up on your back or chest as well as your face.

Comedonal acne – characterised by small, non-inflamed bumps.

Mild acne – you’ll notice mainly whiteheads and/or blackheads with a few papules and pastules.

Moderate acne – you’ll notice lots of blackheads and whiteheads with many papules and pustules.

Severe acne – is characterised by lots of painful papules, pustules, nodules or cysts that can lead to scarring. If you do have severe acne, we recommend getting advice from your GP as topical treatments may not be suitable.

What’s the best acne treatment?

Once you’ve determined the type of acne you have, you can pick from one of the following treatments:

  • Differin, a cream or gel with the active ingredient adapalene is a topical retinoid for comedonal acne. It works by bringing skin turnover under control and reducing inflammation.[5]
  • EpiDuo contains adapalene and benzoyl peroxide to reduce the number of bacteria in mild acne.
  • If you have lots of pustules, then Duac, a topical antibiotic, is the best treatment for inflammatory acne.
  • For moderate acne, there’s a combination treatment of EpiDuo and the oral antibiotic Lymecycline.
Buy your acne treatment FInd out more

Unfortunately, there’s no overnight cure with these treatments - some can take up to eight weeks to begin working, while some may make your acne appear worse before making it better.

The most important thing is to buy your treatments from a trusted supplier so you know that you’re using the most effective treatment for your type of acne and have someone you trust to ask questions.

Margaret, our lead pharmacist is on hand during opening hours to give you advice and support Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Find out more

[1] Acne Support. Over half of people who have ever had acne feel it has affected their self-confidence [cited 9/04/21]

[2 ] British Skin Foundation. What is Acne? [cited 09/04/21]

[3] NHS. Overview Acne [cited 09/04/21]

[4] NHS. Acne causes [cited 09/04/21]

[5] Differin. Acne: Get to know the enemy [cited 09/04/21]

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