Acne 2 faces of a Girl

Acne Treatments

You can either select a prescription acne treatment that you’ve used successfully before or consult our flow chart for guidance.

Acne is a common skin condition that affects most people at some point. It’s characterised by spots, pustules or cysts that form on the skin. The spots usually develop on the face, back and chest and can be inflamed and painful.

Although acne cannot be cured, it can be controlled with treatment.

The severity of acne is often categorised as:

mild – mostly whiteheads and blackheads, with a few papules and pustules

moderate – more widespread whiteheads and blackheads, with many papules and pustules

severe – lots of large, painful papules, pustules, nodules or cysts; you might also have some scarring.

If your acne is moderate or severe you probably need prescription medicine. We can offer a range of creams/gels and antibiotics.

You can either order a prescription acne treatment that you’ve used successfully before or consult our flow chart below to determine the severity of your acne.

select a treatment or use our flow chart 

Which treatment is right for you?

Non inflammatory


  • Black heads or white heads only
  • No redness/inflammation
  • Mostly affecting t zones (forehead, nose and chin)

Topical retinoid Differin 0.1% (adapalene)



  • Blackheads and whiteheads with some redness or pustules (pus filled spots)
  • More than just t zone affected

Topical combination Epiduo if a few pustules


Topical antibiotic Duac if lots of pustules


  • Many spots that are inflamed with excessive redness and pustules (pus filled spots)
  • Most of the face affected

Topical combination Epiduo Gel + LymecyclineCombination treatment


  • Most of the face affected
  • Predominantly pustules
  • Cystic acne - large, deep, painful, pus filled spots
  • Evidence of scarring

Online treatment not suitable. Please speak to your GP as you will likely need a referral to Dermatology

Please see below for example photos of the various stages of acne

Acne Whiteheads
Acne Mild
Acne Moderate
Acne Severe

Important information regarding your acne treatment

Please note that most treatments are not suitable in pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Acne treatments take several weeks to work - only move to the next level of treatment if you see no results after 8 weeks.

Use treatment alongside a good but simple skincare routine. Good skincare products should not be expensive. A standard facial wash, exfoliator and light moisturiser should suffice.

If you are female and suspect your acne is hormonal (mostly around the jawline/cheeks and worse during menses) consider speaking to your GP about starting the oral contraceptive pill.

Skin redness, inflammation and sometimes skin peeling is common when starting topical treatments. Always test on your inner arm first for a few days, then use alternate days on affected areas on the face and gradually increase to daily as your skin tolerates it.

If there is no response to oral antibiotic treatment after 3 months we would suggest you see your GP for a face to face review.

Medically reviewed by
04 February 2022

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