Acne
Acne is a skin condition that is very common and can affect people of all ages. It is linked to hormone changes, making it particularly common in teenagers and pregnant women. While it is a common condition, it can be very embarrassing and lead to people feeling very insecure about how they look. Fortunately, there are many acne treatments available to treat the internal problem and the physical symptoms, such as spots and redness of the skin. Treatment for acne can be bought at Medicine Direct's online pharmacy following a consultation with an online doctor. Browse our medicines below.

Acne

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  1. Duac Gel Acne medication - Medicine Direct UK Online Pharmacy
    Duac Gel
    From As low as £21.99
    • Treats mild to moderate acne
    • Visible improvements between 2 and 4 weeks
    • Kills the bacteria responsible for spreading acne
  2. Zineryt Lotion
    Zineryt Lotion
    • Helps to reduce the appearance of Acne
    • Reduces the appearance of Whiteheads
    • Reduces the appearance of Blackheads
  3. Lymecycline
    Lymecycline
    From As low as £19.99
    • Effective in the treatment of Acne
    • Reduces redness and inflammation of the skin
    • Prevents skin pores from clogging
  4. Acnecide Gel
    Acnecide Gel
    From As low as £9.99
    • Attacks "Propionibacterium acnes", which is one of the main causes of acne
    • Improves the appearance of Acne on the Face
    • Reduces the appearance of redness and irritation
  5. Tetralysal
    Tetralysal
    From As low as £24.99
    • Commonly used to treat acne
    • Very effectively reduces redness and skin inflammation
    • One of the most effective Acne treatments
  6. Treclin Gel
    Treclin Gel
    From As low as £29.99
    • Applied as a topical gel
    • Used to treat mild - moderate acne
    • Prevents the growth of acne causing bacteria on the skin
  7. Epiduo Gel
    Epiduo Gel
    From As low as £29.99
    • Treats moderate to severe acne
    • Will get to work after the first application
    • Fights against acne causing bacteria
  8. Isotrexin Gel
    Isotrexin Gel
    • Contains Isotretinoin
    • One of the most effective Acne treatments
    • Used to treat moderate-severe acne
  9. Clearasil Rapid Action Cream
    Clearasil Rapid Action Cream
    From As low as £6.89
    • Visibly reduces redness and blemishes
    • Works within just 4 hours
    • Gently exfoliates the top layer of skin
  10. Oxytetracycline
    Oxytetracycline
    From As low as £45.99
    • Most commonly prescribed for treating acne
    • Fights against spots and pimples
    • Very effective in reducing redness and inflammation of the skin
  11. Minocycline
    Minocycline
    From As low as £28.99
    • Fights against acne causing bacteria
    • Works within 6 - 8 weeks
    • Visibly reduces ance, redness and inflammation
  12. Differin Gel
    Differin Gel
    From As low as £28.99
    • Reduces the appearance of spots
    • Reduces redness and imflammation
    • Removes blackheads
  13. Differin Cream
    Differin Cream
    From As low as £28.99
    • Prescribed for the treatment of acne
    • Reduces redness and irritation of the skin
    • Visibly reduces the symptoms caused by acne
  14. Minocin
    Minocin
    From As low as £34.99
    • Reduces inflammation and redness of the skin
    • Helps to heal the area surrounding the spots
    • Improves the appearance of Ance
  15. Zindaclin 1% Gel
    Zindaclin 1% Gel
    From As low as £24.99
    • Treats Acne breakouts
    • Kills bacteria on the skin
    • Prevents pores form blocking

What is Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition which causes oily skin, spots or hot and painful areas of skin. It can affect people of all ages, and many people experience acne during their life. However, as it is linked to changes in hormones, teenagers and pregnant women are the most vulnerable to acne.

You can experience acne in varying degrees. Some people are fortunate to only have mild acne which comes up as the occasional few pimples. Unfortunately, some people can experience severe acne which can produce cysts and a flare up of spots.

Acne can be very embarrassing for many people, making them feel depressed and unhappy about their appearance. However, there is a wide range of treatment out there to treat both the internal causes of acne and the physical manifestations, such as pimples and redness to the skin. After an online consultation with a certified doctor, you can order acne treatments from our online pharmacy with a valid prescription. If you order by 2pm, we can offer you free next day delivery.

Acne Symptoms

Most people who suffer from acne will have it on their face; more than half of the people affected by acne will also get it on their back, with around 15% getting it on their chest.

There are six different types of spots which are caused by acne. If you suffer from acne, you may have any of the following:

  • Blackheads – plugged pores which are dark or black in colour
  • Whiteheads – plugged pores which are closed and yellow or white in colour
  • Papules – small red bumps which can feel sore or tender
  • Pustules – large lumps that grow beneath the surface of the skin and can be sore
  • Cysts – these carry the biggest risk of scarring; cysts are large pus-filled lumps that look like boils

Nodules – hard lumps that build up beneath the skin's surface; these can be painful.

What Causes Acne?

Acne is caused by a combination of biological processes on the skin. Usually, it begins with a change in hormone levels. For this reason it is very common for those who are pregnant, or going through puberty or menopause, to suffer from acne.

As hormones increase during these cycles, it disrupts the balance. Some hormones are responsible for increasing the oil production. An increase in oil, or sebum, on the skin causes acne in two ways.

Firstly, sebum blocks hair follicles, causing whiteheads or blackheads. Secondly, the increase in sebum irritates a usually harmless bacterium which lives on the skin, P.acnes.

P.acnes is the bacteria which creates pus and infection. Contamination may then occur, which causes papules, pustules, nodules or cysts. Contaminated spots are also the beginning of more moderate or severe acne.

If you do suffer with acne, there are some triggers which can cause it to worsen. These include:

  • Cosmetic products such as makeup
  • Medications – steroids, anti-depressants or some anti-epileptic treatments
  • Wearing clothes which press on the problem areas such as head bands, caps or backpacks
  • Smoking

Acne Diagnosis

If you are worried you have developed acne, you can visit your doctor. A GP will be able to confirm whether it is mild, moderate or severe acne by looking at your skin. They will take a look at all areas affected by the spots.

Your doctor may count the number of whiteheads, blackheads or sore nodules on your skin to assess the severity of your acne.

If you think your acne is mild, a pharmacist will be able to offer advice on products and treatments to help get rid of acne. If your doctor believes you have severe acne, they may put you on a course of antibiotics and/or topical cream, or refer you to a specialist.

Acne Treatment

If your acne does not respond well to the use of over the counter products, it is recommended you that visit a dermatologist or GP. Topical retinoid creams such as Epiduo gel, Treclin gel and Isotrexin gel are common examples of prescription medication.

Retinol is derived from vitamin A, which works by breaking down the top layer of your skin and removing dead skin cells. By removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin it helps to reduce the risk of pores becoming clogged. By breaking down skin cells, it encourages the cell turnover cycle. An increase in cell turnover evens the skin and can remove redness.

Usually, retinoid treatments are introduced to your routine slowly. You may begin using a retinoid cleanser in the evening 3 times a week and build up to using it daily.

Antibiotics are also prescribed to treat acne. Common branded examples are Oxytetracycline, Minocycline, Tetralysal and Minocin. Anti-acne antibiotics kill excess skin bacteria and reduce redness. Antibiotic treatment is often paired with a benzoyl peroxide product so that the bacteria doesn’t become resistant to the medication.

Another acne treatment is azelaic acid, which is often used as an alternative treatment to benzoyl peroxide or retinoid cream if they have not worked. Azelaic acid works by killing bacteria and eliminating dead skin cells that can plug hair follicles, just like benzoyl peroxide products. Azelaic acid products are available to purchase from a pharmacy with a prescription.

I am using a topical acne application but it doesn’t seem to stop new spots from appearing. Why is it not working?


When using a topical application to treat acne, you must make sure that you are treating the whole area where the problem occurs, not just on the spots themselves. It is also important to give an acne treatment time to work; it can take around four months for these treatments to be completely effective, so you might not notice an immediate improvement in your condition, particularly within the first month of using it.

A topical application is preventative, as it stops lesions from developing rather than treating the spots you already have on your skin. For the best results, you must treat the whole area, not just on the individual spots.

What else can I do other than use medicines to improve my acne?


Unfortunately, you cannot cure acne. However, you can relieve redness and reduce spots and scarring. Some acne treatments that you can try at home are:

  • Washing your hair regularly and trying to keep hair from off your face. This reduces oil transferring across your face or back.
  • Washing the area affected with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water to reduce irritation. It is advised to not wash your face any more than twice a day as this may worsen your skin.
  • Remove all makeup or oil products such as sun cream before going to bed
  • Try and exercise more, as this is proven to improve your mood
  • Use fragrance-free and water-based products where possible on effected areas

Do not pick or pop acne spots as this can spread infection and cause scarring

Can acne scars ever be removed?


Once you have cleared the spots and infection from the skin, you can be left with pockmarks or blemishes across your face. Many people can become self-conscious of acne scarring and it may cause low mood. Fortunately, there are now numerous treatments you can undergo to reduce the appearance of acne scars and uneven texture. For instance, dermal fillers have started to be used to fill deep pockmarks on the skin. However, fillers are temporary, and so will need to be repeated around twice a year to maintain results. Microdermabrasion has become a popular option for those suffering with acne scars.

The specialist treatment involves using tiny crystal jets to power exfoliate the skin. It is effective at reducing red scar marks across the face. Again, this may take a few sessions to clear the skin. If you are worried about indented scars, microneedling treatments may help to reduce their appearance. The process involves using a pulse of energy and heat, with microneedles which penetrate the skin and break down difficult scar tissue. This remodels collagen and can significantly reduce deep pockmarks in the skin.

I wash my face religiously but my acne is not getting any better. Why?


While it is important to keep your skin clean, acne is not caused by dirt. Over-washing your face will strip the natural oils from your skin, which causes it to dry out. This will make your skin overcompensate and produce more oil than usual, which will lead to clogged pores and acne. Washing your face too much can also irritate your skin, causing redness. You should not wash your face more than twice a day. For best results, use a mild soap or cleanser once a day and only wash your face with warm, not hot, water.

I have just been on holiday and my acne got better. Shall I start using a sunbed to improve my acne?


It is a myth that the sun can help to clear up acne. In fact, ultraviolet rays can increase inflammation and scarring. If you are taking any medication for acne, your treatment may also make your skin more sensitive to UV. Try and keep covered up and apply a high SPF to protect your skin from damage. If you are worried about sun cream worsening your skin, look for products which are ‘non-comedogenic’ as they are less likely to cause spots.

I have been told to stop smoking. Will this help my acne?


Stopping smoking will improve your complexion because nicotine can help to promote blackheads and whiteheads being produced, so stopping smoking can help your skin.

Is it safe to purchase acne antibiotics & creams online?


Yes, you can order acne treatment from a registered online pharmacy, like Medicine Direct. Following a consultation with an online doctor, who will assess your symptoms and prescribe you the most suitable medication for your problem, you can then order your medicine from our pharmacy. If you order before 2pm, free next day delivery is available. Never purchase any treatment online unless it is from an online pharmacy that is registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), like Medicine Direct.

Should I squeeze my spots?


Never squeeze your spots, this can lead to further infections and also increase your risk of scarring.

I am due to sit my exams and have more spots than usual. Can this be stress related?


Stress alone is not the cause of acne, but it can trigger breakouts and make existing acne worse. Your body produces cortisol, which is a natural steroid during periods of stress and can lead to acne breakouts. Doing all you can to reduce your body's stress levels can benefit your overall health and reduce the risk of making acne worse.

Does acne run in the family?


Acne, like many conditions, can run in the family. If your parents suffered from acne, it is possible that you may also suffer from it. However, acne can also occur for no apparent reason; this usually happens around puberty.

Can eating certain foods, like chocolate, give you acne?


At present, no research has proven that any food types cause acne. However, for your general health, it is recommended that you eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Can contraceptive pills cause acne?


Contraception pills have been linked with acne vulgaris as a result of the hormonal changes caused by the pill. If you feel you are suffering from acne as a result of your contraception products, you may require treatment to combat your acne, or switch to a different form of contraception. You should speak to your doctor before you switch to a new contraception.

What is the best way to remove blackheads?


Picking your skin can lead to scarring so it is advisable to use a skin treatment to help remove your blackheads. Various products and procedures are available for the treatment of blackheads, ranging from clay masks you can buy from your local pharmacy, to procedures to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.

Can acne be caught from close contact, kissing or touching?


No, acne is not a contagious condition.

Can Acne persist into adult life?


While acne is most common in teenagers going through puberty, it can occur in adults at any point, particularly during different stages of the menstrual cycle, polycystic ovary syndrome and pregnancy. Acne treatment is no less effective when used by adults, so you should contact a doctor or pharmacy about the most suitable treatment for your condition. Acne treatments are the same no matter what your age is.

Doctor Notes

Medicine Direct have an experienced clinical team of doctors, pharmacists and dispensers, all of whom are based in the UK. All are fully trained and qualified to provide appropriate and considered care across all areas of treatment we have available at our online pharmacy.

This means that no matter which member of our team is assigned to your case, you can rest assured that you are in the hands of a highly skilled medical professional, who possesses the compassion and clinical expertise to properly advise you on the best course of treatment.

We are fully regulated

All of our doctors and pharmacists are fully registered with both the General Medical Council (GMC), MHRA and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Each member of our team has also worked in various clinic settings in the past, such as community pharmacies and NHS hospitals.

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct Online Pharmacy

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840


Superintendent Pharmacist

This content has been written by James Nuttall and has been medically reviewed by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh. Hussain has been the Superintendent Pharmacist of Medicine Direct since 2018.

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