Acne treatment starts with good skin care. Cleanse your skin twice a day with a mild ‘soap free’ liquid face cleanser that is acid and/or pH balanced and free of abrasives and alcohol.
Choose a moisturiser labelled ‘non-comedogenic’. This means it’s been specially tested on acne prone skin and doesn’t clog pores, which could make acne worse.
Skin care products with ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be effective for mild acne and you don’t usually need a prescription.
There are many safe and effective acne treatments. You’ll need to speak with a healthcare professional to determine which one is most appropriate for you.
Treatments using retinoids can be very effective at unblocking pores of acne spots and preventing new blockages from developing. Retinoids come from Vitamin A. They are available as topical or oral treatments. A combination retinoid plus benzoyl peroxide (Epiduo®) is another option.
Antibiotics that treat acne come in two different forms – topical (applied directly to skin) or oral (swallowed in tablet form). Both types reduce the acne-causing bacteria in the skin and have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Oral antibiotics are generally used when acne is moderate to severe. They can be used on their own or with a topical treatment.
Isotretinoin tablets are the most effective treatment for severe acne as they address all known causes of severe cystic acne. They work by unblocking and preventing further blockage of pores, reducing sebum or oil production and soothing the redness and inflammation of acne.
Light therapy may be used to treat mild to moderate acne with biophotonic therapy working best on inflammatory acne.
Some low dose, very low dose oestrogen and anti-androgen contraceptive pills can help some women to manage their acne by regulating their hormones.
New and emerging treatments
There are also some new and emerging technologies being used to develop targeted treatments for acne.