Treatment for Acne
Welcome to Qoctor’s online doctor service which can provide assessment, advice and treatment for acne.
Our online doctor will ask you some questions about your health, and may advise a video consultation.
Once you’ve been assessed, treatment may be recommended- you can then opt to have a paper prescription sent to your home or local pharmacy, or medication delivered to an address of your choice, from one of our partner pharmacies.
Acne is a common cause of spots for people in their teens to mid twenties, though older people may be affected too. It usually occurs on the face, but may also affect the back and chest. It can lead to different types of lesions in different people, and can also vary in severity- in certain cases it can lead to permanent scarring, so early treatment is advisable.
Common Questions and Answers
- Acne is a common cause of spots on the face, back and chest in the teens and twenties, though some people get it later in life.
- Normal skin has sebaceous glands which produce natural oils.
- During puberty, the skin produces more of these oils, causing blockage of the sebaceous glands.
- The trapped oils in the glands allow bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) to multiply.
- This in turn results in an immune reaction and inflammation of the skin.
- Acne may be associated with other medical conditions such as polycystic ovaries
- Some medications may make acne worse such as progesterone only contraceptives, steroid creams used in eczema, anabolic steroids and some antiepileptic medications.
Yes. Some people get scars. If your acne seems severe, especially if you have large painful acne cysts, it’s vital to speak to a doctor, as you may need a referral to see a dermatologist to get stronger treatment.
Every person is different. Some people will control their acne with over the counter creams and gels from the pharmacy. Others may need stronger “prescription only” creams and gels. These work in a variety of ways, and depending on the type of acne spots you have, certain ones may be more effective. To read our guide to choosing the best topical acne treatment for you, click here
If topical creams and gels don’t work, or only partially help, an oral antibiotic is worth considering. These are usually taken for a few months, and can be stopped once the acne settles. It’s recommended to continue a daily topical preparation such as Benzoyl Peroxide at the same time, to stop the bacteria becoming resistant to the oral antibiotic over time.
Yes, in some girls and women it does seem to help. If contraception is also needed, it may serve two purposes at the same time!
This is a strong acne medication, which is chemically similar to Vitamin A. It’s used when other options have failed or if acne is severe, particularly if there is scarring. It can be very effective, but may have serious side effects in some people, so it’s always prescribed by a dermatologist.
Health Library- Acne
What is PCOS? Around 1 in 10 women are thought to have “polycystic ovarian syndrome” , also known as PCOS - so it’s pretty common. There are a few ways to make a proper diagnosis of PCOS- one of the most common methods suggests that at least 2 of the following features need to be present: (a) polycystic ovaries (lots of small cysts on the ovaries, as seen on an ultrasound scan) (b) raised level of male hormones such as testosterone – this can be checked by a blood test (c) reduced ovulation (this usually means having few or no periods) It’s also necessary for your doctor to rule out any other medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms. How can our online doctors save you time? You can have polycystic ovaries without having polycystic ovarian syndrome. Many women have multiple cysts on their ovaries [...]
Acne- which creams and gels are the best? Acne is a very common skin condition- whilst it is most prevalent amongst teenagers, unfortunately it sometimes continues into adulthood. There are many good treatment options: most people start with over-the-counter products available from a pharmacy, but if these don’t work, a doctor can prescribe stronger creams/gels, or oral antibiotics. The contraceptive pill can also help acne in women. And if these options fail, a dermatologist may be able to help. With the wide variety of creams and gels available, it can be hard to know what to choose. A good starting point is to figure out what kind of acne you have- i.e. what type of lesions are most troublesome for you. There are two main types of acne lesion- non-inflammatory and inflammatory. Many people have a mixture of these. Different treatments may help one type more than [...]