Almost everyone will suffer from acne at some point, with 4 out of 5 people aged 11 to 30 being affected. However, some people suffer from more severe symptoms than others, and may want to seek treatment to improve the appearance and discomfort of acne.
While spots can be stressful and make you feel self-conscious, it’s important to stay calm and treat your skin kindly. Resist the urge to scrub vigorously or squeeze spots; over-zealous face washing can irritate the skin, and bursting spots can cause permanent scarring.
Simply clean your face once or twice a day with a gentle cleanser (Neutrogena, Oxo and Vichy sell special cleansers for skin with acne, but anything free of oil and alcohol is fine), and use a basic moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated. You might need to try a few different brands before you find one that suits your skin type, and you can also ask your pharmacist for advice. If you have particularly oily skin, you might find that a moisturising cleanser is sufficient.
Although you may want to try to hide the acne with foundation or other cosmetics, using heavy make-up can often lead to clogged pores. Always ensure to take off make-up at the end of the day, and try to limit the amount you use day to day.
Various over-the-counter treatments are available, such as Dermalex cream, which is very simple to use.
Patients in trials found success using light therapy, and noticed at 70% improvement in the condition of their skin when using blue light and red light. Lumie have created a hand-held device to use at home, and they say that users will see good results within 4-12 weeks of regular use.
Some people use herbal supplements and have claimed to see decent results. They contain burdock root, sarsaparilla and blue flag, and could relieve some of your symptoms. While this isn’t a substitute for prescription treatment, some people have seen a difference in symptoms.
To find the most effective treatment for your unique circumstances, it’s always best to consult with your GP. In some cases, they may prescribe several months of oral antibiotics such as lymecycline, topical peroxide creams, topical antibiotics, or steroids to clear up your acne. Many of these treatments are available via an online consultation, with providers like Dr Felix offering lymecycline capsules after completing a simple questionnaire.
Duac Gel contains benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient which destroys acne bacteria and reduces oiliness in skin within a few weeks. Its other main ingredient is clindamycin, a bacteria-fighting antibiotic. Duac Gel therefore combines two forms of acne treatment in one cream.
Generally, a combination of antibiotic tablets and skin creams is the most successful approach in controlling acne. Do take careful note of the guidelines your doctor gives you, as antibiotics will only be effective if you complete the full course. Peroxide gels should be used sparingly, and never in combination with light therapy.
Almost all treatments will take several months to show strong results, so try to be patient and continue to use creams and tablets exactly as directed.