It’s been several years since Australia has seen any new acne treatments but that’s changing with a range of new options becoming available, the latest being the topical treatment Aczone 7.5% gel.

The active ingredient in Aczone is dapsone, which is thought to work by having an anti-inflammatory effect on acne. It’s indicated for the treatment of acne in those aged 12 years and older. And it’s that older age group who are somewhat surprised and frustrated when pimples are still a part of their adult lives.

Adult acne is more common in women than men with approximately 15% of Australian adult females having acne and 5% of women still dealing with blemishes at age 40.

Fremantle dermatologist and All About Acne co-chair, Professor Kurt Gebauer said hormonal or adult acne is different to teen acne.

“Hormonal acne is often characterised by deep and painful cysts around the jawline and neck. Adult skin is also drier and more fragile than oily teen skin,” he added.

“Aczone may be a particularly relevant option for female adults with acne as it is less drying than some other treatments.”  

“Some women aren’t keen to take oral antibiotics because of their association with thrush.  Salicylic acid and peels are not usually recommended for hormonal acne so it’s good to have another treatment option for our patients.”

“As a female adult with acne it’s very important to see your GP or dermatologist so they can also assess the cause of your acne.  Hormonal acne may be related to another health condition such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which will also need to be treated.”

A 12 week clinical trial of Aczone published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology showed the treatment working as early as week two in reducing acne lesions. The most common side effects associated with Aczone include dryness, itchiness and pain at the site of application.

Aczone gel is available as a prescription-only, once-daily treatment usually recommended for 12 weeks. The cost is approximately $80-$100 for 90g.