acne treatment is not a quick fixIt’s not always a quick fix, but don’t give up hope!

Everyone wants to get rid of their acne as quickly as possible which is why the quick fix sounds so appealing. The reality is treating acne takes time and patience. In mild cases that may mean a week but for more severe forms of acne, it can take a few months. The upside is you'll see results along on the way.

Talk to a medical professional first

Buying an acne treatment online after reading a great celebrity testimonial might seem like a good idea – it’s not!  The wrong products can aggravate your skin and make your acne even worse. Before you spend any money buying an advertised quick fix or an expensive skincare range, talk to your pharmacist, GP or see a dermatologist. It could save you money and your skin.  

Types of treatments

Treating acne 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. For example, Harvard Medical School Professor Conor Evans is working on turbo-charging existing acne medications as well as developing better therapies with some very hi-tech microscopes. Watch his interview with All About Acne below.

Find out more about medical treatments for acne