How can I get rid of my acne?
If you’re living with acne you may find that the symptoms - oily skin, spots and redness – can make you feel unhappy and insecure about your appearance. But they don’t need to, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to treat acne, and in some cases improve the condition for good. We've listed below some ideas that could help you to manage your acne.
Start a simple skincare regime
Often the cause of acne is the skin producing too much oil. This blocks the hair follicles naturally found on your face, causing spots to develop. While acne spots are not caused by being unclean, setting up a skincare regime that involves daily cleansing and moisturising can help treat your symptoms.
Keeping things simple when it comes to your skincare regime is often the key to looking after skin affected by acne. Cleansing your skin is essential for removing dead skin, dirt and makeup. However, you shouldn’t wash your face more than twice a day, as this can irritate, damage and dry out the skin. It’s best to use mild cleansers, rather than harsh soaps, and to wash your face in lukewarm water.
After you’ve washed your face you should pat your skin dry and apply a moisturiser that is designed for acne-prone skin. Moisturising your skin will help keep your skin soft and supple, and reduce soreness and inflammation. A good moisturiser for acne-prone skin is one that is water-based, hypoallergenic and contains no perfume.
You’ll find all kinds of cosmetic skincare products catering for acne-prone skin, including toners, serums, and face masks in your local pharmacy. These products commonly contain ingredients such as nicotinamide/niacinamide, azelaic acid, retinol, salicylic acid and glycolic acid.
These ingredients can be beneficial for people with acne, as they have exfoliating, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. However, if you use too many products on your skin you risk irritating it and making your symptoms worse.
If your skincare products or acne medication contain benzoyl peroxide or retinoids you should make sure you wear a non-comedogenic (water-based) sunscreen, as these ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Switch to non-comedogenic make-up
If you have acne, you might find that wearing makeup helps with your confidence and makes you feel better. However, some of the products you’re using and the way you are applying them might be contributing to your symptoms.
Water-based products that are labelled as non-comedogenic are ideal for people with acne. “Non-comedogenic” means that the product does not block the skin and lead to spots developing.
Never pick or squeeze your spots
The cardinal rule with acne is that you should never squeeze, scratch or pick at your spots. It can be difficult to resist this urge, but the problem is that squeezing spots can cause damage to the skin, leading to infections and even lasting scars.
Use medicated over-the-counter products
Not all cases of acne require a trip to the doctors. If your symptoms are fairly mild, you can start by visiting a pharmacy or using the LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor free acne assessment. These services can help to determine the right products and course of treatment for you.
A pharmacist can recommend some over-the-counter treatments for acne containing nicotinamide (e.g. Freederm) or Benzoyl Peroxide (generic Acnecide).
Speak to a doctor about your acne
If you’ve found that over-the-counter products have no effect on your acne, you should speak to a doctor. There are a number of different prescription treatments that can be used to improve acne symptoms, including:
Gels and creams:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Topical retinoids
- Topical antibiotics
- Azelaic acid
- A longer course of antibiotic tablets
- The combined contraceptive pill
- A combination treatment - antibiotic tablets are usually combined with a medicated cleanser, gel or cream such as benzoyl peroxide.
Benzoyl peroxide both treats spots but also prevents new spots forming. It works by attacking any bacteria that might be living on your skin or inside your spots. It also removes dead skin from clogged pores, preventing any further blockages.
Benzoyl peroxide is usually available in a gel or cream. You can request benzoyl peroxide (Acnecide) from Online Doctor.
Topical retinoids (creams or gels)
Topical retinoids work by exfoliating the surface of the skin, removing any dead skin cells and stopping these from building up in hair follicles. Adapalene works very well for whiteheads - you have to bear in mind though that it can cause your skin to 'purge' bringing the deeper blocked pores to the surface. This can make it look like it's caused you to break out worse than before. If this happens it’s important to persevere - this is a clear case of 'it gets worse before it gets better'.
Adapalene is a topical retinoid you can request from Online Doctor.
Topical antibiotics kill the bacteria on the skin that can lead to an infection in clogged hair follicles. They usually come in a gel or lotion.
You can request Duac from Online Doctor, this is an anti-acne treatment that contains benzoyl peroxide and a topical antibiotic to treat acne from two angles.
Azelaic acid is a treatment used for people who have sensitive skin. It works to get rid of dead skin and kill bacteria. It usually comes in a gel or cream. This is particularly useful for people who have sensitive skin as it tends to be less irritating than benzoyl peroxide or adapalene. It's also worth a try if your acne leaves you with darker blemishes, also known PIH: post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
You can request azelaic acid from Online Doctor.
Some people might be prescribed antibiotic tablets alongside a cream or gel to treat severe acne. This can help kill the bacteria that lives in the clogged pores.
You can request a combination of doxycycline or lymecycline with a topical treatment to treat acne from Online Doctor.
Online Doctor acne clinic
Our acne service offers a range of topical treatments on their own, as well as combination packages to help you treat your acne.
Our service allows you to take a free assessment, which includes uploading 2 photographs of your acne. Our clinicians will then recommend a treatment plan based on your condition, medical history and preferences. If you choose to proceed with the treatment you can then order it for delivery or pharmacy collection. After 6 weeks of treatment you will also be able to feedback your progress to our clinicians and send a further 2 photos. This will allow the doctors and pharmacists to track your response to the treatment.