Acne is a very common skin condition characterised by comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pus-filled spots. It usually starts at puberty and varies in severity from a few spots on the face, neck, back and chest, which most adolescents will have at some time, to a more significant problem that may cause scarring and impact on self-confidence. For most people it tends to resolve by the late teens or early twenties, but it can last for longer in some people.

Acne can develop for the first time in people in their late twenties or even the thirties. Occasionally, it occurs in young children as blackheads and/or pustules on the cheeks or nose.

At present there is no cure for acne, although the available treatments can be very effective in preventing new spots and scarring. Treatment options fall under the categories below:

  • Topical treatments, i.e. those that are applied directly to the skin
  • Oral antibiotics (oral means taken by mouth, e.g. pills)
  • Oral contraceptive pills
  • Isotretinoin capsules
  • Other treatments