There are a number of treatments available for acne:
Topical treatments. These are applied directly to the skin. They may work by cleansing
the skin to remove oil and unblock follicles, by suppressing inflammation, by killing
bacteria or by suppressing sebaceous activity. Some products have more than one action.
Topical treatments are usually the first choice for people with mild to moderate
acne. They should be applied to the whole of the affected area and not just to the
Oral antibiotic treatment. Patients not responding to topical treatments alone may
be prescribed antibiotic tablets. We generally recommend that these are taken in
combination with suitable topical treatment. Oral antibiotics help the inflamed spots
of acne but have no effect on uninflamed ones such as blackheads.
Isotretinoin. This treatment may be better known by the trade names Roaccutane®.
This is a strong drug which acts directly on the sebaceous glands, reducing oil production,
essentially turning off the acne fuel supply. It is by far the most effective and
reliable treatment for severe forms of acne. Unfortunately, it has a number of potential
and severe side effects. There has been much in the press recently highlighting its
potential to cause depression. Additionally, isotretinoin can harm an unborn child
and there are, therefore, very tight controls when prescribing isotretinoin to women
of childbearing potential. Isotretinoin capsules can only be prescribed by a consultant
dermatologist. Most courses of isotretinoin last for four months to six months.
The treatments detailed above are all commonly available to NHS patients, either
from their general practitioner or from a hospital dermatology department. Treatments
not generally provided or funded by the NHS include:
Microdermabrasion and Skin Peels. At Shropshire Skin Clinic the Agera Rx Medical
product range are used for topical skin treatment between these clinic based treatments
Laser or Intense Pulsed Light. At Shropshire Skin Clinic we feel that these treatments
should rarely be a first choice however we do treat some patients with intense pulsed
light. Sometimes this will be combined with microdermabrasion and skin peels.
Photodynamic Therapy. We also use a special photosensitising cream before treating
with Intense Pulsed Light. This process is called photodynamic therapy and seems
to be more effective than intense pulsed light used on its own.