Acne, or acne vulgaris, is a very common skin condition. It affects millions of people throughout the UK and causes the development of spots, usually on your face, chest, back and shoulders. There are different types of spots that can develop, which we will cover later on.

Acne often starts during puberty, due to increased levels of testosterone in the body, and, in most people, it clears up by their early twenties. However, sometimes you can experience it earlier or later in life – adult acne is more common in women than men, thought to be due to fluctuating hormone levels.

The condition is usually treatable, but it can take a while to clear up, and it is likely to affect almost everyone at some point in their lives.

If you are suffering from acne, our online doctors can talk with you about your situation, identify if something specific is causing it and recommend a treatment that will be effective at clearing the condition up.

The symptoms of acne can vary from person to person, and they can be mild or severe, or may flare up at certain times.

There are different types of spots caused by acne, which include:

  • Blackheads (open comedones) - small bumps that are black or yellow in colour
  • Whiteheads (closed comedones) – similar to blackheads, but with a harder feel and a white or yellow tip
  • Nodules - large, inflamed, painful lumps that are hard to touch
  • Papules - small red or pink inflamed bumps that feel sore
  • Pustules - inflamed bumps that feel sore, with a white or yellow head, caused by pus
  • Cysts - large pus-filled lumps

You might find that you have some or all of these symptoms.  For more information on acne symptoms follow the link.

Our doctors can usually diagnose your acne during an online video consultation.

They will ask you about your symptoms and look at the affected areas so that they can confirm the type of acne you have, as well as assess how severe it is.

For more information regarding what will happen during your consultation, click here.

Acne is caused when your sebaceous glands (hair follicles) become blocked because they produce more oil than is needed.

This oil mixes with dead skin cells to cause a blockage. The blockages can lead to whiteheads or blackheads or little pimples.

This trapped oil can also become infected by the bacteria and can cause larger, more inflamed spots to develop.

Read more about the causes and triggers for acne.

Mild acne may be able to be treated with an over the counter product containing benzoyl peroxide.

In more severe cases, you may need treatment with prescription medications. Our doctors may recommend one of the following treatments to help deal with your severe acne:

  • Retinoids
  • Topical antibiotics
  • Azelaic acid
  • Antibiotic tablets
  • The pill - hormonal therapies

You can find out more about how acne can be treated.

Acne in pregnancy is very common, particularly during the first trimester of your pregnancy. The good news is that in most cases, acne flare ups will usually pass after the first trimester, or at least calm down.

Oral medications will not usually be prescribed if you are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant due to the risk they may have on your baby’s health.

For further information about acne during pregnancy.

With Push Doctor, you can have a face-to-face video consultation on your smartphone, tablet or laptop at a time and place to suit you. Our doctors will ask you about your symptoms, lifestyle and medical history and will have a look at the affected area using the camera on your device.

Our doctors can recommend the right treatment for you, or if your acne is very severe, they can refer you to a skin specialist for further investigation.

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