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Getting an acne diagnosis

Acne is relatively easy to diagnose. Our doctors can take a look at your skin during a video consultation and ask about your symptoms so that they can provide you with an accurate diagnosis.

If your acne is particularly severe, you may be referred to a skin specialist for further investigation or treatment.

The most common places for acne to appear is on the face, back and chest. The doctor will look at the affected area to see which type of spots you have. The different types 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

The types of spots you have will help the doctor determine how severe the acne is and what the most suitable form of treatment is for you.

What happens after an acne diagnosis?

The treatment that you are recommended will be based on the types of spots you have. It can vary from mild to severe.

 

If your acne is only mild or moderate, you may not need any prescribed medication. Over-the-counter treatments that contain benzoyl peroxide may help clear your skin.

If your acne is severe or affects multiple areas of your body, stronger medication may be prescribed by a doctor. There are various prescribed treatments available, including:

  • Topical retinoids
  • Antibiotics
  • Hormonal therapies, such as the combined oral contraceptive pill (for women)

For a full list of acne treatments, read more here.

As we mentioned earlier, if your acne is very severe, you may be referred on to a skin specialist for further investigation or treatment.

Why regular reviews are important

If our doctors prescribe you a treatment, regular reviews of your acne is important to make sure it is working for you. They will be able to check that your acne is responding to treatment as it should, adjust your dosage or offer an alternative treatment if necessary.