How Can A Dermatologist Help With Acne?


Acne affects thousands of individuals across the UK every year. It is particularly common in adolescence due to the changes in hormone levels during puberty, however, it can develop at any age. Acne generally causes inflammation of the skin and causes spots to develop on the face, back or chest. As well as causing spots and pimples, this can also cause oily skin, a rise make the skin very sensitive and painful to touch.

Spots Types Caused By Ance

  • Blackheads: These are small black or yellowish bumps that appear as a result of clogged hair follicles. The dark appearance is not due to dirt, but because the lining of the hair follicle produces this colouring.
  • Whiteheads: They are very similar to blackheads, but come as a result of dead skin cells, oil or other bacteria becoming trapped within your pores.
  • Papules: Papules appear as small red bumps on the surface of the skin that can feel tender to touch.
  • Pustules: Very similar to papules, these spots are filled with a build-up of pus.
  • Nodules: When pores get blocked, this can go deeper into your skin. Nodules appear as large hard lumps and can be very painful and sensitive.
  • Cysts: Cysts are the most severe spot type that is caused by acne, appearing as large pus-filled lumps that have a similar appearance to boils.

Different Acne Treatments

There are various acne treatments available on the market, suited to different forms of acne and individual’s current situations. It is important to see a dermatologist so that they can understand which acne treatment is best suited to you, rather than sourcing a treatment yourself. Some treatments prescribed by a dermatologist will be applied directly to the skin (known as topical treatments). These treatments may contain benzoyl peroxide which works by limiting the amount of acne-causing bacteria or reducing the amount of oil that is on the skin.

On the other hand, there are acne treatments available that work throughout the body. These are best suited to redder and more swollen forms of acne, or to those who have severe acne cysts or nodules. Your dermatologist may prescribe antibiotic tablets, or advise you to start taking the combined oral contraceptive pill.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide is a common topical medication used to treat acne breakouts, helping to reduce the number of whiteheads and blackheads on your skin. It also has an overall anti-inflammatory effect, which can reduce tenderness. You can get Benzoyl Peroxide in a various range of products, including cleansers, lotions, creams, gels, and toner-like solutions. Generally, patients can expect to experience dry skin and potentially rough, peeling and flaky skin. However, this is a very normal reaction, so there is no need to panic.

Topical retinoids

Topical retinoids work by exfoliating the skin, which helps to remove dead skin cells, preventing them from building up within hair follicles and clogging pores – a key cause of acne. Whilst your dermatologist will advise you on how to apply your topical retinoids, it’s important to use them sparingly and to try and avoid excessive exposure to the sun and UV rays. With this acne treatment, you can expect some redness, peeling skin and the possibility that your acne could worsen initially before getting better.


One method a dermatologist can help to treat your acne is through the use of topical antibiotics. This will help to help kill the bacteria on the skin that can infect plugged hair follicles, generally over a 6-8 week period. Antibiotic tablets, on the other hand, are used to treat more severe forms of acne. These are taken orally and are often combined with another topical treatment for maximum results. Your dermatologist will let you know that with this treatment, it could be up to 6 weeks before you notice an improvement.

Hormonal Therapies

Alternatively, your dermatologist may think that hormonal therapy is best suited to your ance. This treatment is generally best suited to women with acne that flares us around their period, or if they have a hormonal condition. So if you’re not already taking the combined pill, we may suggest that you try this treatment for acne, even if you’re not sexually active. However, it is worth bearing in mind that on this treatment it can be up to a year before the full results and benefits are seen.

There are a variety of treatments out there that a dermatologist may prescribe to help to treat your acne. Here at LycaHealth, we have a range of clinicians that work within our dermatology department, here to help you with your acne, or other skin conditions. If you are currently suffering with your skin, contact us today to see how we can help.

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