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Taking the time to understand your acne can make dealing with it a lot easier.

Here you can find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions relating to acne and acne treatment.

My skin stings or burns after I apply treatment. Is that OK?
Some stinging or burning can happen at the start of certain treatments. Check your patient advice leaflet for more information. If you are still concerned, speak with your pharmacist or doctor.
Why does my skin look worse since I started treating my acne?

Some patients find their skin gets a little worse before it gets better in the early weeks of treatment. Your skin is just getting used to it.

Make sure you use a good ‘non-comedogenic’ moisturiser - one that’s non-spot forming. If your skin is extremely red and peeling, you may be allergic. Speak to your doctor.

I’m fed up with waiting, when will the acne treatment work?

Even the best acne treatments take time to kick-in. So although some get to work straight away, you’ll usually need to wait a few months to see the best results.

If there’s no change after this time, see if your doctor can offer something else - or maybe even an extra acne treatment on top of the one you’re already using.

Can I use more medication to help clear the spots faster?

You should never take more medication than you’ve been prescribed – it’s not safe and it won’t clear your skin any faster.

Applying too much acne cream or gel can make your skin over-sensitive, causing redness and irritation, while taking extra tablets can cause unwanted side effects too.

Only use your medication as prescribed by your doctor.

Will washing my face more often help clear spots?

Acne is not caused by dirt, so washing more often than twice a day won’t help. In fact, too much washing can make the skin sore and irritated.

Wash and dry your face gently twice a day, using a moisturiser at least once a day.

Does the sun help acne?

Some people think the sun helps to clear acne, but it’s not scientifically proven. Too much sun or tanning can cause more serious skin conditions, like skin cancer.

Also, some acne treatments can make the skin sensitive to the sun, so be sure to use a high factor suncream when it’s hot.

How do I shave with acne?

Shaving can be tricky when you have raised spots on your face.

Use a multi-blade razor, which is less likely to pull at the hair and cause irritation, and shave gently – taking care especially when passing over pimples.

Also, make sure you use a ‘non-comedogenic’ (non-spot-forming) shaving-cream.

Can I use cosmetics with my treatment, and which ones?
Yes you can – but only use ‘non-comedogenic’ cosmetics and cleansers. These are products that have been made with ingredients that won’t block your pores.
My skin’s much clearer now, should I stop the acne treatment?
You should only stop taking your medicine when the doctor says so. You could stop suddenly only to find your acne flaring up the following week.
Do I still need to moisturise with oily skin?
Moisturising the skin is a good idea, whatever the condition of your skin. There are some moisturisers that help control oil production too.
I’ve got scars from squeezing spots, can anything be done about them?
The best way to prevent scars is to treat acne early and to stop squeezing your spots. However, if you do have scars there are ways to remove them, such as chemical peels. You will need to ask your doctor to refer you to a skin specialist, or dermatologist.
I’ve missed a dose of my acne treatment, what should I do?
Don’t double the dose to make up for a missed dose. Just use your treatment as you would normally the next day. To avoid missing doses, try these tips for establishing an acne treatment routine
Can I use my acne treatment any time?
Many acne treatments need to be used or taken at the same time each day. Always take your treatment exactly as your doctor has told you.