Get a prescription for acne treatment, or renew your current prescription, with our fast and discreet online service.
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One of our doctors will review your order and prescribe a treatment if suitable. How to Order
If you want treatment for your acne fast, our doctors will review your situation and prescribe your chosen medication quickly and conveniently using our online service. They can also renew your current prescription.
There is more information on acne, how the treatment works and any potential side effects later on this page.
Why choose us?
- A doctor reviews your symptoms to make sure it is safe to prescribe you the treatment
- Our packages are discreet and delivered to your home
- You can collect your treatment from your local Asda Pharmacy
- You can message our doctors for advice via your online patient account at any time
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How does acne treatment work?
There are a variety of ways to treat acne, including:
- gels, creams, and lotions that you apply to the infected area
- antibiotics that you take orally
The gels, creams, lotions, and antibiotics reduce a specific area of acne. If you are a woman, using the combined contraceptive pill helps to regulate your hormones to prevent outbreaks in the first place.
Depending on the severity of your acne, doctors may prescribe one of these treatments or a combination. A combination is often the most effective and this is available using our online service. Some treatments are not suitable if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Most people require a 6 week course of treatment to clear up their symptoms. Hormonal treatments can take longer to have an impact and your doctor will advise you on what to expect. To make sure the treatment is effective, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and finish the course.
A doctor can prescribe 3 different types of treatment for acne:
Gels, creams, and lotions that are applied to the affected area once or twice a day only, normally 20 minutes after you have washed your face. Treatment should be used for at least 6 weeks. Topical treatments include benzoyl peroxide, topical retinoids, topical antibiotics, and azelaic acid.
These medicines work in different ways and your doctor will advise which ones to try first. Benzoyl peroxide and retinoids such as adapalene and tretinoin can make your face more sensitive to sunlight and UV so you need to avoid direct sunlight if using these.
These are usually used in combination with a topical treatment and can take about 6 weeks before you notice an improvement. The whole course can last 4 to 6 months depending on how your body responds. Antibiotics called tetracyclines are usually prescribed.
Tetracyclines can make your skin sensitive to sunlight and UV light). If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should not use tetracyclines, you should speak to your doctor about what options would be safe for you.
For women, if your acne is linked to your menstrual cycle, taking the combined contraceptive pill can help regulate your hormones and reduce outbreaks. It can be up to a year before the full benefits are seen.
The possible side effects of acne treatment depend on which treatment you are taking.
If you are taking a topical treatment you may get:
- redness or peeling of the skin
- dry skin
- burning, itching or stinging sensation
These symptoms usually clear up when you stop taking the medicine.
Some topical treatments and oral antibiotics can make your skin more sensitive to direct sunlight and UV light. Your doctor will advise you if this is the case for your treatment and you should follow their advice carefully.
Common side effects from taking antibiotics orally include:
- being or feeling sick
- having diarrhoea
- bloating and indigestion
Talk to your doctor via your patient account if you are worried about the side effects or if they are impacting your life.
If you have been prescribed medication to treat your acne by a doctor, it is safe to use it.
You must tell your doctor If you are
- allergic to any of the ingredients in the medicine
- have ever had kidney disease
You should always:
- follow the instructions provided by your doctor
- read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with the treatment
- finish your course as directed.
Pregnant women should not take oral antibiotics called tetracyclines.
There are several treatments for acne available that do not involve taking medication.
- using a comedone extractor to clean out blackheads and whiteheads
- using a chemical peel to remove the layer of skin
- using photodynamic therapy (where light is applied to the affected area of skin)
There is no guarantee that these treatments will work, or work every time you use them. Many people also use natural home remedies such as tea tree oil, witch hazel, and toothpaste. But, these have not been proven to work and can inflame your skin and make the situation worse.
Acne is caused by our sebaceous (oil-producing) glands producing too much oil at the same time as dead cells building up on the skin. The excess sebum mixes with the dead skin skills and forms plugs in the tiny holes in our skin (follicles). These plugs can create blackheads or whiteheads, and bacteria that are normally harmless on the skin can then contaminate and infect the plugged follicles. This creates red, swollen or pus-filled spots.
The male hormone testosterone causes our sebaceous glands to produce too much oil. This is why acne is often linked to hormonal changes in puberty and through the menstrual cycle.
Acne can be affected by:
- the medication you are taking (such as steroid medicines, some epilepsy drugs and lithium)
- hormonal changes associated with puberty
- hormonal changes associated with your menstrual cycle
- some cosmetic products
- wearing items that place pressure on the affected area such as a headband or backpack
Dr Kathryn Basford
Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.Meet our doctors
Article created: 01 Sep 2021
Last reviewed: 01 Sep 2019