Acne is a very common skin problem and affects most people at some point in their lives. It is an important problem because acne can cause scarring and can damage self-esteem. Acne often affects people in their teenage years but can also occur later in life. The face is usually affected but acne can occur on the back and chest as well.
There are many treatments for acne and the exact management plan will vary according to the individual patient. Treatments often need to be continued for several months or years. Treatments for acne include topical therapies (i.e. treatments that are applied to the skin) and systemic treatments (i.e. courses of medication taken as tablets). Systemic therapies include antibiotics, certain types of oral contraceptive pill for women, spironolactone (off -licence use prescribed by dermatologists) and a Vitamin A-related treatment called isotretinoin (Roaccutane), which is used in more severe types of acne. Roaccutane is only available in the UK when prescribed by Consultant Dermatologists.