When spots need treatment
The cardinal rule for spots is to leave them alone, or to at least try. Contrary to popular belief you should not squeeze your spots to rid your body of the pustule, as this could cause a bigger spot, increasing the potential for scarring.
Most spots will fade in their own time, without leaving a scar, if you follow a few simple steps:
- Keep the area around the spot clean
- Avoid picking or squeezing the spot
- Do not over-wash the area or scrub vigorously
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid make-up and remove any you do wear completely at night
- Take extra care when shaving to avoid disturbing spots
Home spot care
The market for home spot treatments is well advanced in the UK and there is a wide range of spot treatments available at your local pharmacy. Most products contain benzoyl peroxide, and the range includes brands such as Panoxyl, Freederm and Clearasil, as well as cheaper generic creams and lotions that can often work just as effectively.
With up to 80% of teenagers affected by acne at some point, your pharmacist will have lots of experience and be able to give you useful advice on choosing the right products and finding the best way forward for your skin.
MyDermatologist.co.uk – how we can help
Around a third of acne cases are so severe that they require professional help. Acne can be treated and in most cases cured, and we will be able to help you with treatment options including advice on how to manage the condition and work with you to try to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks.
An important first step will be to identify any potential triggers for your acne. We can also prescribe spot and acne treatments that are not available over the counter, including:
- Topical retinoids – such as tretinoin and adapalene, which reduce the production of sebum and stop dead cells from blocking the pores.
- Topical antibiotic and topical retinoid combinations – such as isotrexin gel, which kill the bacteria on the skin that cause spots, as well as reducing the production of sebum and reducing blockage of the pores.
- Antibiotics may also be prescribed topically or orally in severe cases where it would be difficult or painful to apply them directly.
- Azelaic acid – which both kills bacteria and removes dead skin cells. This is often used as an alternative to benzoyl peroxide.
- Hormone therapies (females only) – such as the combined oral contraceptive, which work by altering the hormone levels in the body that cause excess sebum production.
- Isotretinoin is also used when other treatment options have failed or when the acne is severe, causing significant problems including scarring. When prescribed carefully it is an excellent treatment for many patients, often providing dramatic improvement. However it is known to have a number of significant side effects and therefore is only prescribed under specialist supervision.
Specialist treatments available from Dr Bowling
As a specialist dermatologist I regularly combine treatments to create an individually tailored, bespoke treatment plan for my patients.
“The best treatment for acne scarring is early effective treatment of acne, before scarring develops.”