logo

DermNet NZ


Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Acne management

General principles of treatment
Mild acne
Moderately severe acne
Severe acne

General principles of treatment

Management of mild acne

Most patients with mild acne can be treated with topical treatment (gels, solutions and lotions) that can be obtained over-the-counter in New Zealand without prescription. Most people just use topical agents for facial skin as they can be difficult to apply to one's back. Extra vitamins and minerals have not been proved to help.

Suitable topical agents for mild acne that can be obtained without prescription include:

Topical agents for mild acne which require prescription include:

Combination prescription topicals include clindamycin / benzoyl peroxide (Duac™) and adapalene / benzoyl peroxide gel (Epiduo™).

Lights and lasers including blue lighthave been found to be safe and helpful for mild to moderate acne when oral medications are unhelpful or unsuitable.

See your doctor or dermatologist for advice if your pimples fail to clear up within six weeks or you have severe acne.

Management of moderately severe acne

Treatment for moderately severe acne usually includes topical agents. In addition, a doctor or dermatologist may prescribe an oral medication, usually for at least six months.

Suitable oral medications include:

See your doctor or dermatologist for advice if your skin problem fails to improve within three months or you have severe acne.

Management of severe acne

Treatment for severe acne requires oral treatment. Patients should be under the care of a dermatologist.

Many patients will be treated with oral isotretinoin.

If this is not suitable, the following may be used:

Physical treatments for acne

Related information

On DermNet NZ:

Books about skin diseases:

See the DermNet NZ bookstore

Author: Dr Amanda Oakley Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand. Reviewed and updated by Dr Oakley and Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, February 2014.

DermNet NZ does not provide an on-line consultation service.
If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.