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Online Prescriber - Acne

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What is Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects most people at some point. It causes spots, oily skin and, in more severe cases, skin to become hot or painful to touch. Acne causes spots to appear most frequently on the face, however it can also cause spots to develop on the back and chest.

The most common types of spots are:

  • Blackheads – bumps on the skin which are dark in colour because the hair follicle produces colour

  • Whiteheads – yellow or white bumps on the skin which will not empty when squeezed

  • Papules – small red bumps which may feel tender or sore

  • Pustules – these are similar to papules but have a yellow head caused by a build up of pus

  • Nodules – large hard lumps that build up beneath the surface of skin and can be painful

  • Cysts – large pus filled lumps which carry the biggest risk of scarring

The severity can range from mild breakouts such as occasional bumps and blackheads to severe acne which can be widespread and made up of cysts and nodules, which can affect a persons self esteem.

What Causes Acne?

On the surface of our skin we have little holes called hair follicles that individual hairs grow out of. Attached to these hair follicles are tiny glands that produce a substance called sebum. Sebum is needed to prevent the skin and hair from drying out. Acne is caused by an over production of sebum. This excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells and blocks the hair follicles. Theses plugs can cause whiteheads and blackheads, but in the presence of normally harmless bacteria that lives on the skin; papules, pustules, nodules and cysts can present when the bacteria infects the plugged follicles.

The most common risk factors for developing acne are:

  • Puberty – Teenage acne is thought to be triggered by increased levels of testosterone. Sebaceous glands particularly sensitive to testosterone and increased levels are thought to cause an over production of sebum.

  • Genetics – Acne can run in families and if both of your parents had acne, it is likely you will also develop it.

  • Women are more likely to develop adult acne than men because of fluctuating hormone levels. Some women have a flare-up of acne before their period, in the first trimester of pregnancy and in those who suffer with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Other triggers of acne flare ups include:

  • Cosmetics can cause spots but this is less common these days as most products are tested so they do not cause spots

  • Certain medications such as steroids, lithium and some epilepsy drugs

  • Regularly wearing items over a certain area of skin

  • Smoking can contribute towards acne in older people.

There is no evidence to suggest that acne is caused by poor hygiene, sexual activity or eating different foods.


There are a range of different acne treatments, and the choice of treatment will based on a number of factors such as your age, severity and type of acne you have, and what you would like to try.

If your acne is mild you may opt for non-prescription treatments from pharmacies like gels, cream, cleansers and washes.

If you struggle to control your acne with over the counter treatments, or if it is more severe and affecting your confidence, you may be able to obtain a prescription for a suitable product from our online doctor that suits your needs.

You can try these steps to help

  • It can be tempting to pick and squeeze blackheads and spots but this should be avoided as it can cause permanent scarring
  • Don’t scrub the skin or use exfoliating agents
  • If you wear make-up try to use non-comedogenic products as they are less likely to block your pores and make sure you wash it all off before going to bed
  • Don’t wash your face more than twice a day as this can make symptoms worse.  Use a mild soap and lukewarm water as very hot or cold water can make it worse
  • If you have dry skin on your face, use a water based, fragrance free emollient
  • Wash your hair regularly and avoid letting it touch the face

Patient Information Leaflet

Treclin Gel 30G Tube

Epiduo 0.1% 45g Gel

Lymecycline 408mg Capsules

Why Choose Pharmacy First’s Online Prescriber Service?

At Pharmacy First we offer a range of products to help relieve acne.

There’s no need for a face-to-face doctor appointment and you are not required to bear a prescription before you purchase as Pharmacy First’s Online Prescriber Service provides you with prescription-only medication after a short online consultation which is reviewed by our qualified online medical prescribers

    • Discreet, Speedy Service
    • Best Prices Online
    • Same-day dispatch for orders placed before 1pm (Monday – Friday)
    • Our Reviews Speak Volumes

How Do I Move Forward?

STEP 1 Start an online consultation and our Prescriber will review and assist.
STEP 2 Choose from the selected medication that is best suited to your consultation and pay at the checkout.
STEP 3 Upon final approval, your order will be dispensed from our Pharmacy and ready for the dispatch process.
STEP 4 Your medication will be delivered to your door, safely and discreetly using Royal Mail Special Delivery

Please use our pharmacist consultation to ensure you are eligible for the medication