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Simply fill in a brief consultation questionnaire and one of our doctors will review your request today.
If you're suffering from acne and the usual over-the-counter products don’t help, you can try a prescription acne treatment. Our confidential service allows you to get an acne antibiotic or topical treatment online.
Fill in our short questionnaire and upload two photos of your skin problem into your patient record. You can choose a preferred treatment. One of our UK-based doctors will review your case and approve appropriate treatment.
Prescription and delivery are included.
Please note: where a generic product has been ordered we may use a range of manufacturers to provide you with your medication, in order to maintain our service levels.
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There are various ways of treating acne, from lifestyle changes, to creams, and antibiotics. While antibiotic tablets treat acne “from the inside”, topical creams help relieve the symptoms “from the outside”.
Taking into account how strong your symptoms are, and your personal preferences, our doctors can help you find the acne treatment that works best for you.
There are numerous skincare products available, so choosing the right one can be difficult. If you’re experiencing some mild symptoms of acne, a pharmacist may be able to advise you on the treatments that you can buy over the counter. If your acne is severe or you feel that your skin condition harms your quality of life, you should seek medical help from a doctor.
If you suffer from acne, you should be careful about the products you use on your face. Many beauty or skincare products can dry or aggravate the skin, making acne worse. A mild cleanser or soap, or oil-free soap substitute would be best to use to clean your face.
It’s important that you do not squeeze your acne spots as this will worsen the infection and can even lead to permanent scarring. If you use makeup, try to make sure you wash it off completely before going to bed at night, so their skin can breathe during night time.
Try to go for products that are oil-free. Some oil-free makeup will be labelled as being better for people with acne.
There’s no clear evidence that specific foods will make your acne worse, but a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruit and vegetables will help with your general health.
There is some suggestion about a link between smoking and acne, although the exact mechanism is still unknown. If you are a smoker suffering from acne, quitting smoking should be part of your acne treatment plan.
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions. The typical spots and lesions are caused by a hormonal imbalance, which leads to an increase in the production of sebum. The excess sebum causes the pores of your skin to be blocked, resulting in bacterial infection and inflammation.
Acne often affects teenagers, as it's very common for hormonal changes during the teenage years to result in an excess of androgens, a sexual hormone which belongs to the group of steroids. If your androgen levels are high, you're likely to develop acne.
As boys and men generally have higher steroid-levels, they often suffer from more severe forms of the condition. Although acne is often regarded as a typical teenage problem, it can occur later and life and affects people of all ages.
If you’d like to treat your acne, our online acne clinic allows you to receive treatment quickly and without having to book an appointment with your GP.
We’ll ask you to fill in a brief questionnaire to find out about the symptoms and severity of your condition, as well as your previous medical treatment.
We’ll also ask you to upload 2 photos, so our doctor can assess your case properly. Our doctor will then recommend either a topical treatment on its own or in combination with an antibiotic to target the inflammation.
If you’re female and looking for contraceptives, the oral contraceptive pill is a great choice that may also improve your acne at the same time. Due to the estrogen content, some combined oral contraceptives pill can lessen acne symptoms and improve your skin. If you’re already taking an oral contraceptive, you can visit our contraception clinic for a repeat prescription.
We currently offer several topical acne treatments options: Differin, Epiduo, Aknemycin Plus, Zineryt, Finacea, Treclin, Acnecide, Skinoren, Benzoyl peroxide 5% and Clindamycin 1% gel.
How they’re used varies between treatments: they can come in the form of creams, gels, washes or gentle acids that are safe for use on the face. You need to make sure you cover all affected areas while avoiding contact with your eyes, lips, and any cuts or broken skin.
Each topical treatment has a unique combination of ingredients and they each work slightly differently. Below is a description of how each one differs:
- Differin contains the active ingredient adapalene, which belongs to a group of products known as retinoids and acts specifically on the skin processes that cause acne, exerting an anti-inflammatory effect reducing soreness and irritation.
- Epiduo also contains adapalene, with the addition of benzoyl peroxide which acts as an antimicrobial agent and by softening and peeling the outer layer of the skin. Early signs of clinical improvement usually appear after 1 to 4 weeks of treatment, but you should keep going with your treatment for at least 8 weeks to see the full benefits.
- Zineryt is an antibiotic wash containing erythromycin and zinc, and is only prescribed to those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
- Aknemycin Plus also contains erythromycin, but in combination with tretinoin, which is another type of retinoid, like adapalene.
- Finacea contains the active ingredient azelaic acid, which is a naturally occuring acid found in grains such as barley, wheat, and rye. Azelaic acid has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This means it helps clean your pores of the bacteria which cause acne and reduces the inflammation of existing acne so that it is less visible.
- Treclin contains an antibiotic called clindamycin which reduces the growth of bacteria that causes acne. It also contains tretinoin which works to prevent skin cells from clogging up hair follicles.
- Acnecide is a branded medication containing benzoyl peroxide. It is an antiseptic that works by reducing the bacteria on your skin.
- Benzoyl peroxide 5% and Clindamycin 1% gel contains a combination of clindamycin and Benzoyl Peroxide. Clindamycin works as an antibiotic to reduce the bacteria on your skin, while Benzoyl Peroxide reduces acne inflammation. It is also sold as a branded treatment called Duac gel.
- Skinoren is a branded medication that contains azelaic acid. It works by reducing the growth of keratin that blocks your pores. It also helps to kill bacteria and reduce the inflammation that causes acne.
ZAVA can prescribe doxycycline or lymecycline. They belong to the same group of antibiotics and are similarly effective.
You need to take your acne tablets with plenty of water but need to make sure you avoid consuming milk or milk products at the same time, as they reduce the effectiveness.
The duration of your antibiotic acne treatment will depend on your symptoms and the effect the antibiotics have on your condition.
Both topical treatments and tablets should be used at the same time to achieve the best possible result.
Isotretinoin is a treatment for severe acne. It’s a type of retinoid treatment, which is related to Vitamin A. It was licensed in 1983 and has proven very effective in healing acne.
However, Isotretinoin can cause severe side effects, including very dry skin, pruritus, scaling and dermatitis. It has also been linked with a number of mood disorders such as severe depression, psychotic disorders and suicide attempts.
While these side effects are very rare, they can be serious. If you have a history of depression, Isotretinoin is not suitable for you. If you experience mood swings or abnormal behaviour during treatment, you need to seek help immediately. Isotretinoin is also very harmful for a developing baby, so women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant should not use isotretinoin.
Women should also make sure that they’re using reliable contraception while taking Isotretinoin. ZAVA does not prescribe Isotretinoin.
What side effects you may experience depends on which acne treatment (or combination of treatments) you take. Topical creams are more likely to cause skin irritation, while oral medications are more likely to be associated with nausea and digestive problems.
Side effects of cream and gel
- Redness of the skin
- Scaling and dry skin
- Burning sensation after application
Side effects of antibiotic acne tablets
- Blood vessel inflammation
- Allergic reactions and rashes
- Swelling of lymph nodes and face
- Fever and muscle pain
- Visual problems
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Liver inflammation
Severe side effects when taking lymecycline or oxytetracycline are quite rare. However, if you suffer severe symptoms please do not hesitate to seek medical help. For a complete list of side effects, always read the patient leaflet of the medication you're taking. Women who choose to take an oral contraceptive may encounter side effects associated with the combination of hormones their pill contains.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Accreditations: BSc, MBBS, MRCGP (2008)
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 03 May 2019
Acne treatment, NICE/British National Formulary [accessed February 2023]
Acne treatment, National Health Service [accessed February 2023]
Which birth control pills can help reduce acne?, NCBI/National Library of Medicine [accessed February 2023]
Epiduo 0.1%/2.5% Gel, Patient Information Leaflet, EMC [accessed February 2023]
Zineryt® 40 mg + 12 mg powder and solvent, Patient Information Leaflet, EMC [accessed February 2023]