See a GP if your acne is moderate or severe, or medicine from your pharmacy has not worked, as you probably need prescription medicine.
Prescription medicines that can be used to treat acne include:
If you have severe acne, your GP can refer you to an expert in treating skin conditions (dermatologist).
For example, if you have:
- a large number of papules and pustules on your chest and back, as well as your face
- painful nodules
- scarring, or are at risk of scarring
A combination of antibiotic tablets and topical treatments is usually the first treatment option for severe acne.
Hormonal therapies or the combined oral contraceptive pill can also be effective in women who have acne.
But the progestogen-only pill or contraceptive implant can sometimes make acne worse.
Many of these treatments can take 2 to 3 months before they start to work.
It's important to be patient and persist with a recommended treatment, even if there's no immediate effect.