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Acne is a condition that causes red bumps, or pimples, to form on your skin. It is a long-term skin problem that is common in young adults.



You may need any of the following:

  • Topical treatments are medicines that you put on your skin to kill germs, or to treat blackheads or whiteheads. Topicals may also reduce swelling or stop skin from peeling. They are available as gels, creams, pastes, liquids, and cleansers.
  • Antibiotics may be given to treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Mild acids , such as salicylic or azelaic acid, help kill bacteria and improve your acne.
  • Hormone medicine may help balance your hormone levels and reduce the amount of oil your pores make.
  • Retinoids are prescription medicines to treat severe acne lesions. It is often used when other treatments do not work. You will need close follow-up if you take this medicine. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Retinoids may cause serious birth defects. Ask your healthcare provider for more information before you use this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Use mild soap daily when you bathe:

This will help control oiliness. Do not use harsh or drying soaps.

Use oil-free lotion and sunscreen:

This will help decrease irritation and keep your pores clear.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for regular blood tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent acne:

Use only the acne products that your healthcare provider recommends. Gels, solutions, cleansers, and medicated gauze pads may be used to reduce oily skin. Creams, ointments, and lotions are better if you have dry, sensitive skin. Continue to use these products as directed to prevent new acne. You may need to use your skin products less often if your skin gets irritated. You may need to stop using them until the irritation goes away.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever and inflammation of your skin.
  • You are using retinoid medicine and you think you might be pregnant.
  • Your acne does not get better, even after treatment.
  • You have acne scars.
  • You begin to have mood swings or personality changes.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Learn more about Acne (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference Guides (External)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.