Acne Vulgaris

What is acne vulgaris?

Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition that usually starts during teenage years. It occurs as a result of blocked hair follicles, excessive oil production, and the presence of bacteria causing inflammation.

Signs of acne

  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads
  • Inflamed red pimples that can be found on the face, and even the chest and back. In severe cases, large painful swellings containing pus may occur

Scars are a big problem as they can be sunken or protruded, and may be permanent.

Treatment for acne

Topical medication

Mild cases can be treated with topical medications alone. Examples are preparations containing sulphur, resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide, and antibiotics. Vitamin A derived preparations like tretinoin and adapalene are often prescribed.


Most commonly used oral medications are antibiotics like doxycycline, erythromycin and minocycline. It usually takes a few weeks before any improvement is noticed.

Acne that is severe or not responding to antibiotics can be treated with oral isotretinoin. Common side effects include dry skin and lips. Elevation of the cholesterol level and liver enzymes are other possible but rare side effects which are reversible. It is important that women taking isotretinoin do not get pregnant as it can adversely affect the unborn baby.

Common myths

Acne is not caused by dirt. Aggressive washing or scrubbing may in fact irritate the skin and cause the acne to worsen. In general, it is recommended to wash your face twice daily.

Squeezing of pimples is discouraged as it can result in infection and scarring.

Acne can cause severe psychological distress to people who suffer from it. It can also lead to scarring that can be very difficult to treat.

wash your face daily twice to take care of acne problems

Make An Appointment

Make an appointment online or contact a Raffles Skin & Aesthetics' clinic near you to consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. To make an appointment, select "Specialist Appointment". Under Specialist Appointment Details, select "Anti-ageing""Dermatology" or "Plastic Surgery".

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