The Best Acne Treatments Recommended by Dermatologists

Have you ever felt you’re on a never-ending quest to clear your breakouts?

Do you feel like you have tried every acne product under the sun?

Yet clear, healthy skin remains as elusive as a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Well, with over 30 years of experience treating the skin, we’re here to help you take control of your acne.

The Best Acne Treatments

The oil on your skin’s surface is a complex blend of sebum, lipids, skin cells, sweat, and pollutants that build up in your pores.

By incorporating products containing sebum-regulating agents, you can effectively control hyperactive sebaceous glands, restoring your skin’s balance whilst eliminating the food source for harmful bacteria.

So, let’s dive right in to understand the best treatments for acne in more detail.

We have also written extensively about treating acne in our free ebook, which you can read here.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is one the best acne treatments, known for its traditional yet highly effective approach. Its brilliance lies in its ability to penetrate deep into the pores, where it diligently dismantles excess oil and eradicates the bacteria responsible for acne outbreaks.

Beyond this, it boasts potent anti-inflammatory properties, soothing irritated skin and quelling the redness associated with acne flare-ups. It offers a multifaceted solution that addresses both the root causes and visible symptoms of acne.


Retinoids have unique comedolytic properties that influence the natural exfoliation of your skin’s cells and oil within the pores. This is why retinoids are highly effective at treating blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammatory papules.

Retinoids also play a vital role in addressing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). You can find this in our A+ skin shot.

Azelaic acid

This versatile skincare ingredient has a serious knack for addressing various skin concerns.

It’s an inflammation-reducer, effectively calming irritation and redness in conditions like rosacea. Its antibacterial properties make it a formidable weapon against acne breakouts.

Azelaic acid also plays a crucial role in normalising the shedding of skin cells, preventing clogged pores, and gently exfoliating for improved skin texture.

Moreover, it combats hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin production and fading issues like post-inflammatory marks, sunspots, and melasma.

As an antioxidant, it shields your skin from the damage caused by free radicals, promoting long-term skin health. Just remember, its UV sensitivity means you should use it carefully with sunscreen.


This steps in as a skin saviour, combating both acne and fungal culprits by metabolising the antimicrobial peptide LL-37. It also helps to reduce Malassezia, which is often the cause of fungal acne.

But that’s not all – it is a wonderful hydration molecule. If your skin lacks moisture, it can lead to clogged pores, resulting in the unfortunate combination of excess oil and trapped dead skin cells, manifesting as blackheads and acne.

If you’re eager to delve deeper into the wonders of urea, we’ve curated a comprehensive article just for you. Discover the multifaceted benefits of this skin-saving molecule, from its ability to combat acne and fungal culprits to its role in maintaining optimal hydration levels.

Benzoyl peroxide

This powerful antibacterial and antiseptic neutralises C acne bacteria by infusing oxygen into the pores. It also plays a crucial role in diminishing the inflammation surrounding the pimples, making them appear less inflamed.

Conventional acne treatments

When topical solutions fall short, dermatologists have a more robust arsenal at their disposal.

This is the heavy artillery that is in the form of oral medications such as antibiotics and hormone therapy.

Isotretinoin (commonly known as Roaccutane)

Sourced from vitamin A, Isotretinoin is administered orally and is typically prescribed for severe acne. This medication takes a multifaceted approach, focusing on the sebaceous glands to reduce excess oil production while inhibiting the proliferation of bacteria.

Vitamin A Derivatives (Retinoids)

Retin-A (Tretinoin) is a prescription cream that can cause initial redness and itching, discouraging some from regular use. Retinol is a milder option; both can be excellent for acne care.


These combat acne by eradicating the bacteria contributing to the blockage and inflammation in the pores. Common examples of antibiotics include tetracycline and macrolides.

Antibiotics should only be prescribed for limited periods to reduce the potential development of antibiotic resistance.


A synthetic steroidal and androgen receptor blocker that curtails the body’s sensitivity to androgens such as testosterone, thereby reducing sebum production and preventing breakouts and acne.

It has excellent results in women with imbalances in estrogen and progesterone or those dealing with hyperandrogenism, which is characterised by elevated testosterone levels.

Oral Contraceptives (OCs)

These help to manage hormonal acne in women. They function by suppressing ovarian activity and reducing the circulation of androgens, including testosterone, in the bloodstream.

OCs prescribed for acne typically contain a combination of estrogen and progestin, working in tandem to balance the skin’s hormonal environment.

The problem with conventional treatments

Hormone treatments and birth control can temporarily balance your hormones and improve your skin, but they don’t get to the root of the hormonal imbalance.

When you stop using them, the breakouts may return even worse than before. Oral antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance and alter your oral microbiota.

Isotretinoin, a powerful acne medication, has the potential for serious side effects, including dry skin, chapped lips, itching, aches, and even the risk of depression.

It’s important to note that Accutane is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding. The contraceptive pill is often recommended because it suppresses ovulation and reduces sebum production.

The problem is that once the pill is topped, the ovaries resume hormone production, causing a surge in androgens, which sends sebaceous glands into overdrive. It’s a vicious cycle.

To conclude. The naked truth

In the pursuit of clear, radiant skin, the journey often feels like an endless quest, with each new product promising a solution to the persistent challenge of acne.

From the potent exfoliating prowess of salicylic acid to the multifaceted benefits of azelaic acid, each ingredient promises clearer, smoother skin.

Yet, beyond topical treatments lie oral medications like isotretinoin to hormone therapy and antibiotics, but it is crucial to recognise the limitations and potential pitfalls of conventional treatments.

Hormonal therapies may offer temporary respite yet often fail to address underlying imbalances, while antibiotics risk breeding resistance and disrupting the delicate microbiota.

Ultimately, our quest for clear skin is not merely about surface-level solutions but a holistic journey towards understanding and nurturing the intricate balance of our skin’s ecosystem.

2 replies on “The Best Acne Treatments Recommended by Dermatologists”

Samantha this is really great information, your so knowledgable you really are I follow your articles with interest.

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