Information for the public

Acne: the care you should expect

Acne is a skin condition that affects many people, most commonly teenagers and young adults. It causes spots and oily skin and can sometimes be painful to touch. Discussing and starting appropriate treatment and giving skin care advice is important, as having acne can be distressing and may lead to scarring.

We want this guideline to make a difference to people with acne by making sure that:

  • people receive the treatment most suited to their needs
  • there is clear guidance on when people should be referred to a specialist
  • people whose acne is affecting their mental health are able to discuss their concerns and get support
  • antibiotics are used appropriately and only for as long as they are needed, to reduce the risk of side effects and bacteria developing resistance to them in the future.

Making decisions together

Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. This guideline will help your healthcare professionals give you clear information, discuss your options and listen to your views and concerns.

To help you make decisions, think about:

  • What matters most to you – what do you want to get out of treatment?
  • What are you most worried about – are there downsides to the treatment that worry you more than others?
  • What will happen if you decide not to have any treatment?
  • How will the treatment affect your day-to-day life, and any other medicines you are taking? For example, medications for mental wellbeing and family planning (pregnancy).

If you cannot understand the information you are given, tell your healthcare professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

Where can I find out more?

The NHS website has more information about acne.

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

To share an experience of care you have received, contact your local Healthwatch.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by acne and staff who treat and support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-4148-3

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