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6 ways to clear your acne

When you’re trying to control your acne, it can be daunting if you’re faced with a wide range of treatments that promise to clear up your skin, unclog your pores and reduce bacterial growth. Read on for our handy guide to some of the most popular and effective treatments.

Benzoyl peroxide

Commonly found in creams and lotions used to target mild acne, this organic compound works by killing acne bacteria and soothing inflammation. Available from pharmacies, it has a drying effect on pore-blocking skin oil (sebum) and gets rids of bacteria in the pores.

Salicylic acid

Usually used for mild acne, salicylic acid helps to clear clogged pores and prevent inflammation. Unlike benzoyl peroxide, it does not kill bacteria or reduce the production of sebum but it has a gentler effect that is less drying on the skin.

Vitamin A retinoid gel or cream  

Topically applied, vitamin A creams or gels help clear blackheads and whiteheads by unblocking pores and reducing the production of sebum. It can cause skin sensitivity to sunlight as well as mild irritation.

Azelaic acid           

Used over the course of at least a month, Azelaic acid works to kill bacteria whilst unblocking pores. It does not increase skin sensitivity to sunlight like Benzoyl Peroxide or Vitamin A products.


For mild to severe acne, your GP may prescribe antibiotics to be used in combination with other treatments. It can take six weeks to see an improvement and due to antibiotic resistance, they can only be for up to 6 months.


A more powerful form of retinoid creams, these capsules or tablets, can only be prescribed by a dermatologist for severe forms of acne.

In combination with simple changes to your skincare routine, many symptoms of acne can be improved when combined with some of these treatments.

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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.