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Acne Treatment Guide For Men

by Dr Don Grant (MB ChB DRCOG MRCGP Dip Orth Med)

Dr Don Grant is a GP with over 30 years experience and is the Clinical Advisor at The Independent Pharmacy

We all get spots from time to time. It’s a common occurrence and one that, while annoying, is a minor headache. 

Acne is different. While many of us have suffered from acne at some stage of your life (you may even be dealing with an outbreak of acne right now), not everyone feels comfortable seeking treatment for it. 

In this article, we cover the various different treatments that can help men suffering from acne. 


Talking about acne

Acne is a skin condition that causes those suffering from it to develop spots, oily skin, and find that their skin is either hot or painful when touched. 

It is most common among young adults and teenagers, with approximately 80% of 11-30 year olds suffering from acne at some stage between those ages. The most common time for men to be affected is from age 16-19.

While most men suffer from acne during the early stage of their adulthood, you can still be afflicted by it throughout your life – around 1% of men aged over 25 are suffering from acne as of April 2016. 


What does acne look like? 

There are six primary forms of acne: 

  • Blackheads: so-called because of the pigmentation produced by the inner lining of hair follicles, these are small black or yellow spots.
  • Cysts: these are large, pus-filled spots that appear the same as boils. They are the most extreme example of acne and have the highest risk of permanent scarring.
  • Nodules: these are large lumps that build up under the surface of your skin. They are hard and you may find them painful
  • Papules: little red lumps which you find sore and tender.
  • Pustules: like papules, but with a white, puss filled, tip at their centre.
  • Whiteheads: like blackheads, but firmer and with a white, rather than black, colouration.


What causes acne? 

Acne is most often caused by changes in your hormone levels – this being why it is most common in teens and younger adults. 

Acne is also genetic, meaning that if your parents suffered from acne then you have a greater chance of being affected by it. 


What treatments are available for men? 

There is plenty of acne care for men and the treatment you use will depend on the severity of your acne. There are both prescription and non-prescription options available, and many treatments can be bought online. 

The level of severity of your acne can be broken down into 4 treatment categories

  • Minimal
  • Mild
  • Moderate 
  • Severe 

If you have acne which is minimal to mild then the following treatments are available: 

These medications all need to be taken for a minimum of 6-8 weeks, Panoxyl, Quinoderm, and Acnecide all requiring up to 6 months to take full effect. 

If you have spots which have black or whiteheads, but which are not inflamed, then you may look to get a prescription for the following treatments: 

If you have spots which are inflamed and angry, or you have papules, then you may wish to try: 

If you are experiencing acne which is at a moderate level, where you have over 30 spots, then you will require oral antibiotic acne treatment. Among the best men’s acne products in this category are: 

If you have severe acne, this being if you have scarring, cysts, or over 125 spots, it is advised that you seek a face-to-face consultation from a doctor. They may then refer you on to a specialist, who will be able to discuss the further treatment available to you. 


Suffering from acne can affect more than just your skin: it can leave you feeling insecure, bereft of confidence, and a shell of yourself. If you are a man suffering from acne then seek advice from a registered professional and establish what is the best course of treatment for you. 

Authored By:

A photo of Dr Donald Grant

Dr Donald Grant

MB ChB DRCOG MRCGP Dip.orth.med

Published on: 30-01-2018

Last modified on: 30-01-2020

Dr Don Grant is a GP with over 30 years experience and is the Clinical Advisor at The Independent Pharmacy

Reviewed By:

A photo of  Scott McDougall

Scott McDougall


Reviewed on: 30-01-2020

Next review date: 30-01-2022

Scott is one of the two founders of The Independent Pharmacy. He is a registered pharmacist and the registered manager of our service with the CQC.

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