A lady with bad acne on her skin

A pharmacist’s advice for treating acne

Acne is not limited to teenagers; it is a common skin condition affecting people of all ages and skin types. A pharmacist from South Africa’s original courier pharmacy shares insights for addressing and treating acne at home.

“Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that pharmacists are often asked about, as most people experience pimples, blackheads or whiteheads at some point in their lives,” says pharmacist Jaco Fourie of Medipost Pharmacy

“Unfortunately, many people don’t realise that acne is made worse by scrubbing or overwashing, which can irritate the skin and lead to further infection. Through better understanding and the options available for treating it, acne can often be successfully resolved and prevented from recurring without the need for prescription medication. 

“Clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation cause acne. Infection in the skin’s pores develops into pimples and cysts, which can impact a young person’s self-confidence and leave lasting scarring,” he explains. 

Steps for a healthy complexion

Fourie says home acne treatment may involve several steps as part of a regular healthy skincare routine:

Step 1: “As the basis for a healthy complexion, use a gentle cleanser twice a day to remove excess oil, dirt and debris such as dead skin cells from the face,” he recommends. 

Step 2: Next, apply topical medications, such as those containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, to help unclog the pores and reduce inflammation that underlies redness and swelling. A selection of these is available for convenient courier delivery from Medpost.

“Benzoyl peroxide, contained in many over-the-counter acne treatments such as creams, gels and washes, works by penetrating the skin and releasing oxygen to create an environment that is hostile to acne-causing bacteria. It is usually applied directly to the affected areas of the skin and left on for a specified amount of time before being rinsed off,” Fourie explains.

“Salicylic acid works by entering the skin’s pores and dissolving dead skin cells and oil that can clog them. This helps prevent acne breakouts and promotes clearer skin. It is also effective in reducing inflammation and redness associated with acne. Salicylic acid is a type of beta-hydroxy acid commonly found in cleansers, toners and spot treatments.”

Step 3: Use a non-comedogenic moisturiser to hydrate the skin and prevent dryness and irritation. Look for products labelled ‘oil-free’ or ‘non-comedogenic’, which means the formulation will not block your pores. 

Step 4: Maintain the foundation of your skin health and reduce the severity of acne by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, drinking six to eight glasses of water per day, and reducing your stress levels. It is also important to avoid excessive sun exposure and smoking.

“Avoid picking or squeezing pimples, whiteheads or blackheads, as this can lead to scarring and infection. With the right skincare, the acne should heal and resolve within a few weeks,” says Fourie.

“If you aren’t noticing an improvement, it may be necessary to consult your doctor or dermatologist. For more severe cases of acne, your healthcare practitioner may also prescribe oral medications such as antibiotics or isotretinoin. Before taking any medication, it is important to inform your doctor and pharmacist if you may be pregnant or planning to have children in the near future,” he cautions. 

If you have a skin condition that requires prescription medication, your pharmacist can work with your healthcare provider to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment. We can also provide information on the potential side effects of these medications and how to manage them.”

Patients registered with Medipost Pharmacy can access pharmacy support in all official South African languages. This confidential telephonic service enables patients to discuss their health needs and medicine dispensed through Medipost Pharmacy with a properly qualified, registered professional in their home language. 

Medipost Pharmacy dispenses and delivers chronic and specialised medication, non-prescription medicines, skincare products, supplements, medical devices, wound care aids and other health supplies to any address in South Africa. 

“If you have any concerns about your skincare or require further information on treatment options, please don’t hesitate to speak with a pharmacist. There is no need to suffer in silence with acne or any other health concern, as there is often a solution. Pharmacists can guide you on the pharmacy options available and advise you to see your doctor or dermatologist if needed,” Fourie concludes.

Image credit: Freepik

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