oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - Evidence-based pharmacy practice (EBPP) : acne vulgaris : review

Volume 76, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 2221-5875
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1017



Acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous follicles causing comedones, papules and pustules on the face, chest and upper back. It affects virtually all adolescents, to varying degrees of severity, and usually appears at the time of puberty. Although it may sometimes be unsightly and can persist for several years, it is not usually serious and resolves in most patients by the age of 25 years. However, it can have a significant psychological impact as it affects young people at a stage in their lives when they are especially sensitive about their appearance.

Diagnosis is usually straightforward and most patients presenting in a community pharmacy will generally be seeking appropriate advice on correct product selection rather than wanting someone to put a name on their rash. The majority of cases seen in the pharmacy setting will be mild and can be managed appropriately without referral. More persistent and severe cases need referral for more potent topical or systemic treatment. It is important to note that all forms of acne can cause scarring.

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