Interview transcription:

We interviewed Dr Penelope Pratsou to learn about the best treatments for acne.

There are many treatments for acne, but what is considered the best treatment?

Penelope Pratsou: As you’ve said, there are several treatments for acne, but it depends on the type of acne you’ve got and how severe it is. If you came to me and you’d not previously had any treatment for your acne, we might start with a topical preparation. There’s plenty of topical preparations that can be very helpful. If that didn’t help or you’d had that before, then I’d want to start you on a course of antibiotics for three to six months. Antibiotics are certainly not needed in the long-term.

If you came to me and you’d had all those treatments before, then, in reality, the next best treatment option would be Roaccutane or isotretinoin. This is a very different type of treatment to antibiotics that is derived from vitamin A, also known as a retinoid. It is much more of a heavy-duty treatment so you would need a lot of monitoring. We’d need to have a good discussion and understanding of why you’re going on this treatment, and it would be a course of five or six months. However, the results are excellent, and it helps to clear acne for good in nine out of ten cases. It is to date, the best treatment that we can offer for acne.

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Will Roaccutane or isotretinoin clear severe acne?

Penelope Pratsou: That’s what’s it’s made for. It was made for severe acne that can scar. However, nowadays we would also use it in acne that’s not responding to other types of treatment. In the right individual of course.

If you notice that you have any of the symptoms or conditions that we’ve just discussed, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr Penelope Pratsou where she’ll be able to assess your condition and give you a treatment plan.

About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

Learn more about me