My acne is getting worse, what should I do?

Our Consultant Dermatologist, Malvina Cunningham explains what to do if your skin is getting worse and how to deal with it.

Along your acne treatment journey, it’s normal to experience some setbacks along the way – it’s not always totally straightforward. Our Dermatology Support team is always here to guide you through the different common side effects you might experience, and offer advice and support along the way.

 Multiple factors can cause your acne to get worse:

  • Acne flaring – it’s completely normal for acne to fluctuate in severity over time so worsening may be an acne flare.
  • Purging – can happen with ingredients that increase cell turnover usually when you first start using them. When this happens, it can take around six weeks to clear up again.
  • Hormonal changes – around the time of your period, pregnancy, changes to medications that affect your hormones can all influence your acne and lead to flare-ups.
  • Skincare – applying the wrong skincare (e.g. if oily skin type and applying heavy moisturiser containing comedogenic ingredients such as oils) can lead to worsening of your acne.
  • Stress, lack of sleep, smoking, diet can all influence acne too.

Prescription skin treatments can take time to work, so patience (we know, it’s hard!) and consistency are key to achieving the best results. We recommend you follow our stripped back skincare routine advice (see ‘My Routine’ when logged into your account).

If your break out is severe (painful spots or nodules) or you would like further support from the Prescriber then please email us at