If you are unfamiliar with the various treatment options then visit the NHS website page on acne. Remember to always discuss over-the-counter treatment with your local pharmacist so they can check if it is suitable for your condition and safe for you to take.

Treatment for acne depends on how severe your condition is. If you have a few spots that are not severe, then you could treat them successfully with over-the-counter medication. Your pharmacy should be able to advise you on the most suitable product. Below is a list of some common topical treatments that you could use.

The following acne treatments are available over the counter from your pharmacist

Benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl perozide works like an antiseptic to reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin and thereby reducing spots. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect. It is available as a cream or gel and needs to be used regularly for about 4-6 weeks. Side effects include dryness, burning, itching or stinging sensation when used.

Active ingredient Brands
Benzoyl peroxide Oxy 10
Oxy on the spot
Panoxyl Aquagel 10
Panoxyl Aquagel 2.5
Panoxyl Aquagel 5

Nicotinamide 4%

Nicotinamide has an anti-inflammatory effect which can help reduce spots in mild forms of acne. Side effects include dry skin, irritation, burning, itching and redness.

Active ingredient Brands
Nicotinamide 4% Freederm gel
Freederm treatment gel
Nicam gel

Salicyclic acid 2%

Salicylic acid helps unblock pores thereby improving spots and preventing further ones from developing. Salicyclic acid doesn't kill bacteria or change the amount of oil your skin produces. It needs to be used regularly for it to be effective.

Active ingredient Brands
Salicyclic acid 2% Acnisal 2% cuteneous solution

Over-the-counter treatments listed on this page are available at your local pharmacy. Find your closest pharmacy below.