The best and worst websites on acne

Dr Keith Barnard recommends various websites relating to acne

On overview of acne
The author of this article adopts a sensible and sympathetic approach to dealing with acne.

I like the simple touches such as reminding us to reassure patients of the misconceptions about the condition including the advice to apply treatment to unaffected skin to prevent new lesions, and not just to the spots themselves.

Propionibacterium acnes is discussed and the text includes several boxes that summarise treatment regimens and possible side-effects.

I also liked the section on resistant acne, which is often due to poor compliance or inadequate dosing. And there are a couple of helpful colour images.

Why go there
: difficult to better this.
Downside: none.
Information from: BMJ

Comedones are often associated with acne and the smaller ones are usually not a problem. But I can recall the satisfaction of removing some impressively sized ones and being thanked profusely for such a quick and simple procedure.

A troublesome blackhead in the wrong place can make life a misery for a teenager, and I think it’s worth being proactive in offering help, as many teenagers think you will laugh at them if they ask for treatment. Take a look at this brief summary for appropriate advice and excellent images.

Why go there: reminder of what you can do.
Downside: short on detail.
Information from: DermNet.

Advice for sufferers
If you just enter ‘acne’ into a search engine, you can get as many as 22 million hits. Yet, if you specify a charitable help organisation, the answers are really thin on the ground.

This site is colourful and lively, if you can work out how to navigate it. However, it contains very helpful advice delivered in a breezy style that should appeal to teenagers.

I don’t understand its association with the Acne Support Group, or if this is part of the same organisation. The Acne Support Group’s own website at borders on the abysmal.

Why go there: best of a poor bunch.
Downside: bad for navigating.
Information from:

Alternative treatment
This site is not selling herbal or other concoctions but an ‘Acne No More holistic system’. After screensful of guff you eventually find out that this is a book costing about £20.

But what a book, you are promised. It claims to be ‘the only holistic system in existence that will show you how to permanently cure your acne’. It is full of pages of hype and testimonials that I can’t believe anyone reads.

Why go there: I’m not sure.
Downside: hopelessly optimistic claims.
Information from:
Address: www.acnenomore. com

Dr Barnard is a former GP in Fareham, Hampshire

Website of the week
The diagnosis of acne really depends on looking at it — so you need to be aware of the various manifestations and degrees of severity, and to do that you can’t beat looking at lots of pictures.

The image shown here is an extreme example. These unsightly lesions are a form of keloid scarring at the site of previously severe acne, and serve as a reminder of what a devastating condition this can be, and that we should not dismiss it lightly. There are many high-quality images of all types of mild, moderate and severe acne on this website, and each picture is accompanied by a brief clinical summary.

Why go there: see the whole spectrum of the disease.
Downside: little other information.
Information from: DermAtlas

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