Doctors Fear 'Super Acne' As Condition Becomes Resistant To Antibiotics

Experts say medication should only be used short-term.

06/07/2016 13:23

Doctors have warned that patients could soon be suffering with “super acne” as current treatments for the skin condition becomes less effective.

Acne is fast becoming resistant to antibiotic medication as GPs are prescribing tablets to patients for long durations of time, rather than as a short-term solution.

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The super-strain would mean that in the future acne becomes completely untreatable.

The study was released at the British Association of Dermatologist’s Annual Conference.

Research found that on average patients were on antibiotics for six-and-a-half months before being referred to a dermatologist.

Medical professionals are now being told that if antibiotics don’t work after three months (half the current average treatment time) then patients should be referred to a skin specialist instead.

Researcher Dr Heather Whitehouse told the conference: "Antibiotics remain an important part of acne management but given concerns about antibiotic resistance we should be using antibiotics judiciously as part of a treatment regime - limited to the shortest possible time period."

Dr Whitehouse added that GPs should see this study as "an important warning". 


In 2013, Dr Patrick Bowler from the British College of Aesthetic Medicine, told The Huffington Post UK: “In many areas of the world more than 50% of acne bacteria are resistant to the antibiotics used to treat acne, with rates continuing to rise.”

The NHS defines acne as a common skin condition that affects “most people” at some point; 5% of women in the UK and 1% of men over 25 suffer with “adult acne”.

Acne happens when your pores (tiny holes in the skin) become blocked.

The NHS says the causes of these blockages can be varied, including hormones, smoking, cosmetic products, medications and genetics can all be to blame.

Antibiotic-resistant acne is not the only concern for doctors; a report published in May by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance warned that by 2050 “superbugs” will kill someone every three seconds due to the threat of antibiotic resistance.

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