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Acne vulgaris affects more than 90% of Australian adolescents aged 16–18 years. It may have a significantly deleterious effect on their self-esteem and emotional state. Moderate-to-severe acne can lead to scarring. There are many treatment options available. Most teenagers obtain information from their peers or from the internet.
The aim of this article is to inform general practitioners (GPs) of the pathogenesis, physiology and description of acne, as well as therapeutic options, including topical and systemic therapies. Skin care, diet and other factors of importance are also discussed.
The first point of contact with patients is in general practice. GPs effectively manage most patients with acne. Treatment choice is guided by experience, with many clinical acne treatment guidelines available. The most common reason for treatment failure is insufficient duration of therapy. Successful treatments require months of topical agents and, in many cases, additional systemic therapies. Internationally, there is a resurgence in the basic research of acne vulgaris, leading to new topical and systemic treatments.