Acne treatment

Antibiotic or retinoid creams, gels and lotions, plus antibiotic capsules to treat acne available to buy online from Dr Fox.

Read medical information and answer medical questions to buy treatment online.

Selecting medication

All medicine supplied is UK licensed.

lymecycline

Lymecycline (antibiotic)

28-84 capsules from £14.80

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zineryt

Zineryt lotion (erythromycin)

30-90mls from £14.20

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duac gel

Duac (benzoyl peroxide 3% & clindamycin 1%)

30-90gms from £19.50

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differin

Differin cream & gel (adapalene 0.1%)

45-90gms from £22.00

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Epiduo gel

Epiduo gel (benzoyl peroxide 2.5% & adapalene 0.1%)

45-135gms from £26.20

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Prices

Acne treatment Quantity Cost
Zineryt (erythromycin in solution) 30mls £14.20
Zineryt (erythromycin in solution) 90mls (1 x 90mls) £30.00
Differin cream (adapalene 0.1%) 45 grams £22.00
Differin cream (adapalene 0.1%) 90 grams (2 x 45 grams) £39.00
Differin gel (adapalene 0.1%) 45 grams £22.00
Differin gel (adapalene 0.1%) 90 grams (2 x 45 grams) £39.00
Duac gel (benzoyl peroxide 3% and clindamycin 1%) 30 grams £17.95
Duac gel (benzoyl peroxide 3% and clindamycin 1%) 60 grams (1 x 60 grams) £34.10
Epiduo gel (benzoyl peroxide 2.5% and adapalene 0.1%) 45 grams £24.90
Epiduo gel (benzoyl peroxide 2.5% and adapalene 0.1%) 90 grams (2 x 45 grams) £44.20
Epiduo gel (benzoyl peroxide 2.5% and adapalene 0.1%) 135 grams (3 x 45 grams) £66.00
Lymecycline 408mg 28 capsules £13.80
Lymecycline 408mg 84 capsules £31.00

Price match guaranteePrice match guarantee
Prescription issued online - small prescription fee per order.

Compare prices: Dr Fox prices are 25%-50% lower cost than other online clinics.

Prescription fees

Dr Fox supplies medicine on prescription and charges a small prescription fee based on the order value of each prescription.

Prescriptions are issued by our doctors online and sent electronically to our pharmacy.

Order value Prescription fee
up to £10 £1.00
up to £20 £2.00
up to £40 £3.00
over £40 £4.00

If you have your own private or NHS paper prescription please post to our pharmacy (details).

Dr Fox prices are 25%–50% lower than other UK online clinics.

Comparative costs of acne treatments from UK online clinics (22 June 2020) - qualifying notes
*Dr Fox adds a small prescription fee not included in table above.
  1. The prices shown are listed by the online clinics named after a customer first enters consultation information and is offered prescriptions. It is possible these clinics may have special offers or lower prices for repeat supplies.
  2. Prices may change and are, to the best of our knowledge, accurate on the date stated. All products in stock and new condition.
  3. Dr Fox does NOT claim to provide a superior service to any of the online clinics listed. All the clinics listed, as far as we can tell, comply with all regulation and, as far as we can tell, operate to high ethical standards.
  4. Dr Fox adds a small prescription fee not included in the table (between £1 and £4 depending on value of the order).
  5. To amend the information in this table please contact us
  6. The prices listed in the table do not identify the cost of prescription medicine as online clinics charge a single fee to cover services which includes advice, consultations, prescriptions and dispensing and supply of treatments.
  7. Where services include free delivery this is using the slowest delivery option available. Dr Fox uses Royal Mail Tracked 24.
Treatment Dr Fox* Pharmacy2U Superdrug Oxford Online Pharmacy
Zineryt 30ml £14.20 £23.00 £20.00 £22.99
Differin cream 45gm £22.00 £35.00 n/a £34.99
Epiduo gel 45gm £24.90 £38.00 £49.00 £40.00
Lymecycline 408mg x 84 £31.00 £45.00 n/a £44.99
UK delivery £2.90 £3.45 included £2.95

Delivery charges

UK delivery only: £2.90 per consultation via Royal Mail 24 Signed For (1-3 working days with tracking).

Parcel forwarding services are not permitted. Use only UK home or work delivery address.

Returns and refunds - unwanted items can be returned within 14 working days for a full refund.

Medical information

Written and reviewed by a team of doctors. Dr Fox is regulated by the CQC & GPhC.

Acne is common, potentially distressing, but is usually treatable.

Many young people have some acne, usually lasting about 4-5 years, although acne is not uncommon in adults and can last longer. The face is the most commonly affected area, although it can also occur on the chest and back and less frequently on the buttocks and in other places.

Acne is often triggered by hormonal changes especially at puberty. Oil-producing glands in the skin are sensitive to hormone balance. Too much of the oily secretions (sebum), combined with shed skin cells, blocks pores and leads to acne.

Blackheads and whiteheads develop. The acne bacteria (cutibacterium acnes) grow in the blocked pores leading to inflammation, pustules, and cysts.

Severe acne with pustules, nodules, and scarring needs to be assessed with a doctor face-to-face and possible specialist referral.

Acne is not the same as rosacea, which sometimes appears similar, although there are no blackheads with pure rosacea.

Untreated, acne usually clears up without scarring. Acne can be treated with non-prescription skin preparations (creams, gels, and solutions) bought from chemists/pharmacies or alternatively with prescription skin (topical) preparations and prescription tablets/capsules, including antibiotics.

Acne treatment from Dr Fox

Dr Fox does NOT supply medicines for under 18s.

Dr Fox is able to supply a range of prescription-only topical preparations (Differin, Zineryt, Duac, and Epiduo) and antibiotic capsules (lymecycline) for the treatment of acne. Some acne treatments are not available from Dr Fox, particularly isotretinoin (Roaccutane) and specialist contraceptive pills such as Dianette, Yasmin, Eloine, or Mercilon.

Treatment is usually stepwise, starting with lower strength topical preparations applied to the skin, moving on to combination topical preparations. Topical treatments should be continued if starting antibiotics (capsules or topical) as they continue to work alongside the antibiotic.

Dr Fox acne treatment plan

See a doctor face-to-face for diagnosis and advice before you start treatment.

Start at the step closest to your acne type. Try each step for 8-12 weeks before moving to the next step if acne is not improving. Apply skin treatments to all the affected skin, not just the spots.


Step 1: Mild acne

Start with non-prescription benzoyl peroxide topical preparations bought from chemists/pharmacies without prescriptions. Apply every night. Topical benzoyl peroxide is not available from Dr Fox.

See NHS - Benzoyl peroxide.


Step 2: Mainly blackheads

Stop other treatments. Apply Differin every night.


Step 3: Blackheads and whiteheads

Stop other treatments.

  • A: Swap to a combination treatment, either Epiduo or Duac every night.
  • Optional B: Try the other Step 3a treatment (either Epiduo or Duac every night).
  • Optional C: Zineryt solution twice daily.

Step 4: Blackheads, whiteheads, inflammation, infection, pustules, and cysts

Add lymecycline capsules in the mornings and continue to use Epiduo (but not Duac or Zineryt) at night.


Step 5: Active scarring (especially in skin of colour), severe distress

Consult your own GP without delaying. Further options include contraceptive pills (for women) and referral to a specialist dermatologist to consider Roaccutane (isotretinoin) capsule treatment.


When to stop treatment

If oral antibiotic capsules (lymecycline) or topical antibiotics (Zineryt, Duac) are used long-term (more than 3 months), bacteria may possibly build-up resistance, and treatment can become less effective. Dr Fox doctors are likely to decline orders for repeats of antibiotics beyond 3 months.

Once acne clears up, usually after 4-6 months, try stopping treatment. It can always be restarted if the acne comes back.

Ordering online

You must read the manufacturer's 'patient information leaflets' (links below) before ordering.

You will need to complete a short medical questionnaire before ordering.

Sometimes different topical preparations contain the same active ingredients. Some topical preparations contain two active ingredients. You should not usually use more than one topical treatment at the same time, without discussing this with a doctor.

  • Differin - retinoid
  • Epiduo - retinoid with peeling agent (benzoyl peroxide)
  • Zineryt - antibiotic
  • Duac - antibiotic with peeling agent (benzoyl peroxide)

Antibiotic casules (e.g. lymecycline) should be taken whilst using topical Differin, and Epiduo, but should NOT be taken whilst using Zineryt or Duac (topical antibiotics).

Multiple ordering

After the consultation you can choose your order option, although it is not possible to order more than one item per consultation. This is for medical reasons as above.

If more than one item is required, a separate questionnaire must be completed for each item.

If more than one item has been ordered, you should message the doctors from your account to explain why.

If the doctors approve more than one item, email info@doctorfox.co.uk or message from your account and we will refund additional postage and consultation fees.

Declined orders are automatically refunded.

Diagnosis of acne

It is important that people obtaining treatment online for acne have previously seen a doctor about it. There are other causes of spots and rashes apart from acne. These other skin problems might require investigations, and might not respond to acne treatment. In some rare cases acne is associated with hormonal disturbance requiring investigation. This is rare. Women with acne and facial hirsutism, and irregular periods should be checked for polycystic ovaries.

How long to use treatment

Creams, solutions, or gels and antibiotic capsules for acne take time before they start to work, usually at least 8 weeks and sometimes up to 4 months. It is best to use one new treatment at a time, and allow 8 weeks of continuous treatment before switching to, or adding a new one. If a treatment works well, stick with it.

The best response to treatment is usually seen after 3 to 6 months. If acne has completely gone or is very much improved after 3 to 6 months, treatment should be stopped. Treatment may need to be restarted if the acne comes back. Sometimes maintenance long-term treatment may be needed, possibly with lower or less frequent amounts being required.

If antibiotic capsules (lymecycline) or topical antibiotics (Zineryt, Duac) are used long-term (more than 3 months), bacteria may possibly build-up resistance, and treatment can become less effective.

If there is no improvement or a worsening of acne after 8 weeks, a different treatment can be tried, or a new acne treatment can be added.

What else can help improve acne?

  • Avoid oil based cosmetics and hair products/pomades.
  • Remove all makeup at night.
  • Use a neutral or slightly acid skin cleanser twice daily, but do not clean skin excessively.
  • Do not pick and scratch spots as it leads to scarring.
  • UV light can be of help, preferably sunlight filtered through window glass.
  • Some people find improvement by following a low-glycaemic diet.
    • Increasing the consumption of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic.
    • Decreasing the consumption of high-glycaemic index foods such as sugar, biscuits, cakes, ice creams, and bottled drinks.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid humid conditions, e.g saunas, tropical holidays, working in hot steamy kitchens.

Some medications can cause or aggravate acne. These include

  • Lithium
  • Ciclosporin
  • Topical and oral corticosteroids
  • Phenytoin and carbamazepine
  • Isoniazid
  • Progesterone in female contraceptives
  • Vitamin B1, B6, and B12
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Iodides taken orally, which may be part of some homoeopathic therapies.

Consult your GP before stopping prescribed medications.

Treatments available from Dr Fox for acne

Differin - topical retinoid

Retinoids are good at unplugging blocked pores. They can cause irritation particularly at the start of treatment. Irritation can be reduced by starting treatment on alternate days, and building up to the prescribed dose as tolerated.

Differin comes as a gel or a cream containing the retinoid, adapalene. It is applied to the skin once daily, usually at night. See the manufacturer's 'patient information leaflet' of Differin Gel and Differin Cream for details, including how to use, side effects and cautions.

Differin Gel Patient Leaflet
Differin Cream Patient Leaflet

Epiduo - combination topical treatment

Can cause irritation particularly at the start of treatment. Irritation can be reduced by starting treatment on alternate days, and building up to the prescribed dose as tolerated.

Epiduo is a gel containing the retinoid adapalene combined with peeling agent benzoyl peroxide, 2.5%. It is applied once daily. See the manufacturer's 'patient information leaflet' for details, including how to use, side effects, and cautions.

Epiduo Gel Patient Leaflet

Zineryt & Duac - topical antibiotics for acne

Acne is associated with infection of the skin which can be reduced by applying creams, lotions or gels which contain antibiotics. Topical antibiotics should NOT be used at the same time as taking antibiotic capsules (lymecycline).

Topical antibiotics are not normally recommended for more than 3 months at a time because antibiotic resistance could build-up, although Zineryt and Duac are less prone to antibiotic resistance than other topical antibiotics.

Zineryt contains the antibiotic erythromycin in solution. It is usually applied twice daily. See the manufacturer's patient information leaflet of Zineryt for details, including how to use, side effects, and cautions.
Zineryt Patient Leaflet

Please note: pharmacists are required to pre-mix Zineryt before posting, and once constituted the solution has an 8-week shelf life.

Duac is a gel which contains the antibiotic clindamycin combined with peeling agent benzoyl peroxide. See the manufacturer's 'patient information leaflet' for details, including how to use, side effects, and cautions.
Duac Gel 3% Patient Leaflet

Lymecycline 408mg - antibiotic capsules for acne

Lymecycline 408mg capsules contain a tetracycline-type antibiotic which also has anti-inflammatory effects. The dose used to treat acne is usually one capsule daily. Lymecycline should not normally be taken continuously for more than 3 months because this increases the chances of antibiotic resistance.

Lymecycline should NOT be taken whilst using Zineryt or Duac (topical antibiotics).

See the manufacturer's 'patient information leaflet' of Lymecycline 408mg for details, including how to use, side effects and cautions.

Lymecycline 408mg Patient Leaflet

Acne treatments compared

Product Form How many times a day? Dr Fox treatment plan Type of treatment Active ingredient(s)
Differin Gel/cream Once Step 2 Retinoid Adapalene
Epiduo Gel Once Step 3 Retinoid and peeling agent Adapalene, benzoyl peroxide
Duac Gel Once Step 3 Antibiotic and peeling agent Clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide
Zineryt Lotion Twice Step 3 Antibiotic Erythromycin, zinc
Lymecycline Capsules Once Step 4 Antibiotic Lymecycline

Antibiotic guardianship

Antibiotic Guardian logo

To combat antibiotic resistance please:

  • Only use antibiotics when needed
  • Never share antibiotics
  • Always complete course as instructed
  • Take unused medicine to local pharmacy for disposal

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Dr Fox supplies acne treatment on prescription - you are required to answer a short medical questionnaire before your order can be completed.

Dr Barbara Babor

Authored 31 October 2013 by Dr B. Babor
MB ChB Dundee University 1996. NHS GP in Bristol.

Reviewed by Dr Tony Steele, Dr A. Wood, Dr P. Hunt
Last reviewed 06 October 2021
Last updated 20 October 2021

References

  1. Medical questions
  2. Choose treatment
  3. Complete order

IMPORTANT
It is not possible to order more than one item per consultation. This is for medical reasons.
If more than one item is required, a separate consultation must be completed for each item.
If more than one item has been ordered, you should message the doctors to explain why.
If the doctors approve more than one item on separate consultations, email info@doctorfox.co.uk or send message from your account and we will refund additional postage and consultation fees. Declined items are automatically refunded.
Zineryt supplied premixed.

Answer medical questions to order(acne)

Have you read the important acne medical information in full?

If you do not understand the medical information please do NOT order.
If more information is required, discuss with your own GP, or email or message our doctors BEFORE ordering.

Have you seen a doctor face-to-face and been diagnosed with acne?

Have you read the manufacturer’s ‘patient information leaflet’ for the treatment you require?

See links to these leaflets on the medical information section. Read the leaflet(s) BEFORE ordering.

Are you aware you should NOT USE more than one of the SAME TYPE of topical treatments at the SAME TIME?

  • Zineryt - antibiotic
  • Differin - retinoid
  • Epiduo - anti-inflammatory with retinoid
  • Duac - antibiotic with peeling agent (benzoyl peroxide)

Are you aware lymecycline antibiotic capsules should not be taken whilst using Zineryt or Duac (topical antibiotics)?

Lymecycline can be taken whilst using Differin and Epiduo.

Are you aware lymecycline capsules should be used with topical Differin, Epiduo, or over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide at the same time?

This reduces the chance of antibiotic resistance.

Are you aware that antibiotic treatments (lymecycline, Zineryt, Duac) should not normally be used continuously for more than 3 months?

If used for longer there is an increased risk of antibiotic resistance.

Are you aware it usually takes 8 weeks or more of continuous usage for treatments to work?

If there is no improvement after 3 months, treatment should be stopped or changed.

Are you aware, if acne has cleared-up, treatment should be stopped or reduced after 4-6 months?

Are you aware you should see your GP if acne is scarring or getting worse?

Are you allergic to the treatment you plan to order?

Zineryt (erythromycin, clindamycin, clarithromycin, azithromycin), Differin (adapalene), Epiduo (adapalene with benzoyl peroxide), Duac (clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide), lymecycline (tetracycline).

Are you aware the following treatments should NOT be used if you are pregnant?

  • Differin
  • Epiduo
  • Lymecycline
  • Duac

Details can be found in the 'patient information leaflets'.

Are you planning to use Duac or lymecycline whilst breastfeeding?

Differin, Epiduo, and Zineryt can be used whilst breastfeeding but should not be applied to the chest.

Are you aware topical treatments containing retinoids and peeling agents (Differin, Epiduo, Duac) can cause irritation?

Irritation can be reduced by starting treatment on alternate days, and building up to the prescribed dose as tolerated.

Are you ordering lymecycline capsules and have been diagnosed with liver or kidney disease, systemic lupus erythematosus or myasthenia gravis, OR are taking Roaccutane or lithium?

Do you have any further medical information or questions?

Is there anything you do not understand or do you need further help?

Do the following apply to you?

  • The medication is for my own use and I will not share with anyone else
  • I will read the patient information leaflet supplied with the medication
  • I am over 18 and I agree to identity verification checks
  • I have completed this questionnaire myself and fully understand all the information
  • My responses are honest and accurate, and I understand that this is necessary for a safe medical assessment
  • I agree to the terms & conditions, privacy policy, & data sharing policy

The order process

Answer short medical questionnaire

Choose medication, register, and pay

Doctor issues prescription online

Pharmacy team post medication direct


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