It is estimated that around 80% of adolescents and young adults (aged 11-30) experience acne to some degree. Acne typically begins around the age of 12-14, and often even earlier in girls. Both genders are affected equally. Acne usually resolves by the 30s, but in some cases, it can persist longer.

What is acne?

Acne itself is a fairly simple concept. Humans have small sebaceous glands that lubricate the hair follicles with a natural oil called sebum. Too much of this, combined with dead skin cells, can clog a follicle. The clogged follicle can bulge out into a white dot, or develop into a blackhead. Normal skin bacteria can then spread, and you get a papule, a pustule or a nodule – basically an inflamed small infection. This is acne.

In general, acne is divided into four groups based on how severely it is affected: mild, moderate, moderate to severe and severe. Furthermore, acne can be categorized as comedonal acne, papulopustular acne, cystic acne or deep acne, depending on the form in which it occurs. Acne can, in addition to the physical effect, also have a strong psychological effect on the patient, and can therefore be associated with ailments such as anxiety and depression.

First acne treatment

The general practitioners at Dr. Dropin can help you with the initial assessment of acne, and initiate any local treatment and/or antibiotics.

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Moderate to severe acne

If you have moderate to severe acne or acne with scarring and have previously tried topical treatments and antibiotics without achieving results, a dermatologist can help you. You can seek assistance from a dermatologist through a video consultation or by visiting a Dr.Dropin dermatology clinic.

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Why do you get acne?

The causes of acne development are complex, and often a combination of getting into puberty and the hormones changing, the skin changing - it becomes more oily and you get changes as described in the article. Inheritance also comes into play.

Can acne be contagious?

No, acne is not contagious. The bacterium that helps to aggravate acne is a bacterium that is normally found on our skin, but with acne, it causes a gateway to create infection and an environment is formed in which it thrives well.

What can I do to prevent/reduce acne breakouts?

What you can do yourself is to be good at washing your face with soap and soap/cleansers that are gentle on the skin and have a pH of around 6.5, use mild products with little fat in them, avoid taking too much on your face and do not scratch up the acne elements. If you have received local treatment from your doctor, it is important to apply this all over your face, and not just where there is an outbreak.

Is it dangerous to go on antibiotics as long as one does with acne treatment?

It is not dangerous, but one is anxious about the development of resistance to antibiotics, which means that your own bacteria in the body learn to recognize this antibiotic and develop defence mechanisms so that the antibiotic no longer works.

I'm pregnant, can I still get treatment for acne?

Yes, you can. But it is a part of the preparations you should not use so it is important to consult a doctor and inform that you are pregnant, then the doctor will find the right treatment that is safe for both you and the child.

Author: doctor Martine Hallin Henriksen

Last updated: 16.10.2020

Reading time: 5-6 minutes


Andersen K.E., Lomholt H.B., Thestrup-Pedersen K., Wulf H.C. (2018), Clinical Dermatology and Venereology, Oslo, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS, pages 71-74

Hunskår, S. (2017), General Medicine, 3rd edition, Oslo, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS, pages 587-589

Norwegian Electronic Medical Handbook, (2020), Acne, (online), available from:, retrieved on 16.10. 2020