Acne vulgaris (AV) is a very common inflammatory condition of the skin that affects as many as 90% of teenagers. Although generally seen as a mild problem that will clear in adult life, half will continue to have symptoms beyond their teens, although most will resolve by the age of 30.1 Mild cases may settle without lasting ill effects, but one in five people with more severe cases will develop nodules and cysts and may be left with permanent, unsightly scarring.2 This article focuses on of the management of severe AV and more moderate cases that have failed to respond to the topical treatments or oral antibiotics.
Nurses will frequently encounter patients with AV. Some people may be really worried and seeking help, while others, sometimes with quite severe problems, may be unconcerned. The nurse should take the opportunity to discuss the problems of AV, assess the effect it is having on the patient’s life and outline the treatments and possible complications if help is ignored.2