Acne in GP (new Nice guideline, 2021)

4th October 2021 by Dr Louise Hudman

Acne in GP (new Nice guideline, 2021)

This is a new guideline from NICE on managing acne. Interestingly, this is the first time that NICE has developed a guideline on acne. It was published in June. BMJ have also produced an excellent infographic.

What is new for GPs in this guideline?

The fundamentals of how we manage acne aren’t any different here, but there are a few little bits that they are advising we do differently. I will list the changes, then do a more in-depth summary of the management below.

The following advice was new for me, or I felt maybe new for some colleagues:

  • Advise patients to use a ‘syndet’ (synthetic detergent) cleansing product twice daily on areas that are acne-prone.
  • We should start by offering combination products, rather than offering single products. The evidence suggests that this is more effective, even for mild acne. I have listed the advised treatment options below, but there are no medications that we don’t already routinely use.
  • If the acne completely clears after a 12-week course of oral antibiotics plus a topical treatment, then consider stopping the oral antibiotic but continuing the topical treatment.
  • Only continue oral antibiotic treatment beyond six months in exceptional circumstances. It should then be reviewed every 3m and stopped as soon as possible.
  • If a patient has scarring that persists for a year after their acne has cleared, then refer to dermatology.

NICE’s acne terminology

Read more

No credit card details needed – it takes two minutes.

Join free trial


Already a member? Login to view this content.


"I was delighted to have been invited to join GP locum chambers. I enjoy great peer support from my colleagues via our monthly meetings, which has been helpful to me discussing some specific things that arise with GP locum working.

I have found LocumDeck really straightforward to use and immensely helpful; in particular invoicing and the pension forms A and B has cut down my admin time dramatically, which I’m pleased about. The support from NASGP's membership support manager, is excellent, friendly and knowledgeable.

NASGP membership brings with it a host of benefits, including a range of excellent materials to draw on for support and learning. I would recommend NASGP chambers to anyone working or thinking of working as a GP locum."

Dr Chloe Evans, Oxford

Dr Chloe Evans, Oxford

See the full list of features within our NASGP membership plans