How to deal with acne on the face, neck, and arms?

Q. How to deal with acne on the face, neck, back, and arms, and rough face with large pores or holes?

Answered by
Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 18, 2022 and last reviewed on: Oct 11, 2023

Hi doctor,

I am a female, and I have acne on my face, neck, back, and arms. My face is rough and has large pores or holes. I have been using CeraVe SA cleanser, a simple moisturizing cleanser, good molecules brightening toner, and Biore UV sunscreen for about a month. But I have stopped using them now because my face is not getting better.



Welcome to

I hope you are doing well.

After going through the information provided from your end, the acne vulgaris treatment that you are currently using may trigger further pimples or acne formation due to the presence of multiple skin care products, including toners and sunscreens. Sunscreens have a tendency to cause clogging of the pores on the skin due to their thickness and heavy consistency, even though they are considered to be for acne-prone skin. It is always advised to refrain from using skin care products, including moisturizers and sunscreens, and toners or serums, when they are active acne.

The cause of acne is multifold, including genetic susceptibility when there is a history of a similar condition that runs within the family and gets transmitted genetically, due to stress, due to hormonal variations within one's body, especially in androgen levels as well as female hormone levels. Other underlying conditions like PCOS, which is a polycystic ovarian syndrome, may also lead to hormonal variations, which cause changes in the oil secretion within the skin and triggers bacterial growth, which is already present on the skin, causing the formation of acne. In order to rule out PCOS, I would like to advise you to consult a gynecologist in person. Apart from the same, using skin care products, climate changes, and dietary changes add to the causes of acne.

My advice :

1. Duac 2.5 gel (Clindamycin Phosphate) - may be used in the morning on the affected acne spots. They have anti-bacterial properties and help in reducing the inflammation associated with acne. They may be used for months together

2. Skinoren 20% cream (Azelaic Acid) - is a great way to reduce acne. They are very strong and are to be used with caution. Initially, you may start using them on alternate nights, and after four weeks of treatment may be used every night. The smallest quantity, which is almost a grain of rice quantity, may be applied in a very thin layer on the affected acne spots only and is to be left overnight and maybe washed off in the morning. In the case of hypersensitive skin, they may cause irritation, redness, and burning sensation, but if used in the smallest quantity, as mentioned, they are very beneficial.

3. Cera Ve SA (Glycerin and Cetearyl Alcohol) facial cleanser may be continued and may be used twice daily. Apply in sufficient quantity, gently massage in gentle circular motions for one minute and wash off.

4. Tablet of Ascorbic acid 500 mg may be consumed in the morning after breakfast for two months. They help with reducing oxidative stress and have antiseptic properties. Kindly avoid extremely hot food or drinks and milk during the consumption of this medication.

5. Kindly avoid oily and fried food, sweets, red meat, milk, and dairy products. Consume more fruits, vegetables and fruits and at least ten glasses of water a day in a 250 ml glass size daily.

6. Procedures like Glycolic Acid chemical peels are beneficial when used along with medications. In this procedure, a solution is applied to the facial skin and left for five to ten minutes before washing them off. They are done in sessions of at least six in every two weeks. They require in-person consultation with a dermatologist in order to undergo the procedure.

7. Make sure to avoid moisturizers and sunscreens till the current lesions heal.

The above medications help with large pores and may be used on the face, neck, back, and arms as well.

I would also like to request you to provide images of the affected area attached through the image section provided in the query section for assessment of the severity of acne and the extent of infection. Since in-person consultation with a dermatologist is done, you may not require to send an image. Also, kindly mention your age to rule out other age-related causes of acne and provide further management options.

Acne may be on and off depending on the various external and internal triggering factors which have been mentioned above. Although they may be managed, finding the root cause and eliminating them may be required.

I hope the details provided above were informative and provided clarity.

I hope it can be of help. Stay happy, healthy, and safe. Take care.

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