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Research project

Acne Care Online

Project overview

The Acne Care Online programme aims to create and test an online toolkit to support young people effectively treat their acne.

By doing this it aims to reduce the negative physical and mental impact of acne, and to reduce overuse of antibiotics for treating acne.

Why is Acne Care Online needed?

Acne is very common, and as well as causing physical symptoms (e.g. pain, scarring), it often makes people feel distressed and can lead to depression.

There is good evidence that certain acne creams, gels and facewashes (called ‘topical acne treatments’) work well for most acne, and don’t always need prescription. However, lots of young people don’t know about these treatments, or stop using them too soon because of side-effects or because they think they’re not working.

This often means that young people spend lots of money on cosmetic products that don’t really help, or end up being prescribed oral antibiotics where this might have been avoidable.

How will Acne Care Online help?
Acne Care Online will be an online toolkit that supports young people to:

•understand their treatment options and know where to get effective acne treatments
•avoid side effects from topical treatments (like stinging)
•use their treatment regularly to make sure it has the best chance of working

What are the stages of the research?
The Acne Care Online programme of research will have several different stages:
1.Develop the online toolkit by working closely with a wide range of young people with acne, their families and health professionals to understand what will be most important and useful to include, and how to make it as interesting as possible.
2.Randomised trial to test whether using the toolkit can:
•improve acne and how acne affects people’s lives
•reduce the use of antibiotics

3.Explore how the toolkit works, by talking to those that have used it and analysing how they used it
4.Explore the costs to the NHS and for patients of using the toolkit and estimate its value for money

Study Team:

Miriam Santer and Ingrid Muller Co-Leads
Rosie Essery, Academic Programme Manager
Mary Steele, Research Fellow
Stephanie Easton, Research Fellow
Julie Hooper, Trial Manager
Rebekah LeFeuvre, Programme Administrator

Gareth Griffiths
Lucy Yardley
Nick Francis
Paul Little
Taeko Becque
Tracey Sach

Co-investigators at other institutions:
Beth Stuart (Queen Mary University of London)
Kim Thomas (Nottingham)
Alison Layton (Harrogate and District NHS FoundationTrust)
Matthew Ridd (University of Bristol)
Sinead Langan (London School of Hygiene)
Mahendra Patel (University of Bradford)
Andrew Thompson (Cardiff & Vale University LHB)
Kate Heneghan-Sykes (public contributor)
Irene Soulsby (public contributor)
Sophie Dove (public contributor)

Twitter: @AcneCareOnline

Instagram: acne_care_online


This study is being conducted by the Primary Care Research Centre.

Acne Care Online: Helping people to manage acne


Lead researcher

Professor Miriam Santer

Professor of Primary Care Research

Research interests

  • Self-management of long-term conditions
  • Primary Care Dermatology - particularly eczema, acne and cellulitis
  • Mixed methods research including development and evaluation of complex interventions
Other researchers

Professor Paul Little

Professor in Primary Care Research

Professor Lucy Yardley OBE

Professorial Fellow-Research

Dr Ingrid Muller BSc, MSc, PhD, CPsychol, FHEA

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Self-management of long-term conditions
  • Behavioural health interventions
  • Digital health

Dr Taeko Becque

Senior Clinical Trials Statistician

Research interests

  • Medical statistics
  • Randomised trials
  • Primary care

Professor Gareth Griffiths

Director Clinical Trials Unit

Professor Nick Francis

Head of School

Research interests

  • Infections in primary care
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Respiratory infections

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups