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Europe Acne Treatment Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Product (Retinoids, Antibiotics, Isotretinoin, and Others), By Treatment Modality (Oral and Topical), By Age Group (10 to 17 Years, 18 to 44 Years, 45 to 64 Years, and Above 65 Years), By Distribution Channel (Hospital Pharmacies, Retail Pharmacies, and E-pharmacies), Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Last Updated: June 10, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI106445



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The Europe acne treatment market size was valued at USD 940.3 million in 2020 and is projected to grow from USD 928.7 million in 2021 to USD 1,297.0 million in 2028, at a CAGR of 4.9% during the forecast period (2021-2028). Based on our analysis, the market exhibited a decline of 3.6% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The fall in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over. The impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with several pharmacy products witnessing a negative impact on demand across Europe amid the pandemic. 

The rising prevalence of acne and similar skin disorders among teenagers is contributing to the growth of the market in Europe. For instance, according to the U.K. National Health Service (NHS), acne is very common in teenagers and young adults. Around 95% of people aged 11 to 30 across the country are affected by acne to some extent.

Due to the increased risk of antibiotic resistance, European guidelines do not recommend the use of topical antibiotics for comedonal acne. Furthermore, hormonal anti-androgens, systemic antibiotics, systemic isotretinoin, and artificial ultraviolet (UV) radiation are not recommended in these guidelines. This factor is limiting the adoption of topical drugs for acne treatment in Europe.

However, various regional and national organizations are promoting skin care campaigns to increase awareness towards acne and educate people about available treatment options including drugs. A skincare brand in the U.K., ‘Ditch the Label’ is involved in educating youth towards acne in the country through the acne awareness month. Also, there has been rise in number of products, including skin lotions, and creams by leading global and domestic players in Europe, which is driving the growth of the market.

Acne Treatment Products Witnessed Lower Demand amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on this market. Travel restrictions, and postponement of elective procedures in numerous countries globally, led to a significant decline in number of patient visits to dermatologists in these countries. Market players reported a considerable decline in the revenues generated from the sales of drugs for dermatology conditions including acne in 2020.

  • Almirall, S.A, Spain-based pharmaceutical company, reported a 5.0% decline in the revenues generated from its dermatology business segment in 2020 as compared to the total revenues generated from the segment in 2019.

This was further augmented by the considerably higher decline in the number of outpatient visits to various healthcare settings for dermatology consultations globally. Visits during the peak covid-19 period were significantly impacted in developed and developing countries, owing to postponement of elective procedures, and travel restrictions imposed by various countries. Despite these consultations recovering back to normal during the latter half of 2020, the number was lower than that in 2019. This has led to a decline in number of new cases diagnosed and patients undergoing treatment in 2020.


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Introduction of New Drugs by Leading Global and Domestic Players

There is a rise in prevalence of dermatology conditions including acne along with increasing number of patients undergoing treatment has resulted in growing demand for acne drugs globally. Thus, several companies are focusing on new drug development or drug approval in the region. For instance, in December 2019, after reviewing its summary of product characteristics, package leaflet, and labeling, Galderma received approval from the European Union for its acne cream AKLIEF (trifarotene 50 mcg).

Furthermore, several players from Europe are expanding their business through drug approval strategies in the region. For instance, in August 2020, Cassiopea SpA, an Italian biotechnology and medical research enterprise, announced that the company’s product Winlevi (clascoterone cream 1%) has received US-FDA approval for the treatment of acne in patients 12 years and older. Such a rise in new drug approval in the region is anticipated to contribute to the growth of the market in future.


Rising Prevalence of Acne Across Europe to Fuel Demand

Due to the rise in prevalene of acne and other skin disorders, a notable uptick in the number of dermatological service providers is being observeed. For instance, according to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the U.K., leading to 3.5 million visits to primary care every year.

Similarly, according to a recent study published on National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), in Italy, the prevalence rate of acne vulgaris is around 70% to 80% among the 12 to 24 age group. These factors are likely to fuel the acne treatment market in Europe during the forecast period.


Side Effects Associated with Acne Drugs to Hinder Market Growth

Few major factors responsible for lower adoption of acne drugs among patients in globally include the side effect associated with drugs. Side effects of these drugs vary depending on the treatment method and the strength of the medication. For instance, for topical acne drugs, the most common side effects are skin dryness and irritation. Furthermore, the potential side effects of oral medications can be more serious. Antibiotics can lead to an upset stomach or cause dizziness  and lightheadedness.

Similarly, oral isotretinoin can cause severe side effects, especially in pregnant women. Severe congenital disabilities have been reported in babies whose mothers took isotretinoin during pregnancy. Additionally, this medication can also increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts and may affect liver function and cholesterol levels. The factors mentioned above and the presence of a limited reimbursement scenario are anticipated to hamper the Europe acne treatment market growth during the forecast period.


By Product Analysis

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Antibiotics Segment to Flourish Led by Increased Regulatory Approvals

Antibiotics segment dominated the market in 2020. Clinical efficiency of topical and oral antibiotics for treatment of acne has led to increasing preferenece among dermatologists for these drugs. This rise in demand has led to increased focus of market players towards introduction of new and advanced antibiotics in the market. This coupled with higher availability of these drugs, and limited side effects have been pivotal in dominance of this semgent in the global market.

Retinoids segment is anticipated to register a comparatively higher CAGR during the forecast period. The new product approvals coupled with new drug application is attributable to the high growth of the segment. For instance, in October 2019, Galderma received FDA Approval for AKLIEF (trifarotene) Cream, 0.005%, the first new retinoid molecule for acne treatment in over 20 years.

By Treatment Modality Analysis

Topical Segment to Dominate owing to Wider Availability

The topical segment held a significant market share across the forecast timeframe, and the segment is anticipated to grow at the highest CAGR. Growing preference of patients towards topical products, and clinical efficiency of these products has been pivotal in higher adoption and demand for these drugs. The population suffering from acne conditions is primarily engaged in long term usage of topical solutions as these products are readily available and are easy to use.

The oral segment is estimated to expand at significant CAGR and to be the second most dominant treatment modality by the end of 2028. The growth is attributable to the rising prevalence of severe acne condition which requires higher oral antibiotic and also several pharmaceutical companies are involved in research and development of novel oral route of administration antibiotics for the treatment of acne.

By Age Group Analysis

18 to 44 Years Segment to Generate Massive Demand due to Rising Acne Occurrence

The 18 to 44 years’ segment will dominate the market share over 2021-2028. Various population based studies have demonstrated a higher prevalence of acne among people from this age group, owing to various factors such as puberty, etc. For instance, according to PopulationPyramid.net, in 2020, around 37% of the total European population is between 18 to 44 age, and thus, these age group populations are more susceptible to acne condition. This is the prime factor for higher demand of acne treatment products from this age group.

On the other hand, the 10 to 17 years age group segment is anticipated to grow significantly during the forecast timeframe, led by the rising occurenece of acne vulgaris amongst this age group.

By Distribution Channel Analysis

Retail Pharmacies to Record Robust Sales due to Rising Number of OTC Products

Based on distribution channel, the Europe market is segmented into hospital pharmacies, retail pharmacies, and e-pharmacies.

A significantly higher proportion of patients visiting outpatient departments, and dermatology clinics for consultations and acne treatment, has been pivotal in higher demand for drugs through retail pharmacies. This combined with increasing number of OTC products being introduced by market players are being distributed through retail pharmacies.

The e-pharmacies segment is expected to register a higher growth rate during the forecast period. Availability of drugs for acne treatment through online channels, and penetration of online pharmacies in developing countries is poised to drive the grwoth of the segment. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has been instrumental in increasing preference of patients towards these channels for procurement of drugs and refilling of prescriptions in developed and developing countries.


Leading Players Expand Product Portfolio to Strengthen Market Presence

The Europe market is semi-consolidated. Leading global players including Galderma S.A., GlaxoSmithKline plc., and Almirall, S.A. dominate the Europe market. These players are continuously focusing on new product launches and new drug application coupled with entering into strategic partnership with other players in order to expand their product portfolio.

Additionally, innovative and clinical stage companies are actively involved in developing the new treatment line for the acne.

  • For instance, in March 2019, Sebacia, a private held dermatology and aesthetics company, announced that results from its real-world trial in Europe evaluating Sebacia Microparticles for acne treatment exhibited an average 85% improvement in facial acne at 12 months.


  • Galderma S.A. (Lausanne, Switzerland)

  • GlaxoSmithKline plc. (London, U.K.)

  • Almirall, S.A. (Barcelona, Spain)

  • Merck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany)


  • January 2021 - GlaxoSmithKline plc. announced collaboration with Eligo, a French biotech company, to investigate a potential therapeutic solution for acne through a precise modulation of the skin microbiome composition, using a combination of the CRISPR technology and bacteriophages.


An Infographic Representation of Europe Acne Treatment Market

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The Europe acne treatment market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market. It focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product, treatment modality, age group, and distribution channel. Besides this, it offers insights into the market trends, competitive landscape, and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Million)


By Product, Treatment Modality, Age Group, and Distribution Channel

By Product

  • Retinoids

  • Antibiotics

  • Isotretinoin

  • Others

By Treatment Modality

  • Oral

  • Topical

By Age Group

  • 10 to 17 Years

  • 18 to 44 Years

  • 45 to 64 Years

  • Above 65 Years

By Distribution Channel

  • Hospital Pharmacies

  • Retail Pharmacies

  • E-pharmacies

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the Europe market stood at USD 940.3 million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 1,297.0 million by 2028.

Side effects associated with drugs are expected to hamper the market growth.

The market will exhibit steady growth at a CAGR of 4.9% during the forecast period (2021-2028).

By product, antibiotics drug is the leading segment.

Rising prevalence of acne condition and rise in new product approval for acne treatment anticipated to drive the market in the region.

Galderma S.A., GlaxoSmithKline plc., and Almirall, S.A. are the top players in the market.

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