How to take Viagra

A man about to take a Viagra pill with a glass of water.

A recognised treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), Viagra has helped to improve the sexual performance and confidence of its users since its first release in the 1990s.

According to statistics from the NHS, prescriptions for Viagra and other ED medications tripled between 2006 and 2016 alone. This increase in people using Viagra is an indication that men may now be more inclined to get help with ED and other related problems. However, if you’re new to using Viagra, you may not know where to start or what to expect, but by reading this blog, you’ll learn how to take Viagra, how to get the most out of it and whether you should be concerned if it doesn’t work straight away.


How do you take Viagra?

Viagra typically comes in pill form, so it can be ingested just like any other tablet. Simply swallow the pill with plenty of water. It’s available in three strengths: 25 milligrams, 50 milligrams and 100 milligrams. It’s important to note that if it doesn’t work straight away, you should resist the temptation to take another tablet within 24 hours of the first dose. Although this may seem harmless, exceeding the recommended dosage could cause unpleasant side effects such as blurred vision, persistent headaches, dizziness, indigestion and nasal congestion.


What is the best way to take Viagra?

For the best results, do not take Viagra within two hours of eating fatty foods, limit your alcohol intake and be wary of using Viagra if you’re already on another medication, such as nitrates and riociguat, for example, have been known to not mix well with it. As a precaution, it’s advisable to leave a sufficient gap between eating large meals and consuming more than one unit of alcohol before you take Viagra.

Other factors that could hamper the effects of Viagra include medical conditions such as diabetes or nerve damage, the severity of ED – which may be counteracted by an increased dosage – or simply not feeling sexually aroused when you take it. Although Viagra is designed to encourage an erection, it’s said to be completely ineffective without the user experiencing sexual stimulation.

In essence, Viagra is most effective on a body in good physical condition. So, if you have a healthy flow of blood throughout your body, stable hormone levels and overall positive cardiovascular health, it’s likely to be effective. 


Does Viagra work the first time?

While Viagra is said to be effective in an estimated 75 per cent of men, it’s perfectly likely that it may not work for you on the first attempt. It is common to experience no effects from using Viagra the first time and that this should not worry or deter users that are new to it. To allow sufficient time for Viagra to work, it’s advisable that the same type of tablet should be used eight times on separate occasions. If problems continue, you should seek advice from a healthcare professional.

How long before sex should you take Viagra?

The time it takes for Viagra to take effect will vary based on a number of factors. However, it should typically take somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour to work, with some users even seeing an impact in as little as 15 minutes after taking a tablet.

As it typically comes into effect between 30 minutes and an hour after taking it, it’s advisable to take Viagra an hour before you plan on having sex. It generally works for between two and four hours, so it’s important to avoid taking it in the morning in preparation for intercourse later in the day, for example, as it’s likely to have worn off by then.

What effect does Viagra have?

A man taking Viagra for the first time

Since its first release in 1998, Viagra has improved the sexual performance of men across the world. Whether it’s to help with trouble getting or keeping an erection, Viagra is a recognised solution for treating erectile dysfunction (ED).

Viagra is a brand name for sildenafil – a medicine used to improve the flow of blood to the penis. If you’ve never used Viagra before, you may be wondering what effect it has on the body and whether any side could occur. In this blog, we answer these questions and more.

How does Viagra work in the body?

After taking Viagra, the walls of the blood vessels in the penis are relaxed, leading to increased blood flow through these vessels. This helps to encourage an erection. Viagra counteracts the impact of the PDE5 enzyme by binding to it and preventing it from working. PDE5 resides in the spongy part of the penis and reduces blood flow, hampering the penis’ ability to become erect.

A loose Viagra 100mg pill on a white surface

What happens when you take Viagra?

Viagra, like all medicines, affects everyone differently. However, on average, it takes around half an hour to one hour for Viagra to cause an erection, reaching the peak of its effects after an hour of it being entered into the body. Half of the Viagra solution will have been absorbed into the bloodstream after four hours, but it may continue to work for a whole ten hours after taking it. Eventually – often after 24 hours – Viagra will have left the bloodstream, taking its effects with it.

Are there any side effects to taking Viagra?

As with all medicines, Viagra can cause side effects. Many of these are minor but relatively common, with research suggesting that they’ve been known to occur with between 1 in 10 to 1 in 100 users. They include:

  • a feeling of nausea
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • indigestion
  • blurred vision
  • nasal congestion.


In some cases, more serious side effects from taking Viagra can occur. Fortunately, these are more rare, only affecting between 1 in 100 to 1 in 1,000 people. They include:

  • a decrease or total loss of vision
  • painful erections lasting for over four hours
  • chest pains
  • seizures
  • a reaction to the skin such as peeling, swelling, blistering or a general feeling of increased heat.

How long does it take for Viagra to kick in?

On average, it can take anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes for Viagra to take effect, with some users seeing a change after just 12 minutes. However, additional factors can affect the time it takes for Viagra to work.

For example, Viagra may take longer to kick in if you eat fatty foods in the two hours before taking it, if you take strong medication, if you have more than one unit of alcohol in your system as you take it or if you simply don’t feel sexually aroused.

What if Viagra doesn’t work?

In some cases, Viagra might not work straight away, but if it continues to have no effect, you should consider steps you can take to make it more effective. You should start by changing your lifestyle, as many different things can impact on Viagra’s effect on your body. You should try to take regular exercise, eat a balanced diet, decrease your alcohol intake, cut out stressful elements from your life where possible and, if you smoke, consider giving up.

If problems continue, it would be advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

Acne Face Map: What Spots in Different Areas Mean

Acne Face Map

Acne that develops on different parts of your face can tell you more about your health. Below is a series of acne face maps which provide more information about what acne can mean on different areas of your face. These findings are based on Ancient Chinese medicine and Ayurveda (holistic healing science originating from India 5,000 years ago).

What causes acne?

The skin on our body has very tiny holes. These tiny holes are called hair follicles and are often referred to as pores. Pores are connected to the sebaceous gland which produces an oily substance called sebum. If the pore produces too much sebum or the pore becomes clogged with dead skin cells, oil or bacteria, they produce spots or pimples. When these spots or pimples reoccur, this is known as acne.

Acne on different parts of the face and what this means

Acne most commonly appears on the face, neck and back. Acne on the face can be quite distressing and can at times be concentrated to a certain area of the face. Whilst there is limited scientific evidence connecting acne in an area of the face to health issues affecting organs in the body, there is some research that relates certain factors to acne on specific areas on the face.


A picture of a womans face showing where acne can develop in the hairline

Acne that develops in the hairline can be down to the natural oil caused by hair or from using certain hair care products. Hair products that contain an increased amount of oil can cause excess oil to accumulate in the hairline. When acne forms around the hairline it is called pomade acne. Makeup can also cause oil to accumulate by clogging pores.

Tips to reduce hairline acne:

  • Use simple and natural shampoos that do not contain allergens such as colouring, oil-based ingredients etc.
  • Cover your hairline with a cloth when using hair products such as hairsprays or dry shampoo
  • Try to use as little make-up as possible around this area



A picture of a woman's cheeks showing where acne can develop around the cheeks

Acne on the cheeks can be caused by friction or rubbing of the skin. Frequently touching or rubbing your face can result in a spread of bacteria from your hands to your face. Holding your phone to your face or sleeping on dirty pillowcases can also result in the same spread of bacteria.

Tips for reducing cheek acne:

  • Wipe your smartphone every so often with antibacterial wipes
  • Change your pillowcase every few days


Jawline and Chin

A picture of a woman's jawline showing where acne can develop in the jaw

Scientists are split on the view of whether jawline and chin acne are caused by a fluctuation in hormones. Factors such as hormones and stress are known to increase oil production, and this in turn can cause clogged pores and acne. Some women experience an increase in acne during their menstrual cycle or pregnancy and NHS England suggest this could be caused by hormonal changes that occur during this time. Research suggests that up to 85% of women find that their acne is worse in the days leading up to their period. Conditions such as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can also continue to acne as a result of hormone imbalances.

Research suggests that your diet can have an affect on hormone levels. Foods that contain dairy products can affect hormone balances.

Tips for reducing acne round the chin and jawline

  • Drink as much water as possible
  • Keep your diet low in sugar, oily food and dairy products


Nose and forehead (T-zone)

A picture of a woman's face showing where acne can develop around the t-zone

The nose and forehead area are known as the T-zone area. Acne in the T-zone is caused by sebaceous glands producing excess sebum.

Lack of sleep and stress can contribute to acne around the T-zone area. Naturally oily or dry skin can also cause spots and pimples around this area. Pollution in the air is also thought to play a part in causing acne around this area.

Tips for reducing acne around the T-zone:

  • Practise good sleep hygiene
  • Stress less! Meditating and taking control of your mind may help in reducing acne
  • Use gentle and mild cleansers for oily skin if you have an oily skin type


Different types of acne

There are 6 common forms in which acne can appear:

Whiteheads – Whiteheads form when the sebum from the pore mixes with bacteria and dead skin cells. Whiteheads occur just under the surface of the skin, which is why they appear white.

Blackheads – Blackheads appear on the surface of the skin when pores are clogged with bacteria and dead skin cells and tend to be either black or yellow in colour. The colour does not signify dirt and is caused by the sebum oxidising at the surface of the skin.

Papules – Papules are inflamed red bumps that can be sensitive or sore to touch.

Pustules – Pustules are similar to papules, but they are also puss-filled and have a white or yellow tip in the centre.

Nodules – Nodules are a more severe form of acne and present as large hard lumps underneath the surface of the skin. They do not generally contain pus and can be painful.

Cysts – Cysts are the most severe form of acne. They are large inflamed lumps filled with pus. Cysts are also painful and can at times require medical treatment.


What is the best treatment for acne?

Treatment can vary depending on the type of acne and how severe the acne is. It can sometimes take several months for acne to improve once treatment has started.

For moderate to severe acne the following topical treatments are effective:

Acnecide Gel

Acnecide gel contains the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide which works to reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin.  Acnecide also thins the area of skin where it is applied which loosens up the area and allows it to shed. Acnecide can be used on mild acne and is effective on inflammatory acne such as pustules and papules. This can so be used on blackheads and whiteheads. Acnecide is considered a first-line treatment.

Differin Gel

Differin contains an active ingredient called adapalene, which is a retinoid. Retinoid is a class of medicine which is derived from vitamin A. Retinoid works by encouraging skin cell turnover, preventing pores from getting clogged. Differin is mainly used to treat acne which is on the surface of the skin, such as whiteheads and blackheads. Differin is also a prescription only medication.

Duac Gel

Duac gel contains benzoyl peroxide and an antibiotic, clindamycin. Benzoyl peroxide reduces the amount of bacteria on the skin, whilst clindamycin creates an unfriendly environment for bacteria to survive in. Duac is best for mild to moderate acne as it helps reduce swelling and is a prescription only medication.

Epiduo Gel

Epiduo contains adapalene and benzoyl peroxide. The combined ingredients prevent acne and reduce skin inflammation. Epiduo is mainly used to treat mild to moderate acne and works well on whiteheads and blackheads.

Treclin Gel

Treclin contains two active ingredients, clindamycin and tretinoin. Tretinoin promotes cell production which prevents pores from getting clogged. Treclin can be used to treat whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, papules and redness. Treclin is a prescription only medication.


Zineryt contains an antibiotic, erythromycin and zinc. These two ingredients work to reduce the growth of bacteria, production of oil and reduces inflammation. Zineryt works well with moderate to severe acne. The effectiveness of erythromycin has declined in recent years, and this treatment is usually reserved for those who have not had a positive result with all other treatments.


What does acne on different parts of your face mean?

Acne in different parts of your face can tell you a little more about your body and your lifestyle. Although scientific research around this area is limited, acne face mapping can help as a starting point. It is worth making changes to your sleeping and eating habits, as well as your skincare routine. Making positive changes can help to clear acne.