Acne treatments work by reducing oil production, accelerating skin cell turnover, fighting bacterial infection, reducing inflammation or doing all four. With most prescription acne treatments, you can not see the results for four to eight weeks, and your skin can get worse before it gets better.
Your doctor or dermatologist may recommend a prescription medication that you apply to your skin (topical medication) or take by mouth (oral medication). Oral prescription medications for acne should not be used during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.
Types of acne treatments include:
- Over-the-counter topical treatments. Lotions against acne can dry the oil, kill the bacteria and promote the desquamation of dead skin cells. Over-the-counter (OTC) lotions are usually benign and contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid or sulfur as the active ingredient. These products can be helpful for very mild acne. OTC acne medications can cause initial side effects – such as skin irritation, dryness, and flaking – that often improve after the first month of treatment.
- Topical treatments available by prescription. If your acne does not respond to OTC treatments, consider seeing a doctor or dermatologist to get a stronger prescription lotion. Tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A, others), adapalene (Differin) and tazarotene (Tazorac, Avage) are examples of topical prescription products derived from vitamin A. They work by promoting cell renewal and prevention of clogging of hair follicles. A number of topical antibiotics are also available. They work by killing bacteria in excess of skin.
- Often a combination of these products is needed to achieve optimal results. A number of benzoyl peroxide and antibiotic combination drugs are available, including different combinations of doses of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin (Benzaclin, Duac, Acanya) and benzoyl peroxide and erythromycin (Benzamycin). Dapsone Gel (Aczone) is a newer acne treatment that is particularly effective in the treatment of inflammatory acne. Topical treatments prescribed for acne can cause side effects of the skin, such as tingling, burning, redness or flaking. Your doctor may recommend measures to minimize these side effects, including the help of a gradual increase in dose,
- Antibiotics. For moderate to severe acne, you may need a short course of oral antibiotics prescribed to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation. Since oral antibiotics were first used to treat acne, antibiotic resistance has increased significantly in people with acne. For this reason, your doctor will probably recommend shortening these medications as soon as your symptoms begin to improve, or as soon as it becomes clear that the medications are not helping – usually within three to four months. In most cases, you will use topical medications and oral antibiotics together. Studies have shown that the Use of topical benzoyl peroxide with oral antibiotics may reduce the risk of developing antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics can cause side effects, such as stomach upset, dizziness or discoloration of the skin. These medications also increase the sun sensitivity of your skin and may reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
- Isotretinoin. For deep cysts, antibiotics may not be enough. Isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis, Sotret) is a potent drug available for cystic acne scars or acne that does not respond to other treatments. This medicine is reserved for the most severe forms of acne. It is very effective, but people who take it need close supervision by a dermatologist because of the possibility of serious side effects. Isotretinoin is associated with serious birth defects, so it can not be safely taken by pregnant women or who can become pregnant during treatment or in several weeks of treatment conclude. In fact,
- Isotretinoin often causes side effects – such as dryness of the eyes, mouth, lips, nose, and skin, as well as itching, nosebleeds, muscle aches, sun sensitivity, and bad night vision. The drug may also increase triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the blood and may increase liver enzyme levels.
In addition, isotretinoin may be associated with an increased risk of depression and suicide. Although this cause-and-effect relationship has not been proven, doctors remain on high alert for these signs in people taking isotretinoin. If you feel abnormally sad or unable to cope while taking this medicine, tell your doctor immediately.
- Oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives, including a combination of norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol (Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Previfem, others), can improve acne in women. However, oral contraceptives can cause other side effects such as headaches -, breast tenderness, nausea, and depression – that you will want to discuss with your doctor. The most serious potential complication is a slightly increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and blood clots.
- Laser and light therapy. Laser and light-based treatments reach the deeper layers of the skin without harming the surface of the skin. The laser treatment is thought to damage the sebaceous glands (sebaceous), forcing them to produce less oil. Light therapy targets bacteria that cause inflammation of acne. These therapies can also improve the texture of the skin and reduce the appearance of scars. More research is needed to understand the more efficient use of laser light and therapies in the treatment of acne, and experts currently recommend these approaches as standalone therapy only in people who do not tolerate drugs for the treatment of acne. acne approved. These treatments may be hurting
- Cosmetic procedures. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion can be helpful in fighting acne. These cosmetic procedures – which have been traditionally used to reduce the appearance of fine lines, sun damage and minor facial scars – are most effective when used in combination with other acne treatments. They can cause severe, temporary redness, scaling and blistering, and long-term discoloration of the skin.
Treatment of Acne Scars
Doctors may be able to use certain procedures to lessen the scars left by acne. These include fillers, dermabrasion, intense light therapy and laser resurfacing.
- Soft tissue filling. Collagen or fat can be injected under the skin and into scars to fill or stretch the skin, making the scars less noticeable. The results of this treatment of acne scars are temporary, so you need to periodically repeat the injections.
- Chemical peels. High-potency acid is applied to your skin to remove the top layer and minimize the deeper scars. Some strong peels reach even deeper into the skin.
- Dermabrasion. Usually reserved for more severe scars, dermabrasion involves removing the top layer of skin with a rapidly rotating wire brush. Surface scars can be completely eliminated, and deeper acne scars can appear less noticeable. Dermabrasion can cause changes in pigmentation for people with dark skin.
- Microdermabrasion. This new treatment for acne scars involves a hand-held device that blows crystals on the skin. These crystals gently rub or “varnish” the surface of the skin. Then, a vacuum tube removes crystals and skin cells. Because only the surface cells are removed, the skin is not damaged. However, the results are subtle and scars can still be noticeable even after several sessions.
- Laser, light source, and radiofrequency treatments. In laser resurfacing, a laser beam destroys the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and heats the underlying skin (dermis). As the wound heals, new forms of the skin. Less intense lasers (non-ablative lasers), pulsed light sources and radio frequency devices do not hurt the epidermis.
- These treatments heat the dermis and cause a new formation of the skin. After several treatments, acne scars may appear less noticeable. This means reducing recovery times, but the treatment usually needs to be repeated more often and the results are subtle.
- Surgery of the skin. A minor procedure (punch excision) cuts off individual acne scars. Stitches or a skin graft repairs the holes left on the scar site.