About Acne and Acne Scar Medications
Acne can be difficult to treat, but the scars that blemishes leave behind can be even more troubling. Luckily, there are many treatments available. Numerous medications are available for both acne and acne scars that minimize their appearance, aid in healing and generally improve the texture of your skin.
Acne is a skin condition that causes unsightly blemishes. These blemishes come in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, papules and pustules. While milder forms of acne only require topical medications, more severe forms like cystic acne may scar and require prescription medications.
Acne medications are practically as varied as acne itself. However, there are a few medications that are prescribed or available over the counter on a fairly regular basis. For instance, antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline are prescribed to kill bacteria on the skin, which prevents new breakouts from forming. Another type of medication is isotretinoin, a form of Vitamin A that works to reduce oil production. However, it can leave the skin permanently dry. Other treatments are topical like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and sulfur, which all work to kill acne bacteria, slough off dead skin cells and soak up excess oil, respectively.
Acne Scar Medication
If your acne was not properly treated and you have scarring, there are still medications available that can smooth the appearance of scars, reduce redness and leave the skin with an improved texture. Chemical peels are a commonly prescribed treatment, which use medications like alpha hydroxy acids, glycolic acid or, in severe cases, trichloroacetic acid to remove the top layer of skin quickly and reveal renewed, fresh skin beneath. Other medications include Retin-A, a product that fades red marks, and 2 percent hydroquinone cream, a skin lightener. Both medications even the skin tone and help acne scars or pigmentation issues fade faster.
How to Get These Medications
Many acne medications are available over-the-counter, including benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, glycolic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids. However, oral medications like antibiotics and isotreninoin require a prescription.
Most topical acne and acne scar medications have the same or similar side effects. Dry skin, redness and irritation are fairly common. Skin peeling, tightness or a rash may be a sign of an allergic reaction, at which time you should discontinue use of the product. Oral medications may cause side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea, constipation, yeast infections, and in the case of isotreninoin, mood swings, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Most over-the-counter and prescription acne and acne scar medications are perfectly safe to use. However, you may notice an increase in side effects if you use more than one product at a time. For instance, if you use benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid, you may notice increased dryness.
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