Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

About Fast Acne Treatments

About Fast Acne Treatments

Overview

When it comes to pimples, there's no overnight cure. That doesn't stop acne sufferers from searching for one. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the 40 to 50 million Americans with acne spend more than $1.2 billion on treatments each year. Although there is no instant fix, there are a few acne treatments that can help to clear skin within weeks.

Acne Causes

Acne doesn't have a single cause. Instead, it results from a cycle of oily skin and bacterial growth. When the skin's sebaceous glands make too much oil, that oil can clog your pores. Blackheads and whiteheads result, and some of these become inflamed. Bacteria then can begin to grow behind the pore blockages, leading to additional inflammation and infection. Individual pimples may clear, but the oil will clog more pores, and the bacteria will simply spread to make new pimples. To be effective, acne treatments must stop this cycle.

Light Therapy

Of all fast acne treatments, blue LED light therapy likely works the fastest and with the fewest side effects. The treatment uses a very narrow bandwidth of blue light to kill acne-promoting bacteria, according to the Academy of Dermatology. Patients simply sit in front of the light array for 15 minutes. Side effects include mild skin drying and redness. If you opt for blue LED light therapy, your dermatologist likely will prescribe eight sessions over one month's time. Most people see clearing immediately after those sessions and can continue to improve for another month or two.

Prescription Medication

If you have severe acne and want fast help, your dermatologist might prescribe the prescription medication isotretinoin, according to the Academy of Dermatology. The drug is a synthetic form of vitamin A, and you generally take it once or twice a day for four or five months, although most patients notice clearing much sooner than that. Isotretinoin carries a high risk of side effects, which can include severe birth defects, abdominal pain, headache and blurred vision, depression and thinning hair. Despite its quick and effective action, dermatologists generally reserve it for only their hardest-to-treat acne patients.

Injections

If you have a badly inflamed acne cyst, you may need to take fast action to make sure it doesn't rupture and cause a major scar. In that case, your dermatologist may inject a diluted corticosteroid directly into the cyst, according to the Academy of Dermatology. The corticosteroid works to reduce the inflammation in the cyst and help it heal. After about three to five days, the medication literally melts the cyst, preventing a rupture and subsequent deep scar, the academy says.

Considerations

Most acne treatments take several months to work, because they need to clear existing lesions and address the problems that cause new lesions. If you're seeking a fast acne treatment, blue LED light therapy can help, but even its results occur over a month or two rather than overnight. And although isotretinoin and corticosteroid injections work faster to treat acne, dermatologists reserve them for people with very severe cases, according to the academy.

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