Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acne & Pimple Remedies

Acne & Pimple Remedies Acne & Pimple Remedies Acne & Pimple Remedies

Whether you're experiencing your first breakout or have suffered chronic acne for years, it is important to know what your treatment options are. When left untreated, acne not only causes physical scarring, but emotional scarring as well. Speak with a dermatologist to come up with the best treatment for your skin.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Many over-the-counter washes, scrubs, lotions and creams formulated to treat acne contain benzoyl peroxide, which unclogs pores and dries up excess oil. Additionally, it reduces the population of P. acnes--the bacteria that contributes to acne breakouts. OTC products contain concentrations between 2.5 percent and 10 percent benzoyl peroxide. The most common side effect is overdrying of the skin, which is more prevalent in formulas with higher concentrations.

Salicylic Acid

If an OTC product doesn't contain benzoyl peroxide, there's a good chance that it does contain salicylic acid. Washes, creams, astringent pads and facial masks may all contain salicylic acid. According to the AcneNet website, salicylic acid is effective at fighting acne because it unclogs pores and regulates skin cell shedding. Uneven shedding of dead skin cells is one of the leading causes of acne. Unlike benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid doesn't fight the P. acnes bacteria or decrease oil production. The most common side effect is skin irritation or stinging.

Retinoids

If you find that OTC acne products are not effective at treating your breakouts, then a dermatologist may decide to prescribe stronger medications. Retinoids are one of the most effective prescription medications available for treating acne. They are topical, which means that they are applied directly to the skin in the form of a cream or a gel. They unclog pores and prevent new comedones from forming, which allows other medications such as benzoyl peroxide to get into the pores and effectively remove deep-down dirt and debris. Retinoids may cause sun sensitivity as well as dry skin and irritation.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are often used as part of a comprehensive acne treatment program. They are typically taken orally in the form of a pill and used along with topical medications. They are prescribed primarily to fight the P. acnes bacteria and reduce inflammation in people with moderate to severe chronic acne. Antibiotic treatment may last for up to six months. Occasionally, the targeted bacteria may become resistant to a particular antibiotic, causing breakouts to recur and warranting a switch in antibiotics. This is less likely to happen when other medications, such as benzoyl peroxide, are used along with antibiotic treatment. The most common side effect is gastrointestinal irritation.

Isotretinoin

Isotretinoin is a very strong synthetic retinoid. Unlike other retinoids, however, it is taken in the form of a pill once or twice daily. A course of isotretinoin treatment lasts from about four to six months, and often only one treatment session is all that is needed for a full remission of acne. According to the AcneNet website, isotretinoin treats all the possible causes of acne, including excess oil production, clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation. In order to use isotretinoin, women who are of childbearing age must use two reliable forms of birth control and enroll in the iPLEDGE program. This program is used to tightly regulate who takes the medication because of its possible side effects. Isotretinoin has a high rate of causing very severe birth defects when taken during pregnancy. Other side effects include dry skin and eyes, nausea, abdominal pain, depression and headache.

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