Acne & Pimples Treatment
Pimples, also known as blemishes or zits, are raised elevations on the skin's surface caused by the clogging of pores. Acne is a condition characterized by the formation of pimples on the skin. There are many options for treating acne and pimples, including systemic and topical medications, cosmetic procedures and alternative therapies.
Systemic acne medications are taken orally to fight acne from inside the body, while topical treatments work directly on the skin's surface to fight bacteria, reduce inflammation and unclog pores. Topical medications, such as benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil can be purchased over the counter, while systemic treatments generally require a prescription.
Tretinoin (Retin-A), benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid and tea tree oil are among the most commonly used topical treatments for acne, while isotretinoin (Accutane), oral contraceptives and antibiotics, like erythromycin and the tetracycline derivatives, are popular systemic treatments.
Different medications may be indicated for different types of acne. Topical, over-the-counter treatments, like benzoyl peroxide, are effective for treating mild acne like blackheads and whiteheads, while systemic drugs like isotretinoin are usually reserved for more severe types like acne vulgaris or acne conglobata. According to Acne.org, isotretinoin effectively reduces or clears both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne in 95 percent of patients.
Often touted for its antimicrobial effects, tea tree oil can be helpful in reducing the formation of pimples. According to the National Institutes of Health, tea tree oil is as effective as benzoyl peroxide for treating certain types of acne, though it may take longer to produce results. Antibiotics like minocycline and doxycycline are generally indicated for severe inflammatory acne, while oral contraceptives can help halt oil production caused by overactive sebaceous glands in women.
All acne treatments can produce unwanted side effects, though not everyone will experience them. Topical medications like tretinoin (Retin-A) and benzoyl peroxide can cause skin irritation in the form of itching, peeling or redness, while oral antibiotics are more likely to cause gastrointestinal symptoms, like diarrhea and nausea.
The side effects caused by isotretinoin can be life-threatening. Isotretinoin can cause hallucinations, depression and suicidal tendencies in some patients. Less serious side effects include skin dryness, dizziness and drowsiness.
Acne can be a difficult condition to treat. Finding the best treatment is often a trial-and-error process that requires time and persistence. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be needed to clear acne and prevent it from returning. Lifestyle factors, such as diet and general skin care often play an important role in the formation of pimples and should not be overlooked when exploring treatment options.
In some cases, a good skin care regime may be sufficient to clear and prevent acne formation. Clean skin daily using a gentle cleanser and avoid touching acne with hands. Wash hair every day, and try to keep hair away from the face to prevent excessive oiliness. Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals and consider supplementing the diet with vitamin A and zinc, which play a vital role in immune function and skin health.
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