Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acne Removal Treatment

Acne Removal Treatment

Overview

Keeping your acne under control can be difficult, particularly if you are a teenager. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that 85 percent of U.S. teenagers have acne each year. No matter what your age, you can reduce and remove acne by using over-the-counter or prescription medications appropriate for your condition.

Identification

Acne occurs when a hair follicle becomes blocked by dead skins cells and sebum, an oil that moisturizes produced by the follicles to moisturize skin and hair. If bacteria on the skin begins to grow in the clogged follicle, inflammation occurs, producing pimple, cyst, whitehead or blackhead. The type of skin blemish formed depends on the level of inflammation, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Inflammation occurring close to the surface produces white or blackheads, while deeper inflammation produces pimples and cysts.

Risk Factors

Your age can increase your chance of developing acne, especially if you are a teenager. During puberty, hair follicles begin to produce extra sebum. If the excess sebum isn't removed from the skin, it can plug hair follicles. FamilyDoctor.org reports that acne may be worse in boys because boys have more skin oils. Acne may be more likely if your parents also had trouble with acne during their teenage years. Hormonal changes in girls and women, such as pregnancy, taking birth control pills or the onset of a menstrual period, can also trigger acne.

Over-the-Counter Acne Medication

Acne medications found in drug, grocery and discount stores can be helpful in treating and reducing acne. Over-the-counter creams, lotions and gels may contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol or lactic acid. These ingredients encourage more rapid turnover of skin cells, dry excess skin oils and kill bacteria. MayoClinic.com reports that over-the-counter products can initially cause dryness, flaking and skin irritation, but notes that these symptoms often improve after the first month of therapy.

Prescription Treatment

If over-the-counter remedies don't improve your acne, it may be time to visit your doctor. Doctors can prescribe stronger topical retinoid medications and antibiotics that kill the bacteria that contribute to the formation of pimples. FamilyDoctor.org recommends avoiding the sun or using a sunscreen when using prescription retinoids because the drugs increase your risk of getting a sunburn. Your doctor may suggest injecting corticosteroids into acne cysts to promote quicker healing and reduction of scars. If hormonal changes seem to trigger your acne, your doctor may recommend that you begin taking birth control pills.

Considerations

If you have severe cystic acne, your doctor may suggest that you begin taking isotretinoin, a powerful anti-acne drug. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that patients who are pregnant or who may become pregnant may not take the drug due to the high risk of severe birth defects.

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