Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acne Treatment Gels

Acne Treatment Gels Acne Treatment Gels

Overview

Many forms of acne treatment exist. Mild cases can often be treated with topical medications and medicated washes. Moderate cases may require antibiotics as well as topical medications. Severe or cystic acne often requires multiple modes of treatment, including oral medications as well as potent topical treatments that are only available by prescription. Acne treatment gels may be used as a topical approach to treating acne. Acne gels are available over-the-counter as well as by prescription, and range from mild medicated gels to powerful prescription medications.

Significance

A vast majority of people suffer from acne at some stage of life. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, as many as 50 million Americans are affected by acne at some point throughout their lives. This includes 40 percent of teenagers before reaching their mid-teens. Many people delay seeking professional acne treatment and will attempt to self-treat with over-the-counter products first. Various types of acne treatment gels are widely available at drugstores, and are often one of the first lines of defense for acne sufferers.

Function

Acne treatment gels may contain different types of medications. However, the basic function of all acne treatment gels is the same. Gels are applied to the affected area, typically the face, once or twice daily after cleansing. The medication then sits on the skin or absorbs into the skin after the gel dries and reduces acne-causing factors like clogged pores and bacteria. Topical medications such as gel treatments offer more acne-fighting potential than washing alone because a higher concentration of medication is allowed to sit on the skin and work for several hours.

Benzoyl Peroxide Gel

A common over-the-counter acne treatment, called benzoyl peroxide, may come in gel or cream form. Both forms are effective at treatment mild to moderate acne, but gels tend to spread more easily over the skin and do not leave a white residue as creams do. Benzoyl peroxide reduces excess oil and bacteria, which are two main factors in developing pimples. According to MedlinePlus Drug Information, side effects include skin dryness, tingling, peeling or mild stinging. These symptoms may subside as the skin adjusts to treatment. Starting with small amounts of gel once daily and working up to the full recommended amount twice daily can help minimize side effects.

Clindamycin Gel

Clindamycin gel is available only be prescription. Clindamycin is a topical antibiotic with a notable history of successfully treating acne. The medication fights skin bacteria and reduces inflammation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology's AcneNet, clindamycin is often tolerated well, but skin dryness and irritation may occur with treatment. Antibiotic resistance may occur with any antibiotic treatment, including clindamycin. This can be prevented or reduced by using the medication as instructed and resisting any temptation to apply more of the gel than recommended.

Erythromycin Gel

The topical form of erythromycin effectively fights a variety of bacteria, including the P. acnes bacteria that causes acne. Like clindamycin, erythromycin fights bacteria and reduces inflammation. Erythromycin gel may be combined with benzoyl peroxide for extra acne-fighting power. Combining the medications may involve applying benzoyl peroxide along with erythromycin gel, or the two medications may be mixed at the pharmacy into one cream. Erythromycin may cause skin dryness or irritation, which may be magnified when mixed with benzoyl peroxide. Any severe redness or peeling should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

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