Acne treatment Acne treatment

Best Acne Fighters

Best Acne Fighters Best Acne Fighters

When tackling stubborn acne, the most important thing to keep in mind is that acne is a medical condition. Moderate to severe chronic acne is something you should have treated by a physician to prevent permanent physical and emotional scarring. The most effective treatments available for acne are only available by prescription. Among the most effective acne fighting medications are topical retinoids, antibiotics and an oral retinoid called isotretinoin.

Topical Retinoids

Retinoids are derived from vitamin A, and have been shown to be highly effective at treating moderate to moderately severe cases of acne. These medications come in either gel or cream form, and are applied to the face at least once daily. Topical retinoids are effective at unclogging pores and keeping them unclogged, therefore preventing further breakouts from occurring. A downfall of topical retinoid use is that acne often worsens during treatment before it gets better. This is because the medication brings the comedones and pimples to the surface. It may take up to 12 weeks to see full results with topical retinoid treatment.

Side effects of treatment include sun sensitivity and excessive dryness or redness of the skin. Side effects often get better with treatment as your skin adjusts. Adapalene, tretinoin and tazarotene are examples of topical retinoid medications.


For many years, oral antibiotics have been prescribed to treat acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology's AcneNet, oral antibiotics are primarily effective at treating skin bacteria called P. acnes. These are the bacteria that contribute to the development of acne. Oral antibiotics are also effective at reducing the inflammation associated with acne breakouts. Antibiotic treatment normally begins at a higher dosage, tapering off towards the end of treatment. A course of antibiotic treatment may last up to six months. The downside of antibiotic treatment is that the bacteria may become resistant to a certain type of antibiotic, rendering treatment ineffective and warranting a change in antibiotics. Using a topical acne medication like benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient found in many over-the-counter products, may prevent antibiotic resistance. Erythromycin, tetracycline, doxycyline and minocycline are examples of oral antibiotics used to treat acne.


Isotretinoin is a retinoid that is available in pill form. It is the most effective acne treatment available because it effectively battles multiple causes of acne including clogged pores, excess oil, inflammation and bacteria. Treatment with isotretinoin normally consists of taking a pill once or twice daily for up to four or five months. Often, one course of isotretinoin is all that is needed for a full remission of acne. While it is very potent and effective, isotretinoin is usually a last resort for treating acne due to the risks involved. Severe side effects have been reported including depression, trouble swallowing, severe chest or abdominal pain, diarrhea or rectal bleeding, nausea and vomiting; severe headaches; and dryness of the skin, eyes and nose. Additionally, there is a high risk for severe birth defects if you become pregnant while taking isotretinoin. According to Mayo Clinic, women of childbearing age must use two forms of contraception during treatment, to prevent pregnancy.

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