Best Acne Treatments
The best acne treatment is really dependent on the individual, since a number of different factors play a role in whether or not a certain type of product or procedure is successful, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Things like age, sex and severity of acne can greatly affect outcomes, so what works for one person may not work for the next. However, there are a few treatments that are considered standard methods of care.
Given that most acne treatments don't actually treat existing papules or pustules, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing the skin each day with a gentle cleanser and warm water. Gentle cleansers help to remove excess oil from the skin, which can prevent clogging of the pores, and thereby better control additional breakouts.
OTC Acne Creams
For some people, over-the-counter acne creams are of great benefit, since they help to dry excess oil while removing dead skin and bacteria responsible for acne, advises the Mayo Clinic. OTC acne creams are found with a number of different active ingredients, but two of the more effective are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Other ingredients that may be of assistance are lactic acid, resorcinol and sulfur, reports the American Academy of Dermatology.
Prescription Acne Creams
When OTC acne creams are unsuccessful in treating acne, a prescription cream may be necessary to improve the appearance of the skin. Both the Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Dermatology explain that prescription acne creams can contain some of the same ingredients as OTC solutions, like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, just in higher concentrations. The higher concentration can make either ingredient more effective in treating acne by drying excess oil, removing dead skin and killing bacteria.
Prescription creams may also contain retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A. The American Academy of Dermatology states that topical retinoids, like tretinoin, adapalene or tazarotene, help to remove blockages within the follicles that are causing the acne. This reduces inflammation, and thereby improves the appearance of the skin. In addition, retinoids promote cellular turnover that can speed up recovery.
For more sensitive skin, a topical antibiotic may be the best solution, since this type of acne cream is less likely to irritate the skin. Erythromycin and clindamycin are two of the most common antibiotics used in topical acne creams, states the American Academy of Dermatology. Antibiotic don't do much to dry excess oil or remove dead skin, but are extremely effective in killing bacteria, clarifies the Mayo Clinic. This is why antibiotics are often coupled with active ingredients, like benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, adapalene or tazarotene.
A doctor or dermatologist may decide acne is better treated with an oral medication. Oral medications for acne typically fall within one of two basic categories: antibiotics or contraceptives. With oral antibiotics, the medication is taken by mouth over the course of three to four months to basically kill the bacteria from the inside out, which decreases the inflammation around those pores affected with acne. Oral contraceptives can help to balance hormones that may be causing women to experience breakouts.
For more moderate to severe acne, it may be necessary to use a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of the skin. Both the American Academy of Dermatology and the Mayo Clinic agree that people can benefit from laser or light therapy. Not only do these procedures target the bacteria responsible for acne, but they may also help to dry excess oil within the skin. Both of these benefits can help reduce inflammation around those pores affected by acne.
Some dermatologists may recommend skin rejuvenation in the form of chemical peels or microdermabrasion. With these procedures, the top layer of the skin is removed to allow for new skin growth that contains fewer blemishes. They are often used in conjunction with other forms of acne treatment.
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