Best Ways to Get Rid of Facial Acne
Acne is a condition characterized by the formation of pimples on the skin, usually on the back, shoulders or face. There are many treatment options for facial acne, some of which include systemic drugs, topical medications and changes in lifestyle factors such as diet and hygiene.
Topical medications are those that are applied directly to pimples to fight acne at the source. Some topical medications are available over-the-counter, while others require a doctor's prescription.
Benzoyl peroxide is the most commonly used over-the-counter topical treatment for acne. It has astringent properties that help dry up excess oil and fight the bacteria that cause acne. Salicylic acid is another popular over-the-counter acne treatment present in many commercial skin products. It works in a similar manner to benzoyl peroxide and is equivalent in effectiveness for treating blackheads and whiteheads.
While not technically a medication, tea tree oil is an effective alternative for treating facial acne. According to Medline Plus, solutions containing 5 percent tea tree oil are as effective as those containing 5 percent benzoyl peroxide for treating acne, though results were slower to appear in studies. Other topical treatments for acne include tretinoin and azelaic acid, which are available by prescription only.
Systemic medications are a powerful second line of defense against facial acne. Systemic acne medications are taken orally to fight acne from the inside and are generally reserved for more severe forms of acne, such as pustules or papules.
Antibiotics are an effective option for inflammatory acne caused by bacteria. Tetracycline derivatives such as doxycycline and minocycline are frequently used for this purpose. They work by killing P. acnes bacteria, which trigger the inflammation that leads to severe acne. When these drugs ineffective, a doctor may prescribe erythromycin for both topical or systemic use. Sodium sulfacetamide and clindamycin are other antibiotic options for treating bacteria-induced forms of acne.
Perhaps the most effective systemic treatment for severe acne is the drug isotretinoin, also known as Accutane. Derived from vitamin A, isotretinoin works by altering DNA transcription and preventing dead skin cells from sticking together and blocking pores. According to Acne.org, isotretinoin clears or drastically reduces acne lesions in 95 percent of patients who complete one cycle of the drug.
Unfortunately, isotretinoin can cause serious side effects. According to Drug Information Online, patients taking isotretinoin may develop psychological symptoms like unprovoked crying, agitation, depression and suicidal tendencies. Isotretinoin is also a potent teratogen capable of causing fatal birth defects after even one dose. For this reason, it is available only through the iPledge program, which requires both male and female patients to use birth control to prevent pregnancy while taking the drug.
In some cases, simple changes in everyday habits can help prevent facial acne. Wash your face daily using a gentle cleanser and avoid touching acne with your hands. Keep hair away from the facial area and remember to wash your hair every day to prevent excess oil. Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamin A and zinc, which are vital for immune function and skin health. Avoiding unnecessary stress can also help reduce breakouts in some instances.
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