Acne treatment Acne treatment

Help in Reducing Acne

Help in Reducing Acne

Acne is a skin disorder that occurs when a follicle on your skin gets clogged with a plug made up of a mixture of sebum oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. When trying to reduce your acne outbreaks, there are different medications on the market depending on the severity of the acne. Comedones, such as blackheads and whiteheads, may respond to over-the-counter medications, while more serious inflammatory acne, such as cysts or nodules, may need more intensive intervention.

Over the Counter

Over-the-counter acne products are the first line of defense when trying to reduce acne. These products typically include a keratolytic agent called salicylic acid. Salicylic acid works by both preventing and treating acne breakouts. Salicylic acid prevents acne by slowing down the rate in which skin cells shed within the follicles, while it treats acne by breaking down a protein, called keratin, in the clogged follicles.

Prescription Antimicrobials

As acne progresses to more serious pustules and papules, bacteria become a problem, causing infection and inflammation. The main bacteria associated with these cases of acne is Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). Prescription-strength antimicrobials kill these bacteria in the pores, helping to treat the infection and inflammation. Common antimicrobials that target this bacteria are benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics, such as erythromycin and clindamycin.


When acne progresses into a cyst or nodule, and the inflammation is causing pressure to build up, a corticosteroid may be injected into the acne lesion to prevent the lesion from bursting. Corticosteroids are an anti-inflammatory, which reduces the inflammation and pressure. If an acne lesion is allowed to burst, it can result in severe acne scarring.


Isostretinoin is one of the most popular acne medications, as it can be used to treat all four major causes of acne, including inflammation, bacteria, sebum oil production and skin cell shedding. Isotretinoin is a retinoid that is derived from vitamin A. Because of its abilities to cause dangerous birth defects, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed the iPLEDGE program to insure that the medication is safely used.

Laser Treatments

Laser treatments can also be used to reduce acne. Laser treatments use specialized laser, such as the pulsed-dye laser, to target sebaceous glands beneath the skin's surface. The effects of the heat produced by the laser significantly reduces the amount of sebum the glands produce by causing thermal injury to the gland. The less sebum produced by the skin, the less material there is available to form acne plugs.

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