Meds for Acne
Acne is caused when the sebaceous glands around hair follicles become clogged, leading to cysts, blackheads, whiteheads and scarring, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM). The plugged follicles then burst, spilling oil, bacteria and skin cells onto the surface of the skin which causes pimples to develop. Several prescription and over-the-counter medications are available to treat acne.
Adapalene is made under the brand name, Differin, and is a prescription topical gel medication used to treat acne, according to Acne.org. Sunlight exposure should be minimized while using this medication and some patients experience dryness, scaling, itchiness, redness or burning from using it.
Azelaic acid or, Azelex, is a topical prescription cream that contains 20 percent azelaic acid and is used to treat acne, according to Acne.org. This medication prevents the buildup of dry skin cells that clog pores, prevents blackhead formation and helps kill the bacteria that cause acne.
Isotretinoin or Accutane, is a prescription medication used for the treatment of acne, according to Acne.org. It is a derivative of vitamin A and is often prescribed for severe nodular acne that has not responded to other treatments. According to UMM, isotretinoin clears up acne in 90 percent of patients. Isotretinoin does have serious side effects in which birth defects can result in babies born to women taking isotretinoin.
Oral antibiotic medications like doxycycline, erythromycin and tetracycline are prescribed to treat acne. According to UMM, antibiotics can help slow or stop the growth of P. acnes, the bacteria that cause acne, and help to reduce inflammation.
Tretinoin is a prescription acne medication that helps stop the development of new acne lesions, according to UMM. It also helps acne by promoting cell turnover and unclogging pores.
Salicylic acid is used in over-the-counter medications to treat acne such as Stridex Triple Action Pads with Salicylic Acid, Clearasil Clearstick and Oxy Night Watch, according to Acne.org. Salicylic acid can irritate skin and should not be used with other medications containing sulfur, resorcinol or with benzoyl peroxide.
Benzoyl peroxide is used in either prescription or over-the-counter medications to treat acne, according to Acne.org. It is an antibacterial agent, kills P. acnes and causes a mild peeling and drying effect which may help prevent breakouts by preventing oil and dead skin cell buildup. Benzoyl peroxide is found in over-the-counter products like Clearasil, Oxy-10, Fostex and Clear by Design.
Sulfur is used in over-the-counter treatments for acne such as soaps, washes and creams according to Acne.org. It promotes peeling and drying of the skin and helps get rid of existing blackheads and whiteheads. Sulfur does smell bad and may discolor skin.
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