Acne treatment Acne treatment

Problems and Solutions for Acne

Problems and Solutions for Acne

Certain factors may predispose you to developing acne. Excess oil production, skin bacteria and clogged pores all contribute to the development of acne. Many over-the-counter and prescription treatments have been designed to treat certain causes of acne. A dermatologist can help you with your particular skin problems and educate you about the solutions for stubborn acne.

Excess Oil Production

The sebaceous glands, or oil glands, in your skin continually produce an oil called sebum to keep the skin lubricated. During puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, menopause or stress, sebum production increases. When excess sebum is produced, it can mix with dead skin cells and block the pores, leading to blackheads and whiteheads. According to the American Academy of Dermatology's AcneNet, excess oil also causes the skin bacteria P. acnes to reproduce rapidly and travel into pores, causing inflammation. Benzoyl peroxide is an ingredient in many over-the-counter lotions, washes and creams that reduces excess oil production as well as bacteria and effectively treats and prevents acne. Look for products containing 2.5 to 10 percent benzoyl peroxide. Skin dryness may occur when beginning treatment with benzoyl peroxide.


If you have particularly inflammatory acne, you may require treatment beyond over-the-counter remedies to reduce the population of P. acnes bacteria on your skin. Dermatologists often prescribe oral antibiotics such as tetracycline and doxycycline to reduce the P. acnes bacteria as part of a comprehensive acne treatment program. Bacteria sometimes becomes resistant to a certain antibiotic during treatment and warranting a switch to a different antibiotic. Using topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide along with antibiotic therapy may help prevent antibiotic resistance.

Clogged Pores

After excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria clog pores, it can become a challenge to unclog them. Medications derived from vitamin A called topical retinoids effectively unclog pores as well as prevent further clogs. Retinoids, such as tretinoin, regulate the process of sloughing off dead skin cells to prevent the build up of dead skin cells that clog pores. Additionally, it helps unclog pores by replacing old skin with new skin. According to Mayo Clinic, side effects of topical retinoid use include burning, stinging, peeling, redness and unusual dryness of the skin. These side effects often occur at the start of treatment and subside as the skin adjusts to treatment.

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