Acne treatment Acne treatment

Recommended Acne Treatments by Doctors

Recommended Acne Treatments by Doctors

Acne has upset countless teenagers who develop pimples on date night and adults who thought they were done with this skin condition and suddenly suffered a recurrence. Up to 50 million Americans get acne at some point, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains. Dermatologists recommend several effective treatments. Many can be bought at a drug store and applied at home, while some require a prescription.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

According to the AAD, over-the-counter (OTC) topical acne treatments are appropriate for mild cases of acne, and they recommend products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as the active ingredient. These treatments can take up to eight weeks for noticeable results, so you do not need to contact a doctor unless you are still having problems at the end of that period. The AAD advises gently washing your skin with soap and water before using an OTC treatment to maximize its effectiveness. You can get OTC remedies as creams, gels or lotions, or on medication-soaked pads and wipes.

Topical Prescription Treatment

The AAD states that dermatologists can prescribe stronger topical treatments if over-the-counter products do not work satisfactorily. These prescription medications contain similar ingredients to the OTC products, but in higher concentrations. They may also contain retinoids, a form of vitamin A. These remedies are also available in gel, lotion or cream forms. The doctor will prescribe the most appropriate option for your skin.

Oral Antibiotics

Doctors often recommend oral antibiotics to knock out stubborn acne cases. The AAD explains the medication is usually used along with topical remedies, especially retinoids. Antibiotics kill acne-causing bacteria. The topical treatments also fight bacteria, as well as drying up oil and controlling dead skin cells. This combination often works when skin cream alone cannot control the problem.

Corticosteroid Injections

Doctors often recommend corticosteroid injections for especially severe, painful acne lesions. The AAD states these injections relieve the discomfort while clearing up the lesion more quickly by reducing inflammation.

Birth Control Pills

Doctors may recommend birth control pills to women with acne who don't want to get pregnant. Acne outbreaks in adult women are often related to hormones and the menstrual cycle. The AAD explains that oral contraceptives decrease the effect of hormones called antiandrogens, which often help clear the skin.


A prescription medication called isotretinoin is sometimes recommended for extremely severe cystic acne cases that have not responded to other treatments. The AAD explains this drug is used cautiously because it may have dangerous physical and mental side effects, including depression and suicidal tendencies. It also causes severe birth defects in pregnant women. You will be monitored closely by your doctor if he prescribes isotretinoin.

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