Remedies for Bad Acne
Finding an effective treatment option for acne isn't always an easy process. When pimples, cysts, whiteheads and blackheads continue to erupt on your face despite home treatment, it may be time to visit your doctor. Doctors can offer stronger medication and special therapies that can help resolve bad cases of acne.
Retinoid Creams and Gels
Applying prescription retinoid creams or gels to your skin can help treat severe or bad acne. Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and work to unclog pores and prevent whiteheads and blackheads from forming, according to the Acne Net website. Using sunscreen while you use retinoids is important, because the medication can make your skin more sensitive to the effects of the sun. Retinoids can cause your skin to peel and redden and may cause dry skin.
Antibiotics and Antimicrobials
Bacteria on the skin contributes to the development of acne. If you have severe acne, your doctor may recommend that you try an oral antibiotic or a topical antimicrobial medication to reduce the P. acnes bacteria that causes inflammation. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that oral antibiotics are the standard of care in managing moderate to severe acne, acne that resists topical treatment therapy and acne that covers large body surface areas.
If you have severe cystic acne or acne that hasn't responded to other treatments, your doctor may recommend that you take a powerful oral medication called isotretinoin. Isotretinoin is a man-made form of vitamin A that is much stronger than retinoid creams and gels.
The Acne Net website reports that isotretinoin is the most effective acne treatment available because it is the only acne treatment that works on the four factors that predispose a person to acne. The factors include clogging of skin pores, inflammation, the presence of P. acnes bacteria on the skin and excessive oil production. Isotretinoin can cause severe birth defects. If you are female, it is important to use an effective means of birth control while taking the drug.
Injections and Excisions
If you have inflamed acne cysts, your doctor may suggest injecting the cysts with a corticosteroid medication. The medication helps reduce inflammation and encourages healing. If you have a large cyst that isn't helped by medication, your doctor may drain the cyst and surgically remove it. The Acne Net website warns against trying to drain and remove a cyst yourself because of the risk of infection and scarring.
Chemical Peels and Dermabrasion
Doctors use chemical peels and dermabrasion to remove the top layers of the skin that contain acne. Strong chemicals separate skin layers, allowing them to shed in a chemical peel. During dermabrasion, your doctor uses a dermabrasion device to remove the skin with a rough brush or special diamond burr head. MayoClinic.com reports that these procedures are most effective when combined with other acne treatments.
Laser and Light Treatment
Directing lasers or special types of light to the skin may help resolve acne. Some laser and light therapies target P. acnes bacteria, while others are thought to damage oil glands, which reduces oil production, according to MayoClinic.com. MayoClinic.com is unsure of who would benefit most from laser and light therapies, the effectiveness of the treatments and the long-term risks or benefits.
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