Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Teen Acne Solutions

Teen Acne Solutions

Overview

Acne blemishes are a part of life for almost eight out of every 10 teens, according to Teens Health from Nemours. But this doesn't mean that you should just sit back and allow acne to run rampant. Untreated acne can lead to permanent skin scarring, self image problems and other emotional problems. Start acne treatments as soon as you notice the blemishes.

Types

You often can treat acne using over-the-counter products that contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, alcohol and acetone combination, or resorcinol, according to AcneNet from the American Academy of Dermatology. These products come in the form of soaps, gels, lotions and creams, and you apply them directly to the acne prone areas.

Severe or cystic acne may require prescription treatments. Your physician may recommend oral medications like antibiotics, birth control pills and systemic medications. There are also prescription topical medications available that include retinoids or antibiotics. Prescription strength versions of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid medications are also available. Injections of corticosteroids are sometimes used to help treat large acne cysts.

Time Frame

Contrary to some manufacturer claims, there isn't any treatment that will cure acne overnight. The American Academy of Dermatology notes that most OTC acne medications take at least four weeks and sometimes as long as eight weeks to work. For prescription medications, treatment usually takes about the same amount of time, with the exception of systemic treatments. These can take 15 to 20 weeks per cycle to work effectively.

Side Effects

Many acne medications work by drying out the acne blemishes. This can lead to skin irritation, peeling and redness. These side effects usually improve after a month of use, states the Mayo Clinic. If the side effects are particularly bothersome, reducing the number of applications each day may help. Sometimes, a dermatologist will recommend you use a treatment schedule that gradually increases the dosage or frequency of the medication to help control side effects. Changing medications may also help.

Warning

When you are seeking prescription treatments for acne, the dermatologist must consider your lifestyle. For example, if you spend a lot of time outside, you should not use topical retinoids unless you wear heavy sunscreen because this medication causes sun sensitivity. If you are sexually active, you shouldn't use Isotretinoin, which is a systemic treatment, and tazarotene, which is a retinoid, because of the risk of birth defects.

Considerations

Besides applying acne medications to blemishes, you must also properly care for your skin. Dirt doesn't cause acne, so vigorous or frequent washing won't help to cure acne. Instead, wash the acne prone areas with a mild cleaner twice per day. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, oily cosmetics, skin care products and hair products can all worsen acne. To minimize the risk of this, use products labeled "non-comedogenic", "water-based" or "non-acnegenic." Additionally, do not scratch, pick at or pop blemishes because you risk making the acne worse and possibly causing an infection in the area, which can lead to scarring.

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