Acne treatment Acne treatment

The Best Solutions for Acne

The Best Solutions for Acne The Best Solutions for Acne

Acne is a common skin ailment that affects millions of people throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Although most active through your teens and early 20s, for some, acne can last all the way through adulthood. With acne being such a common problem, there are many treatments that have been introduced to the market, with some working better than others.

Over the Counter

For non-inflammatory acne, such as blackheads and whiteheads (comedones) an over the counter topical product is typically enough to address the problem. Most over the counter products use a beta hydroxy acid called salicylic acid. Salicylic acid works by addressing problems with shedding dead skin cells. Dead skin cells can combine with a natural oil the skin produces called sebum, to block pores and provide the necessary environment for acne formation.


The bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is also believed to play a role in the formation of acne, especially more serious inflamed acne types, such as acne cysts or nodes. Antimicrobials are given by prescription and work by killing the P. acne bacteria, helping to relieve infection and inflammation. One common antimicrobial is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide works by flooding the environment of the acne bacteria with oxygen, killing the P. acnes. Other antimicrobials include topical antibiotics (such as erythromycin or clindamycin) and azelaic acid.


Retinoids are also a commonly prescribed medication for acne. Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and work by unclogging pores and preventing comedone formation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the retinoid isoretinoin is the most affective form of acne treatment due to its ability to treat all four main causes of acne formation including bacteria, skin shedding, inflammation and sebum production. Unfortunately, isoretinoin also comes with side effects, including serious risks for birth defects if used while pregnant.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment has grown in popularity for preventing acne. Laser treatment uses directed light energy to penetrate deep into the tissues of the skin where sebacious glands are located. Sebacious glands are responsible for producing sebum. The laser targets these sebacious glands and uses the light energy to damage them. The damaged sebacious glands produce less sebum, helping reduce blocked pores.

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