Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Therapy for Acne

Therapy for Acne Therapy for Acne Therapy for Acne

Overview

Pimples plague almost everyone as they make the transition from childhood to adolescence. If you're suffering from mild to moderate acne, you likely have pore blockages in the form of whiteheads and blackheads, along with a smattering of small pimples. Bigger, more inflamed pimples indicate more severe acne and infection. Different acne therapies target different types of acne lesions.

Causes

Blame plugged hair follicles for acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. When your skin makes too much oil, some of it can combine with shed skin cells and become trapped in tiny hair follicles, creating whiteheads, blackheads and the pimples called papules and pustules--mild acne. Mild acne can progress to worse acne if infection sets in from a type of bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes.

Mild Type

If you treat milder types of acne, they'll probably never have a chance to progress to severe, inflamed acne. Therapy for mild acne usually involves over-the-counter products, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, which recommends the ingredients salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to fight acne. You should also make sure to follow a careful routine of face washing with a gentle cleanser twice each day to remove dirt, oil and dead skin cells.

Middle Ground

If you have whiteheads, blackheads and small pimples that cover up to three-fourths of your face, you have moderate acne, and you probably should seek help from a health care professional, notes the AAD. You start to risk getting acne scars if you let your acne go unchecked for too long. Therapy for moderate acne can include over-the-counter medications but also prescriptions that fight acne infection and abnormal rates of skin cell shedding, which contribute to skin irritation. Dermatologists often combine therapies such as oral antibiotics to fight infection with a topical retinoid, which can help clear your pores.

Worst Case

In severe acne, blockages develop deep inside the hair follicles and create cysts, which are large, pus-filled bumps on the face. Blockages also can create nodules, which are hard, infected bumps. You'll see heavy inflammation from bacterial infection, and many of these large lesions can produce scars. Therapy for this type of acne may involve a combination of several prescription drugs, perhaps including oral antibiotics to fight infection and isotretinoin, a very effective oral acne medication that combats all causes of acne. If you're a woman, oral contraceptives also can help clear this type of acne by balancing the hormones that cause oily skin.

Considerations

Regardless of which type of acne you have and which therapies you choose, it's critically important to use your medications exactly as instructed so they have the best chance of working, according to the AAD. In addition, if you're working with a dermatologist, you should use only those medications advised by that physician, since others might irritate your skin and cause more breakouts. Finally, avoid facial cleansing products that irritate your skin, and avoid popping any zits, because this can introduce infection and lead to worse acne.

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