Topical Acne Therapy
When treating acne, there are a wide array of options available ranging from creams, lotions and ointments to soaps, cleansing solutions and foaming washes. Before choosing an acne therapy regimen, it is imperative that you understand what each product treats and how it works.
Before selecting a topical acne therapy to treat your skin, you need to identify which type of acne you suffer from. According to the Mayo Clinic, acne has different forms. Comedones are whiteheads and blackheads. Papules are small, raised bumps that can signify inflammation or infection of the hair follicle. Postules look similar to whiteheads in their appearance; they are red and tender and filled with white pus. Nodules are found deep under the skin and are large, solid painful bumps. Cysts are pus-filled and closely resemble a boil, which can cause infection of the skin.
Topical acne therapy can vary in forms of treatment. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, you can use topical solutions such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur preparations, azelaic acid, topical retinoids and topical antibiotics. Of course, your options are not limited to just these choices. You can treat your acne with a topical cleanser followed with an acne gel or ointment, applying these products to specific problem areas.
Topical acne treatments are a good alternative to oral acne treatments. Not everybody likes to swallow pills, such as oral antibiotics or birth control pills. Since topical acne products usually have a long shelf life, according to the AAFP, the products can last much longer than oral medications.
The AAFP states that many patients are misinformed about the causes of acne. According to the AAFP, it is a myth that acne results from poor hygiene. This means there is no need to scrub your face to rid yourself of acne or wash excessively to remove acne. Scrubbing and excess washing can actually cause more acne due to skin irritation.
Certain topical acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide and sulfur, can cause dry skin, peeling of the skin and skin irritation, according to the AAFP. Other treatments such as azelaic acid can cause photosensitivity, so you may need to limit your sun exposure. If an allergic reaction should occur, discontinue use immediately and consult your dermatologist.
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