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Treatments For Acne and Pimples

Treatments For Acne and Pimples Treatments For Acne and Pimples

Acne is a condition that affects the skin, usually on the face, back, chest, or all three. Acne creates red pustules on the skin that can be painful, swollen cysts or filled with pus. Acne can be treated at home in many cases. If acne cannot be cured with over-the-counter acne treatments, stronger topical or oral treatments are available with a prescription from a dermatologist.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

Acne that is mild or moderate can be treated with over-the-counter acne treatments, provided these treatments contain effective active ingredients. The Mayo Clinic recommends over-the-counter acne treatments that contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid or lactic acid as an active ingredient. Although some active ingredients may work better than others for some patients these ingredients have been proven to help some cases of acne. Additionally, patients should look for over-the-counter treatments that are oil-free and non-comedogenic so the treatment does not clog pores or make acne worse.

Topical Prescription Treatments

For moderate to severe acne, over-the-counter treatments may be ineffective. Individuals who have tried over-the-counter acne treatments for several months without results can consult a dermatologist, who will recommend a topical prescription treatment. The Mayo Clinic recommends vitamin-A derived medications like tretinoin, adapalene and tazarotene, as well as medications that contain a combination of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin or erythromycin. The Mayo Clinic warns that some topical prescription acne medications may cause side effects in some individuals, including "stinging, burning, redness or peeling of the skin."

Oral Prescription Treatments

Some cases of severe acne may only respond to oral treatments or a combination of both oral and topical treatments. In some cases, severe acne may respond to oral antibiotics, which will kill bacteria that causes pimples on the skin. If the patient does not respond to oral antibiotics, isotretinoin may be prescribed. Isotretinoin is a medication prescribed particularly for cystic acne that scars the skin. Isotretinoin also may cause severe side effects, including birth defects, depression and an increased risk of suicide.

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