Help for Severe Acne
Severe acne can be difficult to deal with as it can cause stress and embarrassment. There are multiple kinds of severe acne, but most forms involve the formation of large and inflamed cysts, which are filled with fluid. Severe acne requires treatment by a specialist because it can last for years and cause permanent scarring. Most treatments for severe acne hinge on either reducing inflammation, preventing oil production or treating the cysts themselves.
See a dermatologist. Although a number of treatments are available over the counter for acne, they will not work well for severe acne. Severe acne is a complicated skin problem and needs a specialist (i.e., a dermatologist) to decide which treatment will work best.
Take antibiotics. Many cases of severe acne are exacerbated by a bacterial infection, Propionibacterium acnes. Taking antibiotics orally can help control the bacteria and reduce the inflammation that is causing the acne. A variety of antibiotics can be used to treat the bacteria, including doxycycline, tetracycline, minocycline and erythromycin. These antibiotics are only available with a prescription and the type of antibiotic may need to be changed periodically to combat bacteria that have become resistant to one antibiotic.
If you are female, take oral contraceptives. The hormones in oral contraceptives are also effective at inhibiting the overactive sebaceous glands that can lead to severe acne.
Use isotretinoin. Tretinoin is a synthetic form of Vitamin A and is used to treat severe forms of acne. Isotretinoin treats severe acne in multiple ways. It kills Propionibacterium acnes, inhibits sebaceous glands, prevents inflammation and opens up the pores of the skin. Consequently, it is the most effective form of acne treatment. It does, however, have some severe side effects, including severe chest and bone pain, headaches and dizziness, problems with swallowing, rectal bleeding, and vomiting. It can also cause depression and thinning of the hair.
Receive steroid injections. Dermatologists can treat severe acne by injecting diluted corticosteroids directly into the acne's cysts. This will help to relieve inflammation and can also prevent scarring.
Have the acne cysts drained. Some acne cysts do not respond to other methods of treatment, which can lead to a dermatologist deciding to drain and then remove them. This procedure should only be done by a trained dermatologist to minimize the risk of infection and scarring.
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