Skin Acne Treatment
Acne is a skin condition that most commonly appears on the face although it can affect any other body area where the skin has hair follicles such as the neck, chest, shoulders and back. According to Nemours, one of the largest nonprofit organizations devoted to the health care of children, about 80 percent of teenagers will get acne. It usually clears up in adulthood but some adults continue to have outbreaks. This is especially common for women due to hormonal fluctuations. Fortunately, there are many skin acne treatments available over the counter or by prescription.
Nemours explains that acne is caused by clogged hair follicles, which are also known as pores. Pores have oil glands that make a substance called sebum. Excess production can clog the pore and lead to acne. Dead skin cells can also contribute to clogging. Bacteria get trapped inside the blocked area, leading to inflammation that will manifest itself as a blackhead, whitehead or other type of pimple. Acne treatments addresses these causes by targeting the excess oil and bacteria.
The Mayo Clinic states that benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, lactic acid, sulfur or resorcinol are common ingredients in over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments. They dry up oily skin, help dead skin cells slough off and eliminate bacteria. This clears up existing acne and helps prevent future outbreaks. OTC preparations come in cream or lotion form. They sometimes irritate the skin when they are first used but this usually resolves itself within a month of regular use.
Doctors can prescribe stronger lotions if OTC treatments do not work. These lotions may contain stronger doses of OTC ingredients or substances containing vitamin A derivatives. Some prescription creams contain antibiotics to fight bacteria more effectively. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed in especially stubborn cases.
Isotretinoin, an oral medication known by the brand name Accutane, may be prescribed for severe acne. The Mayo Clinic explains that it is usually a last resort because it can have severe side effects, including dry mouth and eyes, sensitivity to the sun, achy muscles, night vision impairment, and elevated cholesterol, triglycerides and liver enzymes. It is also suspected of causing depression and suicidal thoughts in some people.
Woman may be treated with oral contraceptives which often improve acne linked to the menstrual cycle.
Acne can often be prevented, or the frequency of outbreaks can be reduced, with some simple techniques. You can use make-up labeled as nonacnegenic, noncomedogenic or oil free, as these will not clog the hair follicles. The face should be washed thoroughly but gently with a mild cleansing product. Hair should be washed daily, especially if it is long and is frequently in contact with facial skin.
Acne can cause unsightly permanent scars. Scratching, picking or popping pimples will make a scar more likely to occur. There are some treatments to minimize a scar's appearance. A dermatologist can resurface the skin with microdermabrasion, a chemical peel or a laser. The scar will not be completely removed but it will not be as readily noticeable. Insurance generally will not cover these treatments because they are cosmetic rather than medically necessary.
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