What is the Best Acne Treatment Program?
Acne, classified as breakouts of pimples on the face, neck, chest or back, is a medical condition that does not always require the treatment of a dermatologist, states the Mayo Clinic. Mild and moderate cases can be cured with an over-the-counter treatment program, while more severe cases of acne can require a dermatologist to prescribe a stronger treatment program.
Acne is caused due to a buildup of oil on the skin, causing clogged pores and hair follicles. This oil can also create bacteria on your skin, making acne worse. The best treatment programs kill bacteria on the skin as well as reducing the buildup of oil on the skin. For some patients, over-the-counter treatments are strong enough. For other patients, a stronger medication may be required.
Types of the most effective over-the-counter acne treatments include an active ingredient of benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, resorcinol, sulfur or lactic acid, according to the Mayo Clinic. The most effective prescription acne treatments are tazarotene, adapalene, tretinoin and benzoyl peroxide used in combination with other medications, including erythromycin and clindamycin, states the Mayo Clinic. Which product will work best for each individual patient depends on the way the patient's body reacts to each medication.
For particularly severe cases of acne, which usually includes painful cysts and nodules forming under the skin, prescription oral medications may be prescribed. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed alone or in conjunction with a topical medication to kill bacteria that may be causing breakouts. For the most severe acne cases, isotretinoin, also known as Accutane, may be prescribed, although women that are pregnant or nursing should not take isotretinoin.
Side effects of acne treatment medications may vary on their strength and the medication used. Most over-the-counter acne medications may cause dryness, redness and flaky skin. Prescription medications may cause more severe effects on the skin, including scaliness. Isotretinoin has the most severe side effects, which include depression and suicidal thoughts. Individuals who decide to take isotretinoin should be closely monitored by a doctor while taking the medication.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the oral contraceptives may also provide relief from acne for women. This is because more hormones may be released during a female's menstrual cycle. While on the pill, the hormones remain more constant, leading to fewer breakouts in some women. Additionally, teenagers, as well as pregnant and menopausal women, may get breakouts more often because of the higher release of hormones in the body.
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