Acne Control Treatment
If you're trying to manage your acne, knowing the causes and your treatment options is important. Acne comes in different forms, such as whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and cysts. Treatments can range from topical applications and oral medications to microdermabrasion.
You may have heard that poor hygiene or bad eating habits can cause acne, but that simply isn't true, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In fact, the academy says that excessive washing can irritate your skin further. The academy advises washing in a gentle circular motion with a mild soap twice a day. You may have also heard that acne must run its course. Likewise, this is untrue, according to the academy. Acne is treatable in a variety of ways.
Topical Therapy Treatments
Topical treatments include lotions, creams, solutions and gels. Over-the-counter products containing sulfur and sodium sulfacetamide are options you can try before seeing your dermatologist. Some over-the-counter cosmetics now feature acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid. The Academy of Dermatology warns that although acne-fighting cosmetics may seem promising, they are not an effective control method.
Topical medications containing benzoyl peroxide and an antimicrobial, such as erythromycin or clindamycin, are effective prescription treatments for mild to moderate acne.
Retinoid, available over-the-counter and by prescription, is often used to treat blackheads and small bumps under the skin, according to the academy. Prescription-strength retinoid is most effective, because the medication is more concentrated. The academy says that retinoids are believed to be the only effective medication for conquering microcomedones, which are lesions preceding acne.
The American Academy of Dermatology says that acne can often involve hormonal swings, and oral medications can be effective at combating acne while minimizing hormone fluctuations. The academy says that oral medications for women can include birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy and spironolactone. Typically, younger to middle-aged women take contraceptives to control acne, while hormone therapy replacement is used by women who are menopausal.
For both men and women, an oral antibiotic is often prescribed. For severe or stubborn acne, oral isotretinoin may be prescribed.
For persistent cysts or nodules, your dermatologist may inject a corticosteroid directly into the lesion. This reduces swelling and pain as well as scarring.
Chemical peels, available in at-home-kits and spa-like settings, are another option. Microdermabrasion is an in-office procedure your dermatologist might do. At-home microdermabrasion kits are also available, but dermatologists typically do not recommend using them because they can cause damage if used too aggressively.
Laser treatment is another procedure your dermatologist may recommend.
When to See Your Dermatologist
You may need to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist when at-home remedies have failed. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a consultation may be in order if your acne makes you shy, you are embarrassed by your acne, or your outlook on life has became less optimistic. Acne can cause permanent scarring and discoloration, so it's imperative that you treat your acne before it gets out of control.
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