Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Prescription Treatments for Acne

Prescription Treatments for Acne Prescription Treatments for Acne Prescription Treatments for Acne

The typical case of mild acne can be treated with over-the-counter products, such as those with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Unfortunately, as acne begins to develop into more serious forms with cysts or nodes, a dermatologist will need to prescribe treatments with more powerful active ingredients to help relieve inflammation and prevent skin damage and scarring.

Retinoids

Retinoids are one of the most common forms of acne treatment. Retinoids are derived from vitamin A, and work on acne by helping to unclog pores, decrease inflammation, and keep further acne breakouts from occurring. Common prescription retinoids include tazarotene, adapalene and isotretinoin. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), isotretinoin (brand name Accutane) can cause serious side effects including birth defects. For this reason, isotretinoin is usually only reserved for cases of serious acne, such as cystic or nodular.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are also commonly prescribed to treat acne. One common contributor to acne breakouts is the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, or P. acnes. Oral broad-spectrum antibiotics, such as erythromycin or tetracycline, are used to kill this bacteria.

Contraceptives

Contraceptives may be prescribed to treat chronic acne breakouts in women. One common cause of acne is the overproduction of oil on the skin, called sebum. This oil can combine with dead skin cells to cause plugs in the pores. Contraceptives help control hormones that can cause the overproduction of sebum, helping prevent acne from occurring. The same warnings that apply to using contraceptives for birth control also apply to using them for acne treatment, including risks for blood clot development.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids might be prescribed to treat severely inflamed acne. Inflammation can cause acne cysts or nodes to burst, leaving skin damage in the form of scars. To treat the cyst or node, corticosteroids can be injected into the affected area. This reduces the inflammation and reduces the pressure on the skin.

Antimicrobials

Like antibiotics, antimicrobials attack P. acnes. Used topically, one of the most commonly prescribed antimicrobials is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria by introducing oxygen into the pores, creating an environment in which P. acnes can not live.

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