Effective Acne Removal
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, "Between 17-45 million people have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the United States." You may feel overwhelmed by how to effectively treat your acne, but once you identify the severity of your acne, you can decide how to treat it. Fear not, blemish-free skin is within reach!
Acne often develops during adolescence, between the ages of 16 and 18 years of age. Hormones cause oil glands in the skin to expand and produce sebum. The sebum and dead skin cells block skin pores causing them to become blocked, resulting in comedones or papules. According to Dermnet NZ, "Acne usually becomes less of a problem after the age of 25 years, although about 15 percent of women and 5 percent of men continue to have acne as adults."
Mild acne which consists of blackheads, whiteheads or pustules that are visible near the surface of the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends home treatment which includes washing the affected area with mild soap and warm water. In addition, use an over-the-counter acne treatment that contains benzol peroxide or salicylic acid. Consult a dermatologist if you do not see an improvement after four to eight weeks of treatment. A dermatologist may recommend a prescription combination therapy of a topical antimicrobial -- a medication that kills microorganisms --or a retinoid -- a substance derived from vitamin A that is beneficial to the skin.
Moderate to moderately severe acne is present when multiple whiteheads, blackbeads, papules and pustules cover ¼ to ¾ of affected areas of your skin, including your face. Moderate to moderately severe acne often requires the assistance of a dermatologist, who can propose a combination therapy of several treatments. Options include extraction of acne lesions or light therapy and over-the-counter acne medications. She may also recommend prescription medication, including topical antimicrobials and retinoids or oral antibiotics and contraceptives.
Severe acne requires aggressive treatment. Severe acne includes deep cysts, inflammation and serious damage to the skin from acne and scarring. Your dermatologist may recommend drainage and surgical excision, cortisone injections, Isotretinoin, oral antibiotics and oral contraceptives.
Drainage and surgical excision are often called "acne surgery." Dermatologists perform this procedure if cysts do not respond to medication. Doctors use interlesional corticosteroid injections on severely inflamed cysts to prevent scarring. The doctor will inject the lesion with diluted corticosteroid to reduce inflammation, and may follow the surgery by prescribing Isotretinoin, a drug designated to treat severe cystic acne. It is effective because it treats the four contributing factors to acne: excess oil production, clogged skin pores, P. acnes bacteria and inflammation. Isotretinoin comes in a pill form.
The American Academy of Dermatology cautions that Isotretinoin can have extremely serious side effects. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant must be aware that this drug can cause severe birth defects in a developing fetus. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss the use of this medication with your health care provider. In addition, oral contraceptives carry side effects and should not be prescribed for women who smoke, have a blood-clotting disorder, have a history of migraine headaches or are over the age of 35.
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