Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Retinoids & Acne

Retinoids & Acne Retinoids & Acne

Overview

Acne is a common skin condition that as of yet has no cure. For many people with the condition, acne is an embarrassing problem that can also have a negative effect on self-esteem. Despite the lack of cure, medical researchers have developed a variety of treatment options for mild, moderate and severe forms of acne. Retinoids are one such treatment option.

Types

Retinoids fall into two broad categories: oral and topical. Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and can be synthetic or natural. They work by sloughing off dead skin cells to unclog pores. They're particularly effective against blackheads and whiteheads. Retinoids are available by prescription only and are best used under the supervision of a dermatologist, since they can produce serious side effects. ?

Isotretinoin

Isotretinoin is one of the most powerful and effective acne treatment medications. It once was sold under the brand name Accutane but is now available in generic forms. Use of isotretinoin is reserved for severe cystic acne that hasn't responded well to other types of treatment. This retinoid is taken orally and works by decreasing oil production in the skin. It also diminishes the size of the sebaceous glands in the skin, which are responsible for oil production, and prevents pores from being clogged by oil and skin cells. ??

Adapalene

Adapalene is a topical synthetic retinoid that usually comes in gel or cream form. It is applied directly to the skin to unclog pores, prevent blackheads and whiteheads and reduce inflammation. Used properly, it clears the skin in eight to 12 weeks.

Tazarotene

Tazarotene is also a synthetic retinoid that must be applied topically. Like other retinoids, it is especially helpful in treating comedogenic acne. Women are often advised to take birth control while using tazarotene because it's linked to birth defects.

Tretinoin

Tretinoin is a natural retinoid. It was also one of the first vitamin A derivatives to be used as a topical acne treatment. Tretinoin clears out dirt, oil and dead skin cells from pores and prevents inflammatory lesions from developing. It must be applied lightly on the lesions about once a day.

Warning

Follow your dermatologist's instructions carefully when using retinoids to treat acne. ??Isotretinoin use may produce side effects such as headaches, hair loss, dry skin, fever, nausea, fatigue, vomiting and sweating. Isotretinoin and tazarotene must not be used by pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant because they are known to cause birth defects. ?? Adapalene and tretinoin are not known to cause birth defects, but typical side effects include redness, peeling, dryness, itching, burning and scaling. If increased irritation occurs when using any of these retinoids, discontinue use and contact your dermatologist.

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