begin with self-care and includes over-the-counter medications and prescriptions. Letís begin with the following self-care treatments that usually lesson the effects of acne:
Cleanse your skin gently once or twice a day with a mild, non-drying soap. Itís especially important to remove makeup at night. Itís also a good idea to cleanse after exercising. However, avoid excessive or repeated skin washing.
Shampoo your hair daily, especially if it's oily. Comb or pull your hair back to keep the hair out of your face.
Try not to squeeze, scratch, or pick the pimples. Although it might be tempting to do this, it can lead to scarring and skin infections. Avoid touching your face.
Avoid greasy cosmetics or creams. Look for water-based or "non-comedogenic" formulas.
If these steps do not clear up the blemishes, the next step would be to try over-the-counter acne medications that are applied directly to the skin. These lotions and creams may contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid. They work by killing bacteria and drying up the oil, but may cause your skin to peel.
If self-treatments donít work, you may need to visit a dermatologist who can prescribe a stronger medication and discuss other acne treatment options. Prescription medicines used to treat acne include:
Prescription formulas of benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid.
Oral antibiotics such as minocycline, doxycycline, and tetracycline. Antibiotics are reserved for more severe cases of acne. With increasing resistance of P. acnes worldwide, they are becoming less effective. Topical antibiotics (applied to the skin) such as clindamycin or erythromycin may also be used as an acne treatment.
Topical retinoids are a group of medications for normalizing the follicle cell life-cycle and include tretinoin (Retin-A), adapalene (Differin), and tazarotene (Tazorac.) They are related to vitamin A, but are administered as topicals and, in general, have mild side-effects. They can, however, cause significant irritation of the skin. The retinoids appear to influence the cell creation and death life-cycle of cells in the follicle lining. This helps prevent a blockage in the follicle. Retinol, a form of vitamin A, has similar, but milder, effects and is used in many over-the-counter moisturizers and other topical products. Effective topical retinoids have been in use over 30 years, but are available only by prescription, so are not as widely used as the other topical treatments. Topical retinoids often cause an initial flare-up of acne and facial flushing.
Oral retinoid, or an oral form of vitamin A derivative (isotretinoin,) which is marketed as Roaccutane, Accutane, Amnesteem, Sotret, Claravis, and Clarus, may be taken over a period of 4 to 6 months and can cause long-term resolution or reduction of acne. It is believed that isotretinoin works primarily by reducing the secretion of oils from the glands, however some studies suggest that it affects other acne-related factors as well. It has been shown to be very effective in treating severe acne and will often cure it for good. However, the treatment requires close medical supervision because the drug has many known side-effects (many of which can be severe.)
In females, hormonal treatments, in the form of birth control pills, can sometimes help clear up acne (although in some cases, they may make it worse.) Other treatments may include chemical skin peeling, removal of scars by dermabrasion, or removal or drainage of cysts. A small amount of sun exposure may also improve acne. Excessive exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays is not recommended, however, due to the risk of skin cancer.