Acne is a skin condition that plagues individuals of all ages, though pubescent teenagers and young adults have the worst end of the stick. Pimples and scars affect one who is acne-prone both personally and socially. Though there are several oral medications and cosmetic procedures that can help cope with acne woes, most people are hesitant to take such extreme measures. In such circumstances, topical treatments come to the rescue, presenting the least invasive method of solving skin problems. The effectiveness of these ointments, lotions, and potions depends upon appropriate dosage, proper application, and regular use.
An inexpensive yet popular topical treatment for acne is benzoyl peroxide. This is used for treating milder forms of acne. This over-the-counter medication works in three steps – it kills bacteria, minimizes inflammation, and aids in unclogging blocked pores. It works effectively for clearing inflamed spots and blackheads. Benzoyl peroxide is available in the market alcohol-based and water-based. You can buy the medication as gels, creams, or lotions easily, without a prescription. Moreover, it comes in various strengths – 2.5% to 10% concentration. All you need to do is, wash your face for 20 minutes before applying benzoyl peroxide. Apply it twice a day to see a marked difference in your breakouts.
Salicylic acid is good at preventing pimples and clearing acne. This over-the-counter preparation is well-tolerated and it works best when applied twice a day. Available at concentrations of 0.5% to 2% in various lotions and creams, salicylic acid lightly peels the skin and unclogs the pores. It doesn’t stop the production of oil; instead, it clears out your pores. However, the ones who use salicylic acid for the treatment of acne often complain of dry, irritated skin, primarily during the beginning of the treatment.
Retinoids are one of the best acne removers, mainly used for treating mild to moderate forms of acne. Derived from Vitamin A, retinoids prevent the obstruction of pores which may cause blackheads. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and lightens spots that result from overexposure to the sun. Some of the most commonly used retinoids are available only through prescription. The use of topical retinoids can lead to skin redness and peeling, which settles down over time. You may notice the spots worsening before they finally clear up.
Clindamycin is an effective antibiotic that helps reduce the number of acne lesions by hampering the growth of bacteria. It usually is available in the market in a solution, lotion, gel, or foam type. In order to use this antibiotic, you first need to clean the affected area and allow it to dry out. If you are using a lotion, shake the bottle well and then apply one layer of medication to the affected area.
Antibiotics can be taken in both oral and pill forms. They are used primarily to treat acne of milder kinds by stopping the growth of bacteria. However, they work little on unplugging pores, blackheads, and whiteheads. Usually, antibiotics are prescribed in combination with other medicines. Using them alone may make them less effective. Antibiotics may be combined with retinoids or Benzoyl Peroxide to control bacteria that contribute to acne.
Azelaic acid skin cream or gel can be used to clear the bumps and treat flaky skin. The medication can clear up acne by killing bacteria that infects pores. Azelaic works by breaking down the protein (keratin) that blocks the skin pores. Use of this prescription medication in cream form is recommended twice a day. This treatment often takes 4 to 5 months to show its effect. And in case you do not notice improvement, keep using the medicated cream. Some of the side effects which may follow the use of Azelaic include burning, itching, dryness, and irritation.
Young women can turn to oral contraceptives (birth control pills) for putting an end to their breakouts. Though these pills are safe and effective, they are not for everyone. What these pills basically do is increase estrogen and progestin levels in the body, which in turn reduces the severity of acne. They primarily regulate the oil-secreting hormones within the body and decrease the possibility of breakouts. However, there are a lot of side effects (both positive and negative) associated with the use of birth control pills, which is why a doctor’s consultation is a must before their use.
Amongst the various varieties of antibiotics, sulfa antibiotics are the oldest ones known for the treatment of acne. This wondrous drug curbs the growth of bacteria, owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. While they can be used for acne removal, they can only be bought by prescription. Topical sulfa antibiotics must be applied two times a day for best results. Remember, sulfa antibiotics often cause serious complications; therefore they shouldn’t be used as first-line treatment for breakouts.
Isotretinoin (also called Accutane or Sotret) is a derivative of Vitamin A that is usually prescribed by doctors for treating individuals with “severe nodular acne. Nodules basically refer to inflammatory lesions which are 5mm in size or more. The medication reduces the secretion of oil produced under the skin, which causes acne. As Isotretinoin can lead to birth defects as well as other side effects like liver damage, only physicians who are FDA-approved can prescribe the medication. This drug has the potential to suppress breakouts for a longer period of time.
An emerging treatment for acne removal is a laser. There are a number of laser treatments that can treat acne in a lot of differing ways. A low-intensity blue or red light is used for killing acne that causes bacteria. Usually, one sitting is not enough for permanent acne removal. A series of treatments is required for long-term treatment. Laser treatment destroys sebaceous glands responsible for reducing the production of oil. They may be slightly painful and can result in reddening of the skin.