Acne is one of the most common skin disorders in both males and females, occurring on the chest, face, shoulders and back. Almost everyone between the age of puberty and adulthood experiences acne. Because of the prevalence of acne, many people search for an acne treatment, often for various reasons. Some are lucky to just have occasional breakouts while others have ongoing problems with Acne Rosacea and resulting acne scarring, so much so that they feel anxious, embarrassed and inferior about their appearance.
If you have acne, whether mild or severe, it should not be taken for granted and accepted as just part of growing up. Various types of acne treatments have been developed for specific kinds and differing severities of acne. Finding the correct acne treatment helps address both physical and emotional damages that acne can bring to the one’s life.
Any signs of acne should be treated as soon as possible. The longer acne is left to progress without treatment, the higher the possibility of scarring. Acne treatment primarily depends on the type of acne and its severity. Your dermatologist can best prescribe the appropriate treatment for your acne but it pays for you to be knowledgeable about this skin condition. Here are some of the common procedures in treating acne.
Topical skin cleansers are the most common medication for mild acne. Cleansers for skin usually contain salicylic acid, which helps unclog skin pores. In mild acne, treatment is much easier since there is almost no inflammation. In this case, sometimes simple cleansing is enough to dry up and heal the pimple.
Over the Counter /Prescribed Topical Medicine
Topical drugs, available as gels, lotions or creams, are used directly on the skin as topical acne treatments. Topical medication may be prescribed or bought over the counter for mild acne and may be effective when there is no inflammation. Topical medication includes antibiotics to kill the bacteria which caused the inflammation and comedolytics, which loosen the plugs on skin pores and prevent new comedos from forming. Depending on various factors, treatment of acne with topical drugs may last from a few weeks to a few years. The side effects include skin peeling, irritation, and mild redness.
Benzoyl peroxide, available in various concentrations (and brands), is a popular antibacterial and keratolytic topical acne treatment, especially in cases of mild and moderate acne.
Oral drugs include some antibiotics that kill bacteria and reduce inflammation and comedo formation in moderate acne.
In addition to antibiotics, Isotretinoin is another oral drug used in treating acne that is severe and is manifested as cysts and nodules. Tretinoin reduces sebum production and treatment of acne lasts for up to four or five months on the average, with a 60% success rate.
However, women should carefully assess their options with a Physician before agreeing to Tretinoin therapy as an acne treatment option because it may cause birth defects if taken by pregnant women. Furthermore, Tretinoin can produce side effects like nosebleeds, vision problems, higher liver enzyme production and excess cholesterol.
Other oral drugs designed to treat acne include anti-androgens, which reduce sebum production, and corticosteroids, which are another type of anti-inflammatory drug. Corticosteroids are also administered through intralesional injection, or the injection of anti-inflammatory drugs directly into the inflamed acne. Birth control pills and hormone therapy drugs are anti-androgens
Chemical Peels and Dermabrasion
This involves the application of an exfoliate, such as glycolic acid, to the areas affected by acne. Sometimes, microdermabrasion is used as an alternative. The result is the peeling off of the top skin layers that opens comedones, and since the pores are no longer clogged, acne is eliminated.
Comedone/ cyst extraction
Comedo extraction is simply the sterile removal of whiteheads and blackheads. Using special tools, a doctor makes an incision on the infected skin and removes the comedo from a skin pore.
Cystic Acne is addressed by draining and extracting the bacteria, sebum and foreign debris that have clogged at the base of the hair follicle. These procedures are usually implemented simultaneously with topical and/or oral drug treatment.
A quick way to dry out cysts is to inject them with steroids.
Ultra Violet (UV) light used to be a popular light source for killing propionibacterium that infects the excess oil in acne. This acne treatment suffered a decline in popularity when studies identified that UV light may increase the chance of acquiring skin cancer.
Blue Light Therapy (named because of the color of the light) is an alternative kind of phototherapy for mild and moderate acne. Medical studies report a significant reduction in lesions of patients who were treated with blue light for acne twice a week, for 5 weeks. Two patients reported dryness of skin but no one discontinued treatment. Blue light irradiation reduces the quantity of Propionibacteriumacnes (p.acnes).
Light Therapy Energy (LHE), another form of phototherapy for the treatment of acne, addresses cases where acne is moderate to severe. The green light shrinks the sebaceous glands, decreasing sebum production. With reduced sebum, bacteria is not attracted to the skin pore in such quantities. Treatment is usually performed twice per week, and is over in one month.
FDA approved in 2002 as a treatment for acne, laser treatment starts with the topical application of anesthetic cream, followed by low-level laser beam therapy directed at the acne-affected areas of the skin. The beam heats the sebaceous or oil producing glands that clog the skin pores and kills the bacteria. The treatment session is usually performed three to four times per month, and boasts close to a 100% success rate is reported by users.
The disadvantage of laser acne treatment is that most insurance coverage will not cover this procedure.
Modern medical research has made available various and effective acne treatments. It’s the responsibility of those who suffer from acne, as well as the consulting Physician or Dermatologist, to make good use of these discoveries and research the proper solution
Written by – Jeremy Langart
www.acneskinguide.com – A health resource dedicated to providing factual information and clearing up myths about acne and acne treatment.