If you ‘ve tried over-the-counter ( nonprescription ) acne products for several weeks and they have n’t helped, ask your sophisticate about prescription-strength medications. A dermatologist can help you :
- Control your acne
- Avoid scarring or other damage to your skin
- Make scars less noticeable
Acne medications work by reducing oil production and swelling or by treating bacterial infection. With most prescription acne drugs, you may not see results for four to eight weeks. It can take many months or years for your acne to clear up completely .
The discussion regimen your doctor recommends depends on your age, the type and austereness of your acne, and what you are willing to commit to. For exercise, you may need to wash and apply medications to the feign peel twice a sidereal day for several weeks. topical medications and drugs you take by mouth ( oral medicine ) are frequently used in combination. treatment options for fraught women are restrict ascribable to the gamble of side effects.
talk with your repair about the risks and benefits of medications and early treatments you are considering. And make follow-up appointments with your doctor every three to six months until your peel improves .
The most common topical prescription medications for acne are :
Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs. Drugs that contain retinoic acids or tretinoin are often utilitarian for moderate acne. These come as creams, gels and lotions. Examples include tretinoin ( Avita, Retin-A, others ), adapalene ( Differin ) and tazarotene ( Tazorac, Avage, others ). You apply this medicine in the evening, beginning with three times a workweek, then casual as your skin becomes used to it. It prevents plugging of haircloth follicles. Do not apply tretinoin at the like time as benzoyl peroxide .
topical retinoids increase your skin ‘s sun sensitivity. They can besides cause dry skin and red, specially in people with skin of semblance. Adapalene may be tolerated best .
- Antibiotics. These work by killing excess skin bacteria and reducing redness and inflammation. For the first few months of treatment, you may use both a retinoid and an antibiotic, with the antibiotic applied in the morning and the retinoid in the evening. The antibiotics are often combined with benzoyl peroxide to reduce the likelihood of developing antibiotic resistance. Examples include clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide (Benzaclin, Duac, others) and erythromycin with benzoyl peroxide (Benzamycin). Topical antibiotics alone aren’t recommended.
Azelaic acid and salicylic acid. Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acerb produced by a yeast. It has antibacterial properties. A 20 % azelaic acid cream or mousse seems to be ampere effective as many conventional acne treatments when used doubly a day. Prescription azelaic acid ( Azelex, Finacea ) is an choice during pregnancy and while breast-feeding. It can besides be used to manage stain that occurs with some types of acne. side effects include skin red and minor skin irritation .
Salicylic acid may help prevent plugged hair follicles and is available as both wash-off and leave-on products. Studies showing its effectiveness are limited. side effects include skin discoloration and minor clamber excitation .
- Dapsone. Dapsone (Aczone) 5% gel twice daily is recommended for inflammatory acne, especially in women with acne. Side effects include redness and dryness.
evidence is not impregnable in support of using zinc, sulphur, nicotinamide, resorcinol, sulfacetamide sodium or aluminum chloride in topical treatments for acne .
Antibiotics. For mince to severe acne, you may need oral antibiotics to reduce bacteria. normally the first choice for treating acne is a tetracycline ( minocycline, doxycycline ) or a macrolide ( erythromycin, azithromycin ). A macrolide might be an choice for people who ca n’t take tetracyclines, including meaning women and children under 8 years old .
oral antibiotics should be used for the shortest time possible to prevent antibiotic resistance. And they should be combined with other drugs, such as benzoyl peroxide, to reduce the risk of developing antibiotic underground .
austere side effects from the habit of antibiotics to treat acne are rare. These drugs do increase your skin ‘s sunday sensitivity .
Combined oral contraceptives. Four combine oral contraceptives are approved by the FDA for acne therapy in women who besides wish to use them for contraception. They are products that combine progestin and estrogen ( Ortho Tri-Cyclen 21, Yaz, others ). You may not see the benefit of this discussion for a few months, so using other acne medications with it for the inaugural few weeks may help .
park side effects of combine oral contraceptives are system of weights profit, breast softheartedness and nausea. These drugs are besides associated with increase hazard of cardiovascular problems, summit cancer and cervical cancer .
- Anti-androgen agents. The drug spironolactone (Aldactone) may be considered for women and adolescent girls if oral antibiotics aren’t helping. It works by blocking the effect of androgen hormones on the oil-producing glands. Possible side effects include breast tenderness and painful periods.
Isotretinoin. Isotretinoin ( Amnesteem, Claravis, others ) is a derived function of vitamin A. It may be prescribed for people whose control or austere acne has n’t responded to early treatments .
likely side effects of oral isotretinoin include incendiary intestine disease, depression and severe birth defects. All people receiving isotretinoin must participate in an FDA-approved risk management program. And they ‘ll need to see their doctors regularly to monitor for side effects .
For some people, the be therapies might be helpful, either alone or in combination with medications .
- Light therapy. A variety of light-based therapies have been tried with some success. Most will require multiple visits to your doctor’s office. Further study is needed to determine the ideal method, light source and dose.
- Chemical peel. This procedure uses repeated applications of a chemical solution, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid or retinoic acid. This treatment is for mild acne. It might improve the appearance of the skin, though the change is not long lasting and repeat treatments are usually needed.
- Drainage and extraction. Your doctor may use special tools to gently remove whiteheads and blackheads (comedos) or cysts that haven’t cleared up with topical medications. This technique temporarily improves the appearance of your skin, but it might also cause scarring.
- Steroid injection. Nodular and cystic lesions can be treated by injecting a steroid drug into them. This therapy has resulted in rapid improvement and decreased pain. Side effects may include skin thinning and discoloration in the treated area.
Most studies of acne drugs have involved people 12 years of age or older. increasingly, younger children are getting acne ampere well. The FDA has expanded the number of topical products approved for use in children. And guidelines from the american Academy of Dermatology indicate that topical benzoyl peroxide, adapalene and tretinoin in preteen children are effective and do n’t cause increase risk of side effects .
If your child has acne, consider consulting a pediatric dermatologist. Ask about drugs to avoid in children, appropriate doses, drug interactions, side effects, and how discussion may affect a child ‘s emergence and development .
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Some alternate and integrative music approaches might be helpful in reducing acne :
- Tea tree oil. Gels containing at least 5% tea tree oil may be as effective as lotions containing 5% benzoyl peroxide, although tea tree oil might work more slowly. Possible side effects include minor itching, burning, redness and dryness, which make it a poor choice for people with rosacea.
- Brewer’s yeast. A strain of brewer’s yeast called Hansen CBS seems to help decrease acne when taken orally. It may cause gas (flatulence).
More research is needed to establish the electric potential potency and long-run base hit of these and early integrative approaches, such as biofeedback and ayurvedic compounds. lecture with your doctor about the pros and cons of specific treatments before you try them .
Lifestyle and home remedies
You can try to avoid or control meek or centrist acne with nonprescription products, good basic clamber manage and early self-care techniques :
Wash problem areas with a gentle cleanser. Twice a day, use your hands to wash your face with mild soap or a gentle cleansing agent ( Cetaphil, Vanicream, others ) and warm body of water. If your hair is oily, shampoo every day. And be aristocratic if you ‘re shaving affect skin .
Avoid certain products, such as facial scrub, astringents and masks. They tend to irritate the skin, which can worsen acne. Too much wash and cancel besides can irritate the peel .
Try over-the-counter acne products to dry excess oil and promote peeling. Look for products containing benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient. You might besides try products containing salicylic acidic, glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acids. It may take a few weeks of using a product before you see any improvement .
Creams are less irritating than gels or ointments. Nonprescription acne medications may cause initial side effects — such as inflammation, sobriety and scaling — that frequently improve after the first month of using them .
- Avoid irritants. Oily or greasy cosmetics, sunscreens, hairstyling products or acne concealers can worsen acne. Instead, use products labeled water-based or noncomedogenic, which means they are less likely to cause acne.
- Protect your skin from the sun. For some people, the sun worsens the discoloration that sometimes lingers after the acne has cleared. And some acne medications make you more susceptible to sunburn. Check with your doctor to see if your medication is one of these. If it is, stay out of the sun as much as possible. Regularly use a nonoily (noncomedogenic) moisturizer that includes a sunscreen.
- Avoid friction or pressure on your skin. Protect your acne-prone skin from contact with items such as phones, helmets, tight collars or straps, and backpacks.
- Avoid touching or picking acne-prone areas. Doing so can trigger more acne or lead to infection or scarring.
- Shower after strenuous activities. Oil and sweat on your skin can lead to breakouts.
Coping and support
Acne and acne scars can cause anxiety and may affect your social relationships and self-image. Sometimes it can help to talk with your kin, a support group or a advocate .
stress can worsen acne. Try to manage stress by getting adequate sleep and practicing liberalization techniques .
Preparing for your appointment
If you have acne that ‘s not responding to self-care and nonprescription treatments, make an date with your doctor of the church. early, effective discussion of acne reduces the risk of scarring and of last damage to your self-esteem. After an initial examen, your doctor may refer you to a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions ( dermatologist ).
here ‘s some data to help you get fix for your appointee .
What you can do
- List your key medical information, such as other conditions you’re dealing with and any prescription or over-the-counter products you’re using, including vitamins and supplements.
- List key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- List questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
Below are some basic questions to ask your repair about acne. If any extra questions occur to you during your visit, do n’t hesitate to ask .
- What treatment approach do you recommend for me?
- If the first treatment doesn’t work, what will you recommend next?
- What are the possible side effects of the medications you’re prescribing?
- How long can I safely use the medications you’re prescribing?
- How soon after beginning treatment might my symptoms start to improve?
- When will you see me again to evaluate whether my treatment is working?
- Is it safe to stop my medications if they don’t seem to be working?
- What self-care steps might improve my symptoms?
- Do you recommend any changes to my diet?
- Do you recommend any changes to the over-the-counter products I’m using on my skin, including soaps, lotions, sunscreens and cosmetics?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor of the church is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being quick to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask :
- When did you first develop this problem?
- Does anything in particular seem to trigger an acne flare, such as stress or — in girls and women — your menstrual cycle?
- What medications are you taking, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs as well as vitamins and supplements?
- In girls and women: Do you use oral contraceptives?
- In girls and women: Do you have regular menstrual periods?
- In girls and women: Are you pregnant, or do you plan to become pregnant soon?
- What types of soaps, lotions, sunscreens, hair products or cosmetics do you use?
- How is acne affecting your self-esteem and your confidence in social situations?
- Do you have a family history of acne?
- What treatments and self-care steps have you tried so far? Have any been effective?
- Have other family members had isotretinoin treatment or hormone therapy to treat their acne? Has it been effective?