The Best Acne Treatments

Fighting acne involves four primary courses of treatment:

  • Limiting oil production (the cause of acne)
  • Quickening the process of skin cell turnover
  • Reducing inflammation of acne-ridden skin
  • Fighting bacterial infection at acne sites

There are a wide variety of available acne treatments available. There are oral medications and topical creams and gels to smooth over the acne-covered and acne-prone skin. There are over-the-counter acne treatments available as well as other forms of skin improvement methods that can be used in addition to or instead of prescription acne treatments depending on the severity of the acne.

Woman applying an acne treatment to her face

If you live in Florida and have acne, you may want to consider enrolling in our acne clinical trial in DeLand, Florida.

Over the counter acne treatments may work for a mild case of acne.

There are four types of these drugs:

  • Benzol peroxide (found in product example: Neutrogena on the spot)
  • Salycillic acid (found in product example: Stri-dex)
  • Sulfur (found in product example: Clearsil Adult Care)
  • Resorcinol (found in product example: Clearasil Adult Care)

Over the counter acne medications may cause the following side effects:

  • Skin irritation
  • Flaky skin
  • Dryness

These side effects present themselves upon starting treatment but should improve after four weeks of use.

Prescription acne treatments may take up to eight weeks to begin working. They are used for moderate to severe cases of acne.

Prescription acne drugs include:

  • Aczone (found in product example: Dapsone)
  • Adapalene (derived from vitamin A and target cell turnover; found in product example: Differin gel)
  • Azelaic acid (found in product example: Azelex)
  • Benzol peroxide (found in product examples: Triaz, Benzaclin)
  • Clindamycin (found in product examples: Clindets, Benzaclin)
  • Dapsone (found in product example: Aczone)
  • Erythromycin (found in product example: Benzamycin)
  • Isotretinoin (very strong medication for scarring and deep cysts; found in product examples: Accutane, Sotret)
  • Oral antibiotics (kill off excess bacteria; found in product example: Minocin)
  • Oral contraceptives (treatment for women; found in product examples: Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Yaz)
  • Sodium Sulfacetamide (found in product example: Novacet)
  • Spironolactone (found in product example: Aldactone)
  • Tazarotene (derived from vitamin A and target cell turnover; found in product example: Tazorac)
  • Tretinoin (derived from vitamin A and target cell turnover; found in product examples: Avita, Retin-a-micro)

Combination treatments:

  • Benzol peroxide plus clindamycin (found in product examples: Acanya, Benzaclin and Duac)
  • Benzol peroxide and erythromycin (Benzamycin)

Side effects caused by prescription topical treatments:

  • Burning
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Peeling
  • Dry skin

Side effects of antibiotics:

  • Skin discoloration
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Stomach pain

Side effects of Isotretinoin:

  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Nosebleeds
  • Itchy skin
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Muscle pain
  • Increase in cholesterol levels
  • Increase in triglycerides levels
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Increased risk of suicide

Side effects of oral contraceptives:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Decrease in sebum production
  • Headaches
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Increase in blood pressure

Additional treatment options for severe acne:

  • Laser and light therapy
  • Facial
  • Chemical peel
  • Dermabrasion
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Soft tissue filler
  • Skin surgery
  • Radiofrequency treatment
  • Laser resurfacing

If you are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant, talk to your doctor about which medications are safe for you and your baby. Oral medications are generally deemed unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. It is common for women to break out in acne while pregnant as a response to the hormonal changes experienced, and many of these women find that their acne clears up as their hormones return to normal levels post partum.

Talk to your dermatologist today about appropriate treatment options for your case of acne. Discuss any concerns you may have about certain drugs. Discuss any medicinal allergies, whether or not you are nursing, pregnant or trying to conceive, and any health issues you may have, such as depression, blood clotting and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol). Together with your doctor, you can pave the way to clearer skin.

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