Treating acne depends on the type and severity of your acne. Treatment also depends on how dry or oily your skin is, if you are male or female, if you are taking any medications, if you are pregnant or might be soon. These various factors affect your treatment options and can make any one size fits all acne treatment method ineffective.
Lucky their are numerous acne treatment options, so while you might not find one that works the first time, do not give up just try another. Do to the numerous acne treatments available today doctors can control most acne outbreaks; with greater success the earlier treatments are started. Hopping your acne will go away will not work, your local pharmacy is filled with many over the counter medications you can try, or visit your doctor who can prescribe more powerful treatments if needed.
The most popular way to treat mild to moderate acne is by using a topical treatment. These treatments can be in the form of a gel, cream, lotion or on a pad. They are applied to the surface of your skin, hence the name topical. The two main over the counter topic treatments are Salicylic acid and Benzoyl peroxide. Prescription Salicylic acid and Benzoyl peroxide are also available in stronger doses if required. Doctors my also prescribe ointments containing sulfur, tetracycline, erythromycin or a retinoid. Many times you will need to use a combination of the above treatments for best results.
Salicylic acid and retinoids are used to treat the clogged hair follicles that are causing the acne lesions. They penetrate the pores and help the dead skin cells dissolve. Benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, tetracycline and erythromycin are antibacterial ointments used to treat the inflammation and kill the bacteria in the blocked follicles.
For people with moderate to server acne, in addition to topical treatments they my also require some type of oral medication to treat their acne. The three types of oral medications are antibiotics, hormones, and isotretinoins. All three require a prescription.
Tetracycline, erythromycin, clindamycin, and doxycycline are the most common prescribed antibiotics. They work by being absorbed through the digestive system, then into the blood, and then into the hair follicles where they kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. This option would be used when topical antibiotic treatments were unsuccessful.
Hormones are an option available to treat teenage girls and women with acne. They are usually taken in the form of a birth control pill. They work by increasing the level of female hormones in the bloodstream. This helps reduce the production of androgen, which will then reduce the production of sebum.
For severe acne, isotretinoin is often used. It is a powerful drug that treats acne by stopping all of the changes in the skin that causes acne. It kills bacteria, reduces sebum production, and slows the growth of skin cells.
All of the above acne treatment options should be reviewed carefully prior to use. As with any type of medication they all present some type of risk or side effect. For the over the counter treatments read the product labels and warnings to see if the product is right for you. For prescription acne treatments discuss with your doctor all of the potential sides effects you may experience.