Acne skin treatments

Teenagers have a tough time of it. When children hit the age of 11 or 12, they are already going through hormonal changes. Boys’ voices are deepening, girls are beginning menstruation, and everyone is growing taller and shapelier. Mental changes are kicking in, too. Teens suddenly find the opposite sex attractive. And with that realization, they also realize that they too want to be attractive to the opposite sex. So isn’t it one of life’s cruel ironies that at just about the same time teens start wanting to attract one another with their good looks, acne crops up. These little red bumps and pustules do absolutely no good for a teenager who is already awkward and unselfconfident about his or her changing body.

So perhaps it is no wonder that millions of acne skin treatments have cropped up through the years. This acne skin treatments have included anything from the homeopathic and old fashioned – such as soaking the skin in lemon juice – to the high tech – such as scouring the skin with intense, focused light. Whole companies – think Oxy and Clearasil – have made a name for themselves manufacturing and distributing acne skin treatments. Drug companies too have gotten in on the trend, manufacturing various pills and potions – think Acutane – that appeal to the teenager’s desire to rid his or her face and skin of pestilent acne once and for all.

The sad fact is that not all of these treatments have worked. A skeptic might even say that none of them really work. Wise mothers generally tell their children that acne, generally thought of as a teen’s condition, will clear up over time. While the skeptics and mothers of the world are usually right, there are some good acne treatments that really do help. The treatments that work generally do one or more of four things: they prevent blockage of the pores, they kill the bacteria that causes acne, they serve as anti-inflammatories, or they manipulate the hormones. The best acne skin treatments are believed to hit all of these hot button areas in one combination or another. So while an acne skin treatment might not actually get rid of acne all together, it can quite a bit to contain it and, hopefully, make outbreaks of acne less severe than they might normally have been.

Different types of acne skin treatments have included topical bactericidals, topical and oral antibiotics, topical and oral retinoids, and hormonal treatments.

The topical bactericidals used in treating acne usually include a substance called benzoyl peroxide. This substance, when rubbed on the skin (hence the term “topical”), are helpful when it comes to controlling mild to moderate acne. Most doctors and dermatologists will recommend that teens rub this substance over their affected areas twice per day. The only common side effect of topical bactericidals is that they tend to leave the skin dry.

Antibiotics can be used as an acne skin treatment either topically or orally (by mouth.) Topical and oral antibiotics are both used to kill the bacteria that is trapped in blocked pores. The only real difference between the two methods of acne skin treatment is that oral antibiotics may sometimes include side effects – such as upset stomach – while topical antibiotics do not tend to do so.

Hormonal treatments for acne are generally only tried on women. This acne skin treatment generally means giving women contraceptives that include the hormones estrogen or progestogen. These are often used when blood tests show abnormally high levels of androgens.

Retinoids, both topical and oral, are used to help prevent blockages of the pores during the cell life cycle. Accutane is an example of an oral retinoid.

If you or someone you know is suffering from acne, please contact your primary care physician before beginning an acne skin treatment.

Last updated on Nov 15th, 2011 and filed under Skin Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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