There are many different acne treatments that will reduce oil production, speed up skin cell turnover, fight bacterial infection, reduce inflammation, or all four. The best acne treatment for you depends on the severity of your acne. It may take weeks before you see any improvements and sometimes with antibiotics for acne, things get worse before they get better, but you just have to find what works for you. If your acne is very severe you may need to combine a couple treatments before you see a difference. There are many different topical treatments, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and even home remedies.
One of the most commonly used ingredients in lotions, gels, cleansers and creams for acne is Benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is used for mild cases of acne and is safe for children as well; it can also be used with other topical or oral treatments. Benzoyl peroxide works by destroying the bacteria that causes acne. It acts as an antiseptic and oxidizing agent to reduce the number of blocked pores. The most common side effect may be mild dryness; you can apply an oil-free moisturizer if necessary. It may be 2-3 weeks before you see improvement, if you don’t see any improvement it may be a good time to see your doctor or dermatologist to prescribe something stronger.
Tretinoin is a prescription lotion that is derived from vitamin A. They work by promoting cell turnover and preventing plugging of the hair follicles. This may be sold under the name of Avita, Renova, or Vesanoid. Doctors can also prescribe antibiotics to go along with topical treatments for people who have moderate to severe acne. Antibiotics work by destroying the bacteria that causes acne as well as reducing inflammation. It may be months before you see any progress and when it does start to work, you aren’t “cured”; your breakouts have just subsided. Like Tretinoin, you should limit your time in the sun while taking antibiotics for acne.
For deep cysts, antibiotics may not be enough. Isotretinoin is a powerful medication available for acne that doesn’t respond to other treatments or scarring cystic acne. Isotretinoin is very effective for people with severe acne, but they need to stay monitored by a dermatologist due to the side effects that are possible. Pregnant women can’t take isotretinoin because it could cause birth defects; isotretinoin can also cause cholesterol and triglyceride levels to rise as well as liver enzymes.
For some female patients, acne is caused by excessive production of the androgen hormone. Extra androgens send your oil-producing glands into high gear. Your doctor will be able to know if your acne is hormone related by acne flare-ups happening right before your menstruation, irregular menstrual cycles, or elevated androgens in the blood stream. Low doses of estrogen in oral contraceptives can help women and teenage girls by suppressing the androgens produced by the ovaries.
Home remedies can open clogged pores or relieve the inflammation caused by acne. Washing your face twice a day with salty water can keep your face clean and oil-free. Squeeze the juice from one lemon and mix with equal parts rosewater and apply it to your face and rinse off after 30 minutes. The combination of antioxidants and acids help disinfect the skin and encourages exfoliation, which helps unclog pores. If you crush two garlic cloves and dab them on your face (be careful not to get it in your eyes), it is rather effective in eliminating bacteria from the skin like an antibiotic. These home remedies are rather effective, but make sure to talk to your doctor if you need something stronger.
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