Acne Vulgaris or Acne cannot be cured but can be efficiently treated. If home remedies do not correct the problem, one must seek medical help.
Essentially three types of drugs have proven to be effective in treating acne. They are prescribed by the dermatologist depending on the severity of the problem. They are as follows:
- It is a common topical treatment for acne. It kills bacteria, reduces inflammation and helps to unclog pores. It effectively clears comedones (blackheads and whiteheads).
- It is an over-the counter drug and does not need a prescription to be bought. It comes with different names and strengths such as- 2.5%, 5% and 10%.
- You must wash your skin before applying it. It may commonly cause mild irritation. You can try using the lower strength if irritation happens.
- To prevent irritation, you can start with 2.5% preparation first and then increase it later if you want.
- Apply once daily for several hours and wash off. You can gradually increase the time left on the skin.
- Once used to it, you can apply it twice-a-day also.
- It may bleach your facial hair, bed linen or clothes that come in contact.
- Retinoids are great at unclogging blocked skin pores. They include adapalene, tretinoin and isotretinoin which come in various brand names.
- They also reduce inflammation to some extent. This is why they are used early in acne to treat comedones and mild inflammation.
- A prescription is needed for all retinoids.
- They could make skin red and peel it off. This trend could settle over time.
- The spots could become a little worse before improving.
- Skin could become sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, it is advised to be applied at night and washed off in the morning.
- Burning, irritation and dryness are common side-effects. So, less frequent application and lower strength are advised initially.
- While on a treatment for retinoids, one should not be pregnant or lactating as it could cause serious birth defects in the unborn child.
- This alternative mainly functions on the blocked pores and unclogs them. Just like retinoids, it clears comedones.
- It does relieve inflammation to some extent but not as much as benzyl peroxide. However, azelaic acid causes less irritation than benzyl peroxide.
- Various antibiotics come handy in treating acne. They reduce the number of bacteria and intensity of inflammation. But they fail at unclogging pores.
- This is why, they may treat inflamed acne but comedones may remain.
- Prescription is needed to buy topical antibiotics.
- They may cause mild irritation but generally cause lesser side-effects than other topical preparations.
Once the spots have cleared, acne commonly flares up again if you stop treatment. Therefore, after the spots have gone or are much reduced, it is common to carry on with a maintenance treatment to prevent acne from flaring up again.
It is common to need maintenance treatment for 4-5 years to keep acne away. This is typically until the late teens or early 20s. In a small number of cases, acne persists into the 30s, or even later. For these people it is possible to continue to treat the skin to keep it under control.
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