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Acne Treatment for Mild, Moderate and Severe Cases

Find a prescription acne medication.

Acne Care

If you are suffering from acne, it is best to visit a dermatologist (doctors who specialize in skin problems). These doctors treat all kinds of acne, most often dealing with severe cases. If you are experiencing a mild or moderate case, your general or family practitioner may treat it.

The goal of treatment is to heal existing blemishes, stop new blemishes from forming, prevent scarring, and minimize the psychological stress and embarrassment caused by acne. Or put simply, to become acne free.

Depending on the severity of the problem, your doctor may recommend one of several over-the-counter medications and/or prescription acne medication. Some of these medications may be topical (cream applied to the skin), or taken orally (by the mouth). Occasionally doctors may suggest using more than one topical medication or combining oral and topical medication.

Acne Skin Care for Mild Acne

Physicians typically recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications for people with mild signs of acne, these usually include topical medicines in a gel, cream or lotion. Topical medications are applied directly to the acne lesions or to the entire area of affected skin.

There are several over-the-counter medications used for mild acne. Each works a little bit differently. They can

  • Destroy P. acnes (the bacteria that causes the condition acne) acting as an antiseptic and oxidizing agent, reducing the number of comedones (blackheads or whiteheads).

  • Work by helping to remove hard, scaly or roughened skin, breaking down blackheads and whiteheads.

  • Work as a keratolytic agent, encouraging the sloughing of dead skin cells, which helps reestablish the normal skin-cell replacement cycle.

  • Work by helping clean out the pores, breaking down blackheads and whiteheads.

Topical medications available over-the-counter come in many forms, such as gels, creams, lotion, soaps, or pads. For some people, acne medications may cause side effects. They may experience skin irritation, burning or redness. These side effects often get better or go away with continued use of the medication. Although, if you experience severe or prolonged side effects, consult your doctor.

Treatment for Moderate to Severe Acne

People who suffer from moderate to severe acne typically require the help of a dermatologist. Their acne may be treated with a prescription acne medication, either topical or oral.

Several types of acne medicine are used. They may include:

  • Antibiotic For Acne – help control breakouts by controlling the body production of P. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne, and helps reduce inflammation, swelling and redness.

  • Vitamin A derivatives (retinoids) – unplug existing comedones (sebaceous follicle plugged with sebum, dead cells from inside the sebaceous follicle, tiny hairs, and sometimes bacteria) allowing other topical medications, such as antibiotics, to enter the follicles. They may also help decrease the formation of comedones.

  • Oral medication – antibiotics to help control acne by curing the growth of bacteria and reducing inflammation.

  • Other medications – For women, medications such as birth control pills may be helpful. These drugs counteract the acne causing effect of male hormones.

  • Newer treatments may include the use of light or zinc.

Talk with your doctor to determine which course of action is right for you.

Find a prescription acne medication.

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