Acne is known to be common among teenagers, but it can affect individuals for years, even decades, after their teen years. It can be embarrassing enough to deal with acne when you’re in high school, but if you are still having breakouts while climbing the corporate ladder it can be downright disheartening.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of treatments available to control and prevent acne breakouts. Some are available over the counter, while others do require a prescription.
The following medications are applied topically:
- Salicylic acid helps remove the exterior layer of damaged skin and dissolves dead skin cells to prevent them from clogging your hair follicles. It can be found in many cleansers and lotions.
- Azelaic acid, a natural acid that occurs in grains such as barley, rye, and wheat, kills microorganisms on the skin and will reduce swelling.
- Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives available in such products as Retin-A®, Differin®, and Tazorac®. They help to prevent clogged pores and disintegrate blackheads and whiteheads. These types of medications are used on the entire affected area of skin to prevent the formation of new pimples. Many patients struggling to control their acne benefit greatly from retinoid therapy.
- Dapsone is an antibacterial topical gel that is applied twice a day to control inflamed acne.
- Benzoyl peroxide targets the bacteria on the surface of the skin which can exacerbate acne. It can be found as a wash or as a leave-on gel. Clearasil and Stridex contain benzoyl peroxide. Irritation that leads to dryness is a common side effect, so look for lower concentrations if you have sensitive skin.
There are also several oral medications available that can be used to treat acne, including:
- Tetracycline antibiotics such as doxycycline and minocycline are often an effective treatment for moderate to severe acne.
- Oral contraceptives are sometimes recommended for patients whose acne breakouts are associated with their menstrual cycles.
- Isotretinoin, sold under the brand names Claravis®, Sotret®, and Amnesteem®, is an oral retinoid used to treat very severe acne. This medication shrinks the size of oil glands, but it comes with some serious possible side effects, so it’s important to discuss this option thoroughly with your dermatologist before committing to it.
Other acne treatments include chemical peels, laser therapy, and steroids. If you are tired of coping with embarrassing breakouts, call Lakeside Dermatology to schedule a consultation to learn more about your treatment options.