Medicine has made great strides in treating acne and other skin conditions. While severe cases of acne may take longer to cure and may require frequent experiments with various medications and methods until a suitable one is found, it goes without saying that these cures must be prescribed and supervised by a physician. People are strongly discouraged from self-medicating especially when they have a severe case of acne.
Let's look into some of the treatments used for acne. The kind of treatment will depend on the severity of the acne lesions. For example, a mild case of acne can be treated by benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide can be obtained over-the-counter (Clearasil being the most common, although there are other brands in the market today) or by prescription (Persagel and others). Benzoyl peroxide gets to work on acne-aggravating bacteria that are on the surface of the skin. Side effects such as irritation or redness may occur.
Aggressive Acne Treatment
Moderate to severe acne require a different kind of treatment which is more aggressive. This is probably the time when a visit to the dermatologist is warranted, or when the mild acne continues indefinitely. In discussing various acne treatments, doctors recommend either benzoyl peroxide for milder cases or retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) which act directly on comedones (blackheads and whiteheads). Majority of acne patients receive retinoid treatment. Irritation and other forms of side effects are to be expected.
Then you have antibiotics – necessary for attacking bacteria on skin that aggravate the condition. Doctors will recommend antibiotics in combination with one or two other types of medication. You should always follow a course of antibiotic therapy with a course of probiotics. We recommend Fundamental Probiotic; it is the best full spectrum probiotic we have seen.
For severe cases of acne like cysts and nodules, patients are prescribed certain drugs like Accutane which is intended primarily to shrink the oil glands, but individuals who receive Accutane treatments are advised not to get pregnant for a whole year from the start of treatment and must also be monitored up to five months after treatment is terminated. There have been reports about Accutane causing serious skin irritation, elevated lipids and birth defects in the child (Cleveland Clinic).
Hormonal acne treatments are also available. They are recommended for adult women who show signs of androgen excess, have irregular menstrual periods or who have thinning hair. Types of hormonal treatments that are prescribed are birth control pills (with equal amounts of estrogen and progesterone in small doses) and corticosteroid pills. Like other treatments, people may experience side effects with hormonal treatments.
Potential Side Effects of Acne Treatment
Ideally, because of potential side effects, none of the treatments above are 100% problem-free. Different people react differently to medications and have latent and active allergies that can be triggered by any one of the treatments just discussed.
Perhaps a good question is: what's the best way to avoid acne? But a better question would be: if acne is an inevitable part of life, what would be a proactive approach to manage it so we can significantly decrease our chances of getting it?
If you're not sure how to implement these lifestyle changes, there are professionals who can help. A nutritionist will teach you about a balanced diet and what foods are good sources of vitamins. Bright-colored fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and contain antioxidants that will help minimize the harm that environmental pollutants bring to your skin. Drinking water is a must and so is daily exercise. You can engage the services of a fitness trainer and discuss your goals as well as practice certain weight resistance movements that will burn fat, provide the cardio-vascular benefits, and tone your muscles.