Medical Treatment of Acne

Medical Treatment of Acne

Have you explored many medical and skincare websites and tried many home-made remedies and (nonprescription) acne products for several weeks but they did not help? Now it is time to consult your Dermatologist. He can help you to 

 1. Lessen your acne.

 2. Avoid damage and scarring to your skin.

 3. Make scars less prominent.

 How do acne medications work? 

They work by reducing oil production, fighting against infection, and limiting the inflammation, which helps prevent scarring. Treatment of acne is lengthy; it may take months or even years to clear up completely. You may see the results of the prescribed drugs within three to four weeks. The treatment regimen usually depends upon your age, type, and severity of your acne. Your dermatologist may prescribe you a combination of drugs. For example, you may need to apply medication to your affected skin twice a day for several weeks and take medicine orally. 

Here is the list of medicine your doctors may prescribe you and you should have a basic knowledge. 

Topical medications
Here are the most effective topical medication used these days:

Retinoid or Vitamin C derived drugs:

These drugs are derived from Vitamin A. They work by preventing the plugging of hair follicles and come in the form of gels, creams, and lotions. You have to apply this medication in the evening three time in a week and when your skin becomes used to it, you have to apply daily


 All of us are well aware of the working of antibiotics, they work by killing excess skin bacteria that can cause infections. In the start of the treatment, you may use a combination of a retinoid and an antibiotic, with the antibiotic applied in the morning and the retinoid in the evening. Topical antibiotics alone aren’t recommended.

Salicylic acid and azelaic acid

These acids work by killing the bacteria and additionally, salicylic acid can also prevent the plugging of hair follicles. These acids have been proved to be as effective as many conventional acne treatments when used twice a day for at least four weeks. It’s even more effective when used in combination with erythromycin.

  Side effects include itching and dark spots on skin


 Dapsone (Aczone) 5 percent gel is an anti-inflammatory and is used twice daily for inflammatory acne, especially in adult females with acne. Side effects include redness and dryness.

Studies have found out that the use of using zinc, sulfur, nicotinamide, resorcinol, sulfacetamide sodium, or aluminum chloride in topical treatments for acne is not effective.

Oral Medications


 Antibiotics are recommended for moderate to severe acne, you may need oral antibiotics to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation. Tetracycline — such as minocycline or doxycycline, is the first choice for the treatment of acne.

To prevent resistance, we should use oral antibiotic for the shortest time possible.

Oral antibiotics are combined with topical retinoids and benzoyl peroxide. Studies have found that using topical benzoyl peroxide along with oral antibiotics may reduce the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.

    Antibiotics may cause side effects, such as dizziness and stomach upset. These drugs also increase your skin’s sun sensitivity.

 Combined oral contraceptives

 Oral combined contraceptives contain estrogen and progestin. FDA has approved four combined oral contraceptive drugs for acne in women. These medications require a few months to show effects. So, they are often combined with other acne medication to acquire help within the first few weeks.

Side effects of these drugs are nausea, tenderness in breast and slightly increased risk of formation of blood clots.

Anti-androgen agents.

 These drugs work by blocking the effect of androgen hormones on the oil-producing glands. 

  The drug spironolactone may be considered for women and adolescent girls if oral antibiotics aren’t helping. It works by blocking the effect of androgen hormones on the sebaceous gland. Possible side effects include painful periods and tenderness in the breast.


  It is a very effective drug for people whose severe acne doesn’t respond to other treatments

   But because of its potential side effects, it is usually not recommended. Potential side effects include an increased risk of depression and suicide, ulcerative colitis, and severe birth defects.


Acne is also treated with the following therapies in selected cases, either alone or in combination with medications.

   Lasers and photodynamic therapy. A variety of light-based therapies have been tried with some success. But further study is needed to determine the ideal method, light source, and dose.

   Chemical peel. It is a chemical solution, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinoic acid, and is applied to the affected skin several times. Any improvement in acne is not long-lasting, so repeat treatments are usually needed.

    Extraction of whiteheads and blackheads. Your doctor has special types of tools that can whiteheads and blackheads (comedos) that haven’t cleared up with topical medications. This technique may cause scarring.

    Steroid injection. Nodular and cystic lesions can be treated by injecting a steroid drug directly into them. This therapy has resulted in rapid improvement and decreased pain. Side effects may include thinning in the treated area.

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