Acne treatment

Treatments for acne may depend on how severe the disease is and how persistent it is.

Moderate acne

Most people have moderate acne. Typically, it can be self-cured with over-the-counter medications available over the counter without a prescription. Most of these drugs are topical, that is, they are intended for external use by applying them to the skin.

The vast majority of these drugs have resorcinol as an active ingredient. Resorcinol helps break down black and white heads, it is a crystallized phenol and is also used to treat dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.  

Another active ingredient, benzoyl peroxide , kills bacteria and slows down sebum production. Benzoyl peroxide is a crystallized peroxide that is even used in bleaching, it acts as a catalyst for the reaction of free radicals. It also acts as a peeling agent, accelerating the process of skin cell renewal and pore cleansing, which in turn reduces the number of bacteria in the affected area. 

Salicylic acid helps to destroy black and white heads, reduce the flaking of skin cells that line the follicles in the sebaceous glands, and it is also effective in treating inflammation and edema. Salicylic acid is a white crystallized substance that is also used as a fungicide in the production of aspirin, dyes and perfumes. This substance contributes to a more efficient renewal of the epidermis, prevents blockage of pores and promotes the growth of new cells; Salicylic acid is often added to dandruff shampoos. 

Sulfur helps break down white and black acne heads; in its natural form, sulfur is yellow crystals. For several centuries it has been used to treat acne, psoriasis and eczema, however, scientists still do not know the exact mechanism of action of sulfur in relation to skin diseases. 

Retin-A helps unclog blocked pores and contains tretinoin, an acid derived from vitamin A that is also known as polytransretinoic acid, or ATRA. Tretinoin is used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia. Retin-A is widely used to prevent skin aging and can act as a chemical peeling effect. 

Azelaic acid strengthens the cells lining the follicles, prevents excess sebum production and reduces bacterial growth. It is a saturated dicarboxylic acid that can be found in wheat, rye and barley. Azelaic acid also scavenges free radicals, thus lowering inflammation. This acid may be beneficial for darker skin patients with melasma and dark spots caused by persistent acne. 

Acne medications come in the form of gels, soaps, patches, creams, and lotions. If you have sensitive skin, it is advisable to apply a cream or lotion. Gels are usually alcohol-based and are suitable for use on oily skin. It should be noted that all OTC drugs have different concentrations of active substances, and therefore it is advisable to start with the least potent drugs. Side effects can include skin irritation, skin redness, and even a burning sensation.

Severe acne

In the presence of a more severe degree of acne, it is necessary to consult a dermatologist who can prescribe adequate treatment using products containing not only benzoyl peroxide and azelaic acid, but also adapaline. It is also possible to prescribe antibiotics, either orally or topically, as antibiotics will fight bacteria and reduce inflammation. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics include erythromycin and tetracycline.

Cysts with injected corticosteroid injections

If an acne cyst is severely inflamed, there is a risk of rupture, which in turn can lead to scar formation. In such a case, it is possible to inject diluted corticosteroids into the inflamed cyst to prevent rupture. Corticosteroids lower the level of inflammation and speed up recovery; after such an injection, the cyst softens within a few days.

Isotretinoin is a potent oral retinoid used to treat severe acne cysts when other drugs are not helpful. 

Oral antibiotics are often prescribed for patients with severe to moderate acne to reduce the population of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which grow on the surface of the skin and grow fairly quickly in blocked pores. The primary dosage can be quite high, then it is lowered by reducing the degree of acne manifestation, while the duration of the course of antibiotics should not exceed six months. 

Interestingly, for many women with advanced acne, oral contraceptives are helpful because they suppress the oleostructive sebaceous glands. That is why they can be used for long-term treatment. Oral contraceptives can only be prescribed by a gynecologist, especially if the woman has a bleeding disorder, smokes, has migraines, or is over 35 years old.  

Along with oral contraceptives, topical antimicrobial drugs are also used in the treatment of acne , for example, clindamycin, erythromycin, sodium sulfacetamide. Also, a dermatologist may prescribe topical rethionoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A; they open pores and prevent the development of white and black heads. 

How to care for acne prone skin?

  • Wash your face twice a day with warm water, use a specially antibacterial soap;
  • Do not use a scrub, it is advisable to use a lotion containing benzoyl peroxide instead;
  • Do not try to remove pimples yourself, as this will lead to further infection, swelling and redness, as well as the appearance of scars;
  • Try not to touch your face with your hands and foreign objects, such as a mobile phone;
  • Wash your hands before touching your face;
  • Clean your glasses regularly;
  • Do not fall asleep with makeup applied.

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