Acne Treatment – How to Get Rid of Acne
Acne is a common skin condition that affects nearly everyone at some point. It usually begins in the teen years, especially during hormonal changes associated with puberty, but can also occur during adulthood and cause permanent scarring if not properly treated.
The most important step in treating acne is to see your doctor or dermatologist, as early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of scarring. During the appointment, your doctor will ask about your family history with acne, as well as when your symptoms started. They will perform a physical exam and look at the affected area of skin. They may also ask about your medications and any skin products you use, which might clog hair follicles. They will also examine your face for red marks and signs of inflammation. If necessary, they will take blood to check hormone levels, which can help diagnose and determine the severity of your acne.
There are many treatments available to treat mild to moderate acne, both over the counter and by prescription. Cleansers that contain a gentle exfoliant, such as benzoyl peroxide, are often effective for people with mild acne. These cleaners remove excess oil and prevent clogged pores, which are the main causes of acne. They can be bought at most pharmacies and supermarkets. Over-the-counter skin products that contain salicylic acid and glycolic acid can also be effective. These treatments should be used no more than twice a day. Aggressive scrubbing can injure the skin and make acne worse.
For acne that is more severe, your doctor can prescribe a topical retinoid or a retinoic-acid-like medication such as tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A), adapalene (Differin), or tazarotene (Tazorac). These medications come in creams, gels, and facial washes, and they can be used daily. They help the skin shed dead cells faster, which can prevent clogging of hair follicles. They can also be combined with benzoyl peroxide for better results.
Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin or erythromycin control surface bacteria that irritate and contribute to acne. Dapsone, a low-dose oral medication, controls inflammation and bacteria growth in the skin. Oral isotretinoin (Accutane, Acutane) can be effective in treating cystic and nodular acne and other severe cases of acne that do not respond to other therapies. Hormonal therapy, which can decrease the amount of androgens in women who have acne or who are prone to developing it, is also sometimes useful.
Acne scarring can be treated with dermabrasion, laser therapy, chemical peels, and other techniques. Some patients with nodular and cystic acne may benefit from steroid injections to reduce inflammation.