Womens Health

Acne Treatments- OTCs and Prescription Drugs

What Do You Use?

When people have their first encounter with acne, they normally go to the pharmacy to pick up a product either recommended to them by a friend or something they've seen advertised somewhere. This may not be the best tact to use since each person responds and reacts to medication differently. It is always a good idea to consult with a medical professional before buying any type of medication for acne. The doctor can advise which products would be suitable as a treatment.

What's In That Stuff?

There are many types of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for acne, one of the more popular being benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide comes in gels and ointments and works by fighting bacteria which causes pimples. It has been found to be safe and effective and can be used after acne has cleared up to keep skin clean and clear. Another ingredient commonly found in OTC acne preparations is salicylic acid. This products prevents acne by clearing up dead skin cells that tend to accumulate too quickly and cause clogged pores and pimples. It can be used after the acne has cleared to help prevent further breakouts. One side effect of salicylic acid is dry, irritated skin. Otherwise, it works well to curb acne lesions.

Call The Doctor

While mild and moderate cases of acne can be treated with OTC medications, more severe cases should be treated by a dermatologist who will prescribe specific medicinal treatments. These treatments may be oral or topical, depending upon the severity of the problem. Antibiotics, the most common form of oral treatment for acne, are very effective and help immensely. Tetracycline, used to kill the bacteria responsible for acne as well as to reduce inflammation, is commonly prescribed by many doctors. There are some side effects to tetracycline, such as sensitivity to the sun, upset stomach and dizziness and occasionally hives - however, not everyone suffers with these repercussions. Vaginal yeast infections in women are common with antibiotics and pregnant women should not take them at all.

Creams and Ointments, by Prescription

Antibiotic ointments have fewer complications than oral antibiotics and they are very effective in killing bacteria associated with acne. They can be especially effective when used in conjunction with other topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide. Vitamin A derived retinoid in the form of lotion or cream can be applied directly to the skin. By opening clogged pores, they help to address the issue of blackheads and whiteheads effectively. Oral retinoid may be used in more severe cases of acne when there is no response to topical retinoid. Oral retinoids do have some serious side effects associated with them. They can cause birth defects in pregnant women and if a woman is on birth control, she must use two forms of contraception when under treatment. It can also cause liver damage and depression so it is necessary to be under medical supervision when taking oral retinoid.

There are many ways to deal with acne which are effective. Your dermatologist can recommend the best procedure to help you address your particular situation.

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