Despite popular belief, acne is not a skin condition only present in adolescents. Although more than 90% of teenagers do experience acne, it is seen fairly common in the adult population as well. Devising a personalized treatment regimen for acne can be one of the biggest challenges for a dermatologist. In most cases, a combination treatment is necessary to control break outs. Below is a list of common medicines and treatment modalities.
1) Face washes (i.e.: Neuderm Beta Cleanser): The active ingredient salicyclic acid is essential for oil control and help reduce clogging of pores.
2) Topical antibiotics (i.e.: clindamycin): Used once or twice a day on recently cleansed skin. Topical antibiotics are largely considered safe for long-term use.
3) Oral antibiotics (i.e.: Doryx, Doxycycline):These oral capsules work on acne via 2 mechanisms. They kill the bacteria (p. acnes) which contribute to the inflamed acne papules, but also work as an anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the redness. Unlike other skin infections, when used for acne a 6 week-to-3month treatment duration is needed.
4) Topical retinoids (i.e.: Retin-a, atralin): An essential element of good acne care, these vitamin-a derivatives work on keratinocytes to reduce acne flares. They do they a long time to work, though and can be drying to the skin. Start outusing it twice a week at night, and slowly build yourself up to every night.
5) Acne Surgery: Extraction of comedones (plugged pores) can expedite the healing process. Performed by MD or RN.
6) Chemical Peels: These treatments can significantly expedite treatment of acne by allowing better penetration of topical medicines used daily. 3-to-6 sessions are often needed.