There are many products sold for acne treatment. Successful acne treatments require patience. Generally acne treatments show little improvement within the first few weeks; and then the acne decreases over approximately 3 months, after which the improvement starts to flatten out. Acne treatments promising big improvements within 2 weeks are likely to be a disappointment. However, short bursts of cortisone can give very quick results, and other acne treatments can rapidly improve some active spots, but not usually all active spots.
The mechanics of most treatments though common, are not fully understood. Generally, they are believed to work in at least 4 different ways (with many of the best treatments providing multiple simultaneous effects):
- Normalizes skin shedding to prevent additional blockages
- Kills P. acnes
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Hormonal Control
A combination of acne treatments can greatly reduce the amount and severity of acne in many cases. Those acne treatments that are most effective tend to have greater potential for side effects and need a greater degree of monitoring, so a stair stepped approach is often taken. Many people consult with doctors when deciding which acne treatments to use, especially when considering using any acne treatments in combination.
There are a number of acne treatments that have been proven effective:
Benzoyl peroxide cream
Directions: The gel or cream containing benzoyl peroxide is rubbed, twice daily, into the pores over the affected region. Bar soaps or washes may also be used and vary from 2 to 10% in strength. A sensible regimen may include the daily use of low-concentration (2.5%) benzoyl peroxide preparations, combined with suitable non-comedogenic moisturizers to help avoid over drying the skin.
It is a widely available over-the-counter bactericidal, used to treat mild to moderate acne. It acts as a keratolytic (a chemical used to dissolve keratin built up in the pores), benzoyl peroxide also prevents new lesions by killing P. acnes (acne causing bacteria).
Common Side Effects: Dryness, Local Irritation and Redness
Warnings: Care must be taken when using benzoyl peroxide, as it can very easily bleach any fabric or hair it comes in contact with.
Prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide preparations do not necessarily differ with regard to the maximum concentration of the active ingredient (10%), but the drug is made available dissolved in a vehicle that more deeply penetrates the pores of the skin.
Externally applied antibiotics (i.e. Erythromycin, Clindamycin, Stiemycin or Tetracycline…) aim to kill the bacteria living in the blocked follicles. While topical use of antibiotics is equally as effective as oral use, this method avoids possible side effects including upset stomach and drug interactions (e.g. it will not affect use of the oral contraceptive pill), but may prove awkward to apply over areas larger than just the face alone.
Common Types: Erythromycin, Tetracycline, Oxytetracycline, Doxycycline, Minocycline, Trimethoprim, or Lymecycline
Oral antibiotics are a traditional way of treating severe acne. Oral antibiotics reduces P. acnes bacteria will not, in itself, do anything to reduce the oil secretion and abnormal cell behavior that is the initial cause of the blocked follicles. Additionally the antibiotics are becoming less and less useful as resistant P. acnes are becoming more common.
Acne will generally reappear quite soon after the end of treatment—days later in the case of topical applications, and weeks later in the case of oral antibiotics.
There are many other types of acne treatment. With so many options it can be difficult to choose. You just have to remember to research what is in the acne treatment that you choose. Researching the ingredients and ensuring that you pick the one that you feel most comfortable and confident about using. Remember to use the acne treatment in stages and build up to the full dosage that you are supposed