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Acne medicine and medications

Topical medications that can normalize the shedding of skin cells may contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid or tretinoin, or retinoic acid. Oral antibiotics (such as tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, or erythromycin) may be prescribed if there are numerous inflammatory lesions. Topical antibiotics (applied to a localized area of the skin), such as clindamycin or erythromycin, are also for milder forms of inflammatory acne. Oral tetracyclines are usually not prescribed for children until after they have all their permanent teeth, because it can permanently discolor teeth that are still forming.

Severe acne may benefit from a synthetic vitamin A analogue. However, this treatment requires careful consideration of potential side effects. Surgical intervention may include professional chemical skin peeling, removal of eruptions or scars through dermabrasion, or removal and/or drainage of cysts.

There are numerous non-prescription acne cleansers, astringents, moisturizers and pimple creams available at local drug stores. Some help unplug whiteheads and blackheads while others help encourage the skin to shed. It's important to use all products as directed. Many experts recommend giving over-the-counter products no more than six to eight weeks to work. If there is no improvement in acne during that time period, a dermatologist may be seen to explore other treatment options. Many over-the-counter products are available in stronger "prescription only" formulas.

The most popular acne medicine treatments include:

Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is an over-the-counter acne treatment that kills the bacteria that causes acne. The treatment is highly effective in treating mild cases of acne like blackheads and whiteheads. However, it may be 2-3 weeks before you see improvement from acne treatment with Benzoyl peroxide. An example of an effective acne treatment based on benzoyl peroxide is Clearasil skin cleanser.

Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is a mild acid that encourages the sloughing of dead skin cells. Buy encouraging the peeling of the top layer of skin and the opening of plugged follicles. It works best to treat mild acne, oily skin, textural changes and hyperpigmention of the skin. Salicylic acid is thought to be much milder than Benzoyl Peroxide.

Antibiotics: If you suffer from moderate to severe acne, your doctor may prescribe a combination of topical acne treatment and oral antibiotics. The most common antibiotics used to treat acne are tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline and erythromycin. They work by slowing the body's production of the bacteria that causes acne and decreasing inflammation. This is very much a long term acne treatment and results may not be evident for a number of months.

Oral Contraceptives: For some women, acne is caused by excessive production of hormones called androgens that kick their oil-producing glands into high gear. Adult women and teenage girls whose acne does not respond to treatment with antibiotics or retinoids like Retin-A Micro, may want to try hormonal therapy.

Vitamin A Derivatives: These retinoid medications prevent skin cells from clumping together and encourage shedding. Usually applied once a day, these medications can increase sensitivity to the sun, so it's important that patients use sunscreen. Other side effects can include dryness, redness and irritation. Common Vitamin A derivatives include Retin-A, Differin and Tazorac. One particular retinoid, Accutane, has been shown to cause more serious side effects, including psychological disorders and, in rare cases, birth defects. Sexually active women who take this medication must use contraception during treatment and have monthly lab work performed.

More information on acne

What is acne? - Acne is an inflammatory skin disease which affects the tiny pores which cover the face, arms, back and chest and the oil glands attached to them.
What causes acne? - One important factor does seem to be rising levels of the hormones called androgens (male sex hormones) that are found in both boys and girls at the time of puberty. Another factor is heredity or genetics.
What's the treatment for acne? - Acne treatments include killing the bacteria that are caused by the blocked follicles, reducing the secretion of oils from the glands, normalizing the follicle cell lifecycle, and exfoliating the skin.
Acne medicine and medications - Topical acne medications may contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid or tretinoin, or retinoic acid. There are numerous non-prescription acne cleansers, astringents, moisturizers and pimple creams available.
Acne scars and treatments - Acne scars occur when spots become inflamed or don't heal properly. Acne scars are very hard to treat and it is unusual for the scars to be successfully removed completely.
What is acne rosacea (adult acne)? - Acne rosacea is a chronic skin condition of the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Rhinophyma may also develop in association with inflammatory rosacea.
What causes acne rosacea? - Flare-ups of rosacea are caused by triggers that stimulate the blood vessels in the face to dilate, which causes facial flushing. There may be some relationship between rosacea and Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
What are the symptoms of acne rosacea? - Symptoms of acne rosacea include frequent flushing, vascular rosacea, inflammatory rosacea, and several other conditions involving the skin, eyes, and nose.
What're the treatments for acne rosacea? - The goal of treatment for rosacea is to reduce or eliminate symptoms and stop the condition from getting worse. Presently, there is no cure for rosacea. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005