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Treatment for moderate acne

Patients with moderate to severe inflammatory acne may be treated with prescription topical or oral medicines, alone or in combination.   Acne or zits is a skin condition also known as pimples that occurs when sebaceous glands become blocked or inflamed to varying degrees. The blocked oil glands often become infects causing puss to build under the skin. Here are some useful facts about acne.

Prescription Topical Medicines for acne

Several types of prescription topical medicines are used to treat acne, including antibiotics, Benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, adapalene, and azelaic acid. Antibiotics and azelaic acid help stop or slow the growth of bacteria and reduce inflammation. Tretinoin, a type of drug called a retinoid that contains an altered form of vitamin A, is an effective topical medicine for stopping the development of new comedones. It works by unplugging existing comedones, thereby allowing other topical medicines, such as antibiotics, to enter the follicles. The doctor may also prescribe newer retinoids or retinoid-like drugs, such as tazarotene or adapalene, that help decrease comedo formation.

Like OTC topical medicines, prescription topical medicines come as creams, lotions, solutions, or gels. The doctor will consider the patient's skin type when prescribing a product. Creams and lotions provide moisture and tend to be good for people with sensitive skin. Gels and solutions are generally alcohol based and tend to dry the skin. Therefore, patients with very oily skin or those who live in hot, humid climates may prefer them. The doctor will tell the patient how to apply the medicine and how often to use it.

Some people develop side effects from using prescription topical medicines. Initially, the skin may look worse before improving. Common side effects include stinging, burning, redness, peeling, scaling, or discoloration of the skin. With some medicines, like retinoids, these side effects usually decrease or go away after the medicine is used for a period of time. Patients should report prolonged or severe side effects to their doctor. Between 4 and 8 weeks will most likely pass before patients see their skin improve.

Prescription Oral Acne Medicines

For patients with moderate to severe acne, the doctor often prescribes oral antibiotics (taken by mouth). Oral antibiotics are thought to help control acne by curbing the growth of bacteria and reducing inflammation. Prescription oral and topical medicines may be combined. For example, Benzoyl peroxide may be combined with clindamycin, erythromycin, or sulphur. Other common antibiotics used to treat acne are tetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline. Some people have side effects when taking these antibiotics, such as an increased tendency to sunburn, upset stomach, dizziness or lightheadedness, and changes in skin colour. Tetracycline is not given to pregnant women, nor is it given to children under 8 years of age because it might discolour developing teeth. Tetracycline and minocycline may also decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. Therefore, a backup or another form of birth control may be needed. Prolonged treatment with oral antibiotics may be necessary to achieve the desired results.

NOTE:   Most drugs used to treat acne have side effects and lose effectiveness, please see here.

Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Acne is a common skin condition occurring primarily in the late teens and early twenties, but may continue into the thirties. Heredity, diet, hygiene, stress, and general illness can aggravate acne which can be extremely upsetting to young children.

Products for the treatment of acne

We offer a variety of products for treatment of acne. Please click here to see all products or here for the Dermaray UV for spot treatment of acne (requires UVA globe)

 
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psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin disease that causes raised red skin with thick silvery scales.

vitiligo

Vitiligo is a disorder in which white patches of skin appear on the body

hair loss

Hair loss usually develops gradually and may be patchy or diffuse

acne

Acne is a disorder of the hair follicles and sebaceous oil glands that leads to skin infections

dermatitis

Inflammation of the skin, often a rash, swelling, pain, itching, cracking. Can be caused by an irritant or allergen

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