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Acne Treatment

Acne is a common, chronic inflammatory skin disease that mainly affects the face, neck, chest, and back. It is caused by the overactivity of the sebaceous glands. Treating acne correctly involves a thorough examination of the patient’s medical and family history. A family history of severe acne most often necessitates a more protracted course of treatment. The patient must be informed of any misconceptions about acne’s links to diet or uncleanness, and be prepared for several months of acne therapy.

Treatment of Acne

Treatments are tailored to the patient’s skin type and acne severity. Acne can be mild, moderate, severe, or a degree between the three. The treatment regimen must be vigilantly observed by the patient in order to improve the chances of good results. The patient must also be warned against picking the acne lesions, as these may aggravate the condition.

Mild Acne Treatment

Mild comedonal acne usually responds well to topical retinoid therapy. This drug hampers acne by slowing cell activity in affected areas, removing mature comedones and hindering the formation of new ones. Topical retinoids in wide use include tretinoin, adapalene, and isotretinoin. Azelaic acid or salicylic acid can also be used in the same manner. At the beginning of this therapy, the mild comedonal acne sufferer may experience some irritation.

For mild papulopustular acne, topical treatment is extended to a twice-daily regimen. In these cases, retinoids may also be used in combination with other treatments. The retinoids can complement the activity of the other topical agents as well as treating the acne directly. Antibacterial agents used in this treatment include azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and topical antibiotics. When irritation occurs, it can generally be controlled by lowering the dosages.

In all cases, it is important to apply the topical treatment to the entire affected area and not on the lesions only.

Moderate Acne Treatment

Moderate acne is widespread and sometimes tends towards physical scarring, bringing systemic drug therapy into consideration. Treatment of moderate acne may include hormonal therapy, oral antibiotics, and/or oral retinoids. Oral antibiotics hamper the development of the P. acnes bacterium. Patients are advised to take the medicine before meals and without any milk.

Oral antibiotics treatment must always be accompanied with topical treatment. They may also be used in tandem with hormonal therapy as an effective option for female patients suffering from moderate papulopustular acne. Hormonal therapy is recommended for women whos uffer from excess sebum secretion, pre-menstrual flare-ups, and attacks centered in the beard area. Antibiotic intake may be discontinued with papules and pustules begin to clear, but other treatments must be maintained. Dermatologists must be aware of the possible interactions of all drugs and antibiotics in a patient’s treatment regimen. Also, studies have shown a slight increase in the rate of contraceptive failure during antibiotic therapy.

Severe Acne Treatment

For more severe forms of nodular acne, isotretinoin treatment is the ideal choice. It is best for patients suffering from visible scarring and excessive seborrhea, as it targets all of acne’s pathogenetic mechanisms. Lower doses over a longer period of time is recommended for patients with attacks on the back and chest. Isotretinoin treats severe acne with deep nodules, pustules, and papules, and helps prevent any future outbreaks.

Isotretinoin treatment, however, has several serious potential side effects. These include ophthalmologic, gastrointestinal, neurological, and mucocutaneous problems, as well as depression and suicidal behavior. It has also been found that one out of every three patients treated with isotretinoin relapse, necessitating another round of isotretinoin treatment.

Maintenance Therapy

When acne is brought under control after any successful acne treatment, maintenance therapy is important. This therapy usually involves a regimen of vigilant application of topical retinoids and benzoyl peroxide.

Treatment for Pregnant Women

The safest treatments for pregnant acne sufferers are limited to oral and topical erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide, since the other treatments pose a potential risk to the embryo.


Acne sufferers must choose their cosmetics carefully. Cosmetics must be noncomedogenic and able to mask lesions effectively. Cosmetics with moisturizing properties may also be used for patients undergoing isotretinoin therapy, as it tends to dry the skin.

Other Treatments

Modern treatment of acne includes lasers, phototherapy, and photodynamic therapy, although use is generally expensive and requires frequent visits to a clinic. As with all other kinds of acne treatment, consultation with a dermatologist is often in order prior to undergoing these kinds of treatments. Regardless, most dermatologists still believe that combination therapies work best. Future acne treatments may involve new agents such as leukotriene inhibitors.

Acne, despite being common, must not be ignored. Acne that is not treated appropriately and immediately can worsen and leave permanent scars.