Treatment of acne on the body is accomplished in two primary ways, which are the application of topical creams and taking oral medications. Ointments, creams and formulated gels applied to the surface of the skin are ideal for treating acne that is localized to the limbs or portions of the upper torso. These gels generally contain a substance called benzoyl peroxide, and may include glycolic acid.
As with medications for other medical conditions, topical and oral acne medications are most effective when used as directed by a prescribing physician. While topical agents are ideal for treating patches of acne that form on the arms, legs, back and chest, oral medicines are best for alleviating conditions of systemic acne. Oral medicines work to treat acne that forms in multiple locations, such as the arms, back and legs.
Acne that covers a large part of the body may cause severe and potentially disfiguring scarring. The most common ingredient in oral acne medications is isotretinoin, which is typically prescribed for a long period of time, which ranges between 15 and 20 weeks, according to Acne.org.
Oral acne medications typically work quickly and effectively to reduce the physical symptoms of acne, but may cause several types of birth defects, and are not usually recommended as an acne treatment method for pregnant women.