Treatments for acne range from prescription and over-the-counter medications to birth control pills, topical creams, removal of acne spots and chemical peels. The first step to correcting acne is to visit a dermatologist, who diagnoses the condition, then assigns a grade number that indicates severity, say experts at the American Academy of Dermatology. The most effective treatment varies widely among acne sufferers, and depends on several factors.
When examining a patient, dermatologists assign a grade number to acne. The scale ranges from one to four; Grade one indicates mild acne, while Grade four indicates a more severe case, say experts at the American Academy of Dermatology. For mild cases, dermatologists may recommend an over-the-counter oral or topical medication. These products generally contain the active ingredients of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
For more severe cases, dermatologists may prescribe prescription-strength topical creams or antibiotics. Antibiotics, which people take orally, control inflammation and kill bacteria that cause acne. Women might receive prescriptions for birth control pills and other medications with hormones.
Depending on the type and location of acne, dermatologists may also treat acne using skin procedures. These procedures include laser and light therapies, chemical peels for acne in the form of papules and blackheads, and removal of acne due to cysts. These procedures are performed in the office, and may be combined with other treatments.