How Do You Treat Acne?


Quick Answer

Acne is treated both with medications applied to the skin, such as retinoids, antibiotics and dapsone, and oral medications, such as hormones, hormone blockers, antibiotics and isotretinoin, according to Mayo Clinic. Therapies such as light therapy, chemical peels, mechanical extraction of lesion contents and steroid injections are also sometimes helpful.

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How Do You Treat Acne?
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Full Answer

Retinoids are available as creams, lotions and gels and are derived from vitamin A, Mayo Clinic states. They help reduce acne by preventing buildup in the hair follicles. Dapsone is most effective when used in conjunction with retinoids, but it can cause dryness and redness.

Antibiotics applied to the skin kill many bacteria and reduce the redness that accompanies acne. Combining antibiotics with benozyl peroxide helps reduce the development of antibiotic resistance in skin bacteria. Oral antibiotics are used for the same basic reasons as topical antibiotics, and benozyl peroxide is similarly helpful for preventing antibiotic resistance, according to Mayo Clinic. Oral antibiotics are usually discontinued after a few months in order to prevent resistance from developing.

For women and adolescent girls, hormonal contraceptive medications can be helpful, although they can cause side effects. Androgen blockers are also only used with women and adolescent girls, and they are generally only used when antibiotics are ineffective, states Mayo Clinic. Isotretinoin is only used with the most severe cases of acne, and it has the potential for very severe side effects.

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