Acne is one of the most common skin disorders, especially in adolescents and young adults. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 8 in 10 teenagers face acne in their adolescent years. That said, severe acne can persist into adulthood despite treatment.
While acne might seem like a mild skin condition, it can have long-term effects such as permanent scarring or mental health issues like anxiety, poor self-image, and depression. It’s therefore essential to find an effective treatment for acne.
What Causes Acne?
Acne typically begins when your skin’s pores get clogged with dead skin cells and oil. All pores are connected to oil-producing glands that make a substance known as sebum. Excessive sebum production can lead to the increased growth of a bacteria called P. acnes ( Propionibacterium acnes).
Your white blood cells then attack P.acnes causing skin inflammation. This leads to skin inflammatory acne. While some cases are more severe than others, the most common symptoms include pimples, blackheads, large painful lumps under the skin, and whiteheads.
Several factors can contribute to the development of acne, including:
- Genetic factors.
- Hormonal changes.
Acne in Women
If acne starts in adult women, it’s probably a result of hormonal imbalance. This is especially the case when it’s accompanied by symptoms like:
- Breast tenderness.
- Irregular menstrual cycle.
- Excessive body hair.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Acne
A general practitioner can diagnose acne by examining your skin. This includes looking at your face, back, or chest for signs of acne like soreness, red nodules, or blackheads. They might also ask about your family history to determine if the cause is genetic. They will then prescribe medication or therapy depending on the severity of the condition.
Acne’s severity is often categorized into:
- Mild acne: This is primarily blackheads and whiteheads, with a few pustules and papules.
- Moderate acne: Widespread blackheads and whiteheads with more pustules and papules.
- Severe inflammatory acne: Many large and painful pimples, papules, cysts, or nodules. You might also have acne scars on your skin.
If you have mild acne, you can try some home remedies or ask a pharmacist for advice. However, if you have moderate to severe acne, it’s essential to see a doctor or dermatologist.
It’s important to see a dermatologist if:
- You have large, painful nodules.
- You have many pustules and papules on your back, face, and chest.
- Your skin is scarred.
- The condition is making you feel self-conscious.
In most acne cases, the doctor will start you off with a combination of topical antibiotics or other topical treatments. Combined oral contraceptive pills and hormonal therapies may also be recommended for acne treatment in adult women.
Most acne medications reduce sebum production, thereby reducing the excess oil that causes acne. Some also treat the bacteria that cause acne. Consequently, they may take up to two months to yield noticeable results. It’s therefore important to be patient with the medication even if there are no immediate results.
Here are some of the most common topical medications for acne treatment:
Topical retinoid medications are used to treat mild to moderate acne. They work by eliminating dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. This prevents them from building up within hair follicles.
Adapalene and tretinoin are the most common types of retinoids used in treating acne. They are available as gels or creams usually applied once a day before going to bed. A six-week course is needed for optimum results, but you may be required to use it less frequently after that.
You should apply topical retinoids to the affected areas of your face 20 minutes after washing it. The most widely reported side effects of topical retinoids are stinging of the skin and mild irritation. It’s therefore advisable to apply them sparingly while avoiding exposure to UV light.
It’s also important to note that topical retinoids are unsuitable for pregnant women as they may cause congenital disabilities.
Benzoyl peroxide reduces the bacteria on your skin’s surface to treat acne. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce the number of blackheads and whiteheads on your skin. It’s available as a gel or cream and should be applied once or twice a day.
Just like topical retinoids, you should apply benzoyl peroxide on the affected areas of your face 20 minutes after washing them. The most common side effects of benzoyl peroxide are skin burning, irritation, and peeling. As a result, it should be applied sparingly.
It also makes your skin sensitive to UV light. Therefore, you should avoid too much exposure to direct sunlight or apply sunscreen while using it.
Topical antibiotic medicines work like an antiseptic by killing all the bacteria on your skin. They’re sold as creams or gels, applied twice a day.
Topical antibiotics should be used for six to eight weeks. After that, the treatment is stopped to prevent antibiotic resistance, which can worsen acne and cause infections.
This is an excellent alternative for people who can’t stand the side effects of many topical acne treatments. It works like benzoyl peroxide by killing bacteria and getting rid of dead skin. The cream also enhances your skin’s bacterial resistance.
As a plus, it doesn’t make your skin sensitive to UV light, so you can bask in the sunlight without sunscreen.
Oral antibiotic therapy is often used in addition to topical treatments to treat moderate and severe acne. Oral tetracyclines are the most prescribed antibiotics. However, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, the dermatologist will probably recommend oral erythromycin, which is safer for those conditions.
This is a hormonal drug used in the treatment of acne vulgaris, a resistant case of severe nodular acne. It’s also used in the treatment of acne in adult women who don’t respond to oral contraceptives. You need to use cocyprindiol for eight weeks to six months to notice a significant reduction in acne spots.
Unfortunately, there’s also a small chance that women who use cocyprindiol will develop breast or cervical cancer later in life.
Isotretinoin is an acne vulgaris treatment drug that is mostly available in capsules. Its benefits include decreasing bacteria on the skin, limiting sebaceous glands, and reducing redness and swelling on the skin.
That said, the drug can have many potential risks, making it only suitable for chronic skin conditions such as acne vulgaris that are resistant to other treatments.
Other Treatment Options
Other acne treatments include UV light therapy, subsicion, and laser treatment. These methods of acne therapy are primarily for patients with severe to chronic acne.
One of the most effective ways to treat acne is compound medication. This is a customized treatment method that uses the patient’s medical history and unique set of circumstances to create an individualized treatment.
Using compound medication in the treatment of acne considers your allergies, sensitivities, and any underlying health issues that may be affected by commercially available acne medications. Since acne is multifactorial, this method has a higher chance of success than generalized treatments.
What Can I Do to Prevent Acne?
While genetic factors can cause acne, most other causes are preventable. Here are a few things you can do to keep your skin free of acne:
- Wash your face twice a day.
- Keep your hair clean.
- Don’t pop or poke at pimples.
- Don’t scrub your skin harshly.
- Avoid foods that might promote acne.
- Wear sunscreen when you go outdoors.
- Avoid oily skin products.
Looking for a Safe and Reliable Drug for Acne Treatment? Try FW Pharmacy
Most drugs used in the treatment of acne come with unbearable side effects. It’s therefore important to find a safe but lasting solution.
At Fort Worth Pharmacy, we specialize in making individualized compound medications for a variety of conditions, including acne. Our prescriptions will clear your acne and increase your skin’s bacterial resistance while giving you fewer side effects.
Contact us today to learn how compound medication can help you recover from acne.