Acne can be more than a nuisance. For many, it is disfiguring and very distressing emotionally. Along with a healthy lifestyle and dietary changes, many individuals require treatments such as topical ointments and prescription medications.
Be gentle to your skin and try small amounts of acne products to begin with. Be patient; treatments and medications can take up to two months before your skin is noticeably clearer; some treatments may even initially make your acne worse. And always use acne ointments and creams after you have gently cleansed your skin.
Here are some ingredients to look for in over the counter products and which your doctor may also prescribe for you. Many treatments use a combination of these and other ingredients.
- Benzoyl peroxide helps to clear up acne in most cases of mild to moderate acne. You can get benzoyl peroxide without a prescription and it comes in a cream, gel, soap, ointment or pad form. Your doctor can advise on the varying strengths you will need and how often to apply it. If benzoyl peroxide doesn’t seem to help after two months or is very irritating to your skin, see your doctor,
- Salicylic acid works by exfoliating the skin, effectively clearing up blocked pores and decreasing excessive oil. It is mainly used in mild to moderate acne.
- Antibiotics can be beneficial for eliminating acne. Antibiotic ointments are used just as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid ointments. Oral antibiotics have to be prescribed by your doctor, who will determine if they might work for you.
- Tretinoin is a treatment that contains vitamin A and can be a very good treatment for moderate to severe acne. It is often rubbed onto the skin once a day. Tretinoin will make your skin much more sensitive to sunlight: wear a sunscreen and cover up outdoors.
- Isotretinoin is a prescription medication only used to treat severe cystic acne. It is taken for only short durations as Isotretinoin can cause serious side effects including birth defects and miscarriages if taken during pregnancy or a month prior to pregnancy. You will need to carefully follow directions and be monitored by your doctor during your treatment.