Acne Vulgaris Treatment: Antibiotics, Retinoids, Contraceptives

Acne vulgaris treatment, product or therapy may help tackle acne. However people generally tend to respond in different ways.

Topical acne skin care treatment may work effectively for some people but aggravate people with sensitive skin.

People on oral prescription may discover that it works effectively for them but triggers difficulty and complication for other individuals.

Therefore, consulting a health care professional with an initial diagnosis would help establish the best acne treatment to suit any individual needs.

What Is Acne Vulgaris?

Acne vulgaris is a human skin disorder that occurs during adolescence and often continues into adulthood.

Acne vulgaris otherwise know as “common acne” is caused by hormonal imbalances and the overproduction of natural oils called sebum. The body’s dead skin cells and sebum block hair follicles causing acne outbreaks.

It can be non-inflamed acne like blackheads and whiteheads or inflammatory acne like papules, pustules, cystic acne or nodules.

Acne vulgaris treatment will depend on the causes of acne, the type of acne and the severity of the disorder e.g. mild, moderate or severe.

Acne vulgaris may also be referred to as cystic acne, acne, pimples, zits or spots. Self-help Acne Vulgaris Treatment – Wash your face or any acne prone areas.

Keeping the skin clean can help prevent spots. Gentle cleansing of the spot-prone areas with non drying mild soap or non-perfumed facial cleanser in tepid water twice a day.

The skin requires a certain amount of oil to maintain its natural condition, so try not to scrub or wash the afflicted area excessively.

Over-the-counter (OTC) Topical Medication – Creams and Lotions

Mild acne with blackheads and whiteheads on the face can also be treated with topical treatments using gels or creams that contain the following :

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Sulfur
  • Resorcinol
  • Topical Antibiotics
  • Topical Retinoids
  • Azelaic Acid

The topical medication kills the bacteria, drys the skin’s oil and causes the skin’s top layer to peel. The side effects include the redness and peeling of the skin.

Acne Vulgaris Treatment – Prescription Medication:

Moderate acne can be a combination of blackheads, whiteheads, pustules and papules on the face, back, chest and shoulder.

Acne at this stage may become resistant to OTC treatment and become a dilemma. However, a healthcare provider can prescribe stronger medication and discuss other options with you.

Oral Antibiotics:

Moderate acne can be tackled by a prescription of oral antibiotics from your General practitioner such as :

  • Amoxicillin
  • Doxycycline
  • Erythromycin
  • Minocycline
  • Trimethoprim
  • Tetracycline

Your GP will advise on the dosage and depending on the acne severity you may need to stay on the course for a minimum of eight weeks.

Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin, erythromycin, or dapsone can also be prescribed.

For the antibiotics to be effective it may be combined with the use or application of a lotion or cream that contains benzoyl peroxide. Other creams or gels applied to the skin may include the following prescription:

  • ┬áTopical Azelaic Acid
  • ┬áRetinoic Acid Gel or Cream (Retin-A, Tretinoin)
  • Prescription formulas of Resorcinol, Salicylic Acid, Sulfur or Benzoyl Peroxide

Oral Retinoids:

Severe acne like papules, pustules, nodules and cysts may require stronger prescription medication.

Consult your General practitioner, discuss the history of your symptoms and any previous treatments that you may have applied, including over-the-counter (OTC) products.

If the acne is resistant against other treatments, your General practitioner or dermatologist may prescribe isotretinoin.

This is a potent drug only reserved for treating severe cystic acne or acne that has proven itself resistant to other medication. This medication is very effective at reducing the level of sebum the skin generates.

Cystic acne and scarring may be treated with isotretinoin (Accutane). You will be watched closely when taking this medicine because of its side effects.

You may find it takes up to 6 months for the skin to improve and if the acne is severe, it may need continued treatment.

Oral Contraceptives:

Woman with hormonal imbalances may find that acne vulgaris treatment with oral antibiotics become less effective.

Consult a General Practitioner who may prescribe oral contraceptive pills which combines the hormones called ethinyl estradiol with cyproterone acetate.

The medication is an anti androgen that suppresses the actions of testosterone or male hormones, which are responsible for increasing sebum production.

Other pills like spironolactone may be helpful, nevertheless some birth control pills may also aggravate acne.

Minor procedures or an acne vulgaris treatment may help tackle severe acne and acne scarring. Your dermatologist may discuss other options like photodynamic therapy, chemical skin peeling, removal of scars by dermabrasion, or removal, drainage, or injection of cysts with cortisone.

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