Acne: Solutions and Treatments
Acne is a very common problem, and the treatments vary from simply improving your skin care regimen, to costly medical procedures. Some acne is serious enough to warrant treatment from a dermatologist or other skin care specialist, and some can be handled at home. In either case, proper diet, drinking plenty of water, and cleaning your skin properly, not necessarily more often, will contribute to the solution.
Things you can do for yourself include:
- Reduce stress
- Drink plenty of water
- Shower immediately after working out
- Wash and moisturize your face daily, but no more than three times a day
- Eat healthy foods
Topical treatments include:
- Retinoids - derivatives of Vitamin A that help to unblock pores. They are available in over-the-counter and prescription forms, usually as a cream containing retinol or retinaldehyde. Retinoids can increase the chance of sunburn.
- Benzoyl peroxide - available over-the-counter or in a stronger prescription form. It works by helping to unblock pores and killing bacteria.
- Antibiotics/Anti-inflammatories - kill bacteria and sooth as well as reduce swelling and redness.
- Azeliac acid - kills bacteria and decreases the production of keratin.
Antibiotics work by reducing bacteria from the inside. This is an effective way to reduce acne, but can have side effects such as increased chance of sunburn and yeast infections. Birth control pills can reduce or stop acne by regulating the hormones which increase the production of sebum causing breakouts.
Triamcinolone Acetonide Injections
Triamcinolone acetonide is a corticosteroid which is injected directly into acne legions. This anti-inflammatory works well on cystic acne that has not responded to other treatment.
Laser treatments kill the bacteria and alter the sebum gland, resolving existing acne and reducing the production of sebum to prevent its return. Most patients will need several treatments about two weeks apart for full results.
Red and Blue light kill the bacteria associated with acne, and promote healing of the skin. The treatment is gentle and painless. In-office treatments resolve acne in about four weeks with treatment at intervals of twice a week. Photo therapy at home normally requires daily sessions for about 12 weeks. Photo therapy is not appropriate for cystic acne, but is very effective for persistent mild to moderate acne.
Zeno Zit Zapper
This hand held device is used at home to resolve individual blemishes. It does not cure acne. Treatments last about two to three minutes and should be repeated every hour for two to four hours. Heat kills the bacteria in the blemish and most will be resolved or reduced in 24 hours. While this will not stop your acne from reappearing, it can be useful if you have a breakout shortly before a big event.
If you have acne, talk to your skin care specialist or dermatologist about these and other treatment options and solutions today. Martin O'Toole of Pasadena, California specializes in acne and other skin therapies.