Acne is treated in several ways depending on severity. Mild to moderate cases of acne can be treated with home made remedies and over the counter lotions and creams. Moderate to severe cases are usually treated with prescription medications. The treatments target the issues associated with acne such as overproduction of sebum, bacteria, follicle dilation.
Prescription treatments contain active ingredients, usually in appreciable concentrations that can cause adverse reactions. Although some of these may be obtainable without prescriptions online it is advisable to use them under direction from qualified physicians. Prescription treatments can be taken in a variety of ways; orally, as injectibles or applied topically. Topical treatments are usually in the form of creams, lotions and gels.
A treatment normally prescribed for inflammatory acne such as cysts and nodules are intraleional corticosteroid injections. In this case a dilute solution of cortisone is injected directly into the lesion. This is used for inflammatory acne such as nodules and cysts. It helps to reduce infection and prevent to scarring. Contraindications for this injection include tissue atrophy and concurrent sepsis.
Antibiotics are prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe acne. They fight inflammation by inhibiting bacterial growth or killing the bacteria. Among these are erythromycin, tetracycline and its derivatives such as doxycycline. These are taken orally as the sole medication or in conjunction with creams or lotions.
The creams and lotions prescribed for acne treatment are in two categories. They either have antimicrobial properties or take part in epithelial cell growth. Topical antimicrobials work in a similar way to the antibiotics except that they are applied directly on the skin. In fact some topical antimicrobial based creams have antibiotics as their active ingredients. Examples of topical microbials are azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin and erythromycin.
Retinoids take part in epithelial cell growth. These chemicals are chemically related to vitamin A. Examples of retinoids are isotretinoin, tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene. Isotretinoin can be taken orally as a drug. It is used to treat severe cases of acne especially when other treatments fail. It has been found to cause birth defects when used by pregnant women in addition to other side effects. The drug reduces the production of sebum but its mode of operation is not known. Most retinoids used in the treatment of acne are applied topically. In addition to its use orally isotretinoin is an active ingredient in creams at 5% concentration. Other topical retinoids are tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene.
Over the counter treatments are typically in the form of creams, lotions, gels and liquids that contain some active ingredients. These active ingredients are normally in low concentrations thereby limiting the risk of adverse side effects. Benzoyl oxide based creams are widely used for treatment. Some lotions contain alcohol and acetone. Alcohol has antimicrobial properties while acetone reduces the oiliness of the skin. A common active ingredient is resorcinol which is known to have antiseptic and disinfectant properties. One of the organically derived active ingredients in creams is salicyclic acid. It has antimicrobial properties, causing the shedding of skin and acts as an astringent. Sulfur an essential constituent of living cells which acts as an antibacterial agent is also a common constituent of anti-acne lotions.