Prescription Acne Treatments

Many Options

When pursuing a course of action that involves prescription acne treatments, keep in mind that all skin is different and you may have to try several options before finding one that works for you. There are some very effective products on the market now, backed by 25 years of research. In order to achieve the maximum results with these products you must use them as directed and consistently. It takes two to three weeks for acne to form, so it will take some time to alleviate the outbreaks. Patience is the byword!

One class in the group of prescription acne treatments is benzoyl peroxide. This is a topical cream or gel that acts as an antiseptic and kills the bacteria involved with the causes of acne. It is available in strengths of 2%, 5% and 10% over the counter, and in stronger doses from your doctor. Once you start to notice your skin clearing you must continue to use the product. If you do not, the acne will return. Side effects can include drying, itching and irritation. It will also bleach the color out of clothing. This is the most widely used topical product for acne treatment.

Another option for prescription acne treatments is the use of antibiotic creams or pills. These work on the same principle as benzoyl peroxide by killing the bacteria associated with acne. The choices usually include erythromycin, tetracycline, doxycycline or minocycline for topical or oral medication. These also take time to work and must be continued on a regimen or the acne will re-appear. The dangers with this class of prescriptions are building up resistance to the effectiveness of antibiotics from prolonged use. Side effects can be sensitivity to sunlight, nausea, dizziness and hives. Extended antibiotic use can also trigger yeast infections in women.

A relatively new product on the market is tretinoin (commonly known a Retin-A). This product works by decreasing the “stickiness” nature of acne inflammations and comedones. This keeps the processes of the skin working smoothly thereby preventing blocking of the pores. Also utilized in acne treatments are oral contraceptives and anti-androgens or corticosteroid supplements. Since androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands that produce sebum (oil), these products inhibit the process. Isotretinoin (Accutane) also suppresses the sebaceous glands. These products can lead to a decrease in acne as a result. All prescription acne treatments should be discussed with your doctor, including all the possible side effects.