How is acne treated?
There are many options available for the treatment of acne. Over-the-counter options include Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, and Sulfur topical medications that can come as creams or washes. In addition, devices such as the Clarisonic cleansing brush or home LED therapy can also be useful. These options may be helpful to some patients with acne, but often these treatments do not work, and this is when prescription medications and in-office procedures are best for the treatment of acne.
There are two main categories of prescription acne treatments: topical medications and oral medications. Some patients do very well with only topical medications and other patients require a combination of both topical and oral (by mouth) medications.
Which topical acne medications are the best?
There are a variety of different types of topical medications. What is best for one patient may not be the best treatment for another; the ideal topical medication depends on a patient’s skin type and the type of acne that they have. Topical medications can be split into antibacterial medications and retinoids. Sometimes these two categories are even combined into one cream (such as Epiduo, Ziana and Veltin.) Common antibacterial ingredients include benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin and dapsone. Medications that use these ingredients include: Benzaclin, Duac, Acanya and Aczone. Retinoids are medications that prevent the microcomedone from forming, this is the initial lesion that develops into acne. Common retinoids are tretinoin, adapalene and tazarotene. Examples of medications that use these ingredients are Tazorac, Retin-A Micro, Atralin and Differin.
What type of oral medications are the best?
As with topical medications, there is no one oral medication that is superior. It depends on the patient and the type of acne that they have. Oral antibiotics, such as Doryx, Solodyn, doxycycline, minocycline, Bactrim and azithromycin are commonly used for patients with inflammatory acne lesions. Anti-androgen medications, such as Spironolactone, can be used for women with hormonally influenced acne. Accutane is an oral retinoid that is generally reserved for severe acne that does not respond to other treatments.
Are there any options beside medications for acne?
There are in-office procedures, such as Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), the Isolaz laser, medical facials and chemical peels that are very effective at treating acne. The best treatment regimens combine both medical treatments and in-office procedures, to treat the acne in many different ways at once.