Acne treatment is available for all types of acne. Your dermatologist will determine the type and severity of your acne before designing a treatment regimen that is right for you.
Acne Treatment Plans for Every Skin Type
Over-the-counter acne products often work well for mild acne, but if your acne doesn’t respond to these treatments, you may want to consult your dermatologist. Treatment is based on your specific skin type as well as the type and severity of your acne.
Mild acne: If you have only a few blemishes, using a gentle cleanser twice daily along with products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may be helpful (although these products may cause irritation of the skin in some people). If acne doesn’t respond or worsens, your dermatologist may suggest moving to a prescription strength acne product. Topical antimicrobials eliminate breakout-causing bacteria and retinoids can help prevent clogged pores.
Moderate acne: Acne that covers one-fourth to three-fourths of the face or other areas usually requires two or more treatment options (combination therapy). These therapies may include:
Non-prescription topical medications
Physical treatment methods: Includes photodynamic therapy (PDT) and extraction of acne lesions using a sterile device
Chemical peels: Glycolic acid or other chemicals may be used for mild exfoliation which can help with comedones (whiteheads and blackheads)
Prescription medications: Oral antibiotics and/or prescription creams may be prescribed by your dermatologist
Severe Acne: Serious acne can cause skin damage and should also be managed by a dermatologist. Possible treatments include:
Drainage or surgical excision of cysts: Large cysts that don’t respond to other treatments may be extracted by a dermatologist during an in-office procedure
Corticosteroid Injections: Inflamed cystic lesions may be injected with a mild steroid solution to speed healing and reduce the risk of scarring
Oral retinoids (Accutane): Severe acne may be treated with Isotretinoin (Accutane), an oral medication reserved for severe inflammatory and scarring acne
These treatments may be used alone or in combination with one another depending on the personalized acne treatment plan developed by your dermatologist. Many acne treatments are very effective, but don’t give up if you don’t see immediate improvement, treatments often take 1 to 2 months to work.
Preventing Acne Scarring
The best way to prevent acne scars is to seek professional help early on so your dermatologist can devise a plan for your type of acne. Be careful not to touch, pick, squeeze or pop acne lesions since this can cause infection and lead to scarring.