Once you have tried over the counter acne products and did not get any relief, it is about time to see a dermatologist. You dermatologist may recommend creams, lotions or gels to apply to the affected areas or he/she may feel the need to prescribe oral medications depending on the severity of the acne. Make sure you follow the directions of your dermatologist diligently and complete the course of any medications prescribed to you. Remember there is no over the night cure for acne. You should allow enough time for the treatment to take effect. It could take 4 to 8 weeks before you see any results. Don't be alarmed if the acne gets worse before it gets better. Acne treatment takes time and patience is required to see the best outcome. Sometimes it can take months or even years before acne completely clears up. If you stick to the program given by the dermatologist, then the payoff is huge.
The treatment recommended by the dermatologist depends on the type and severity of the acne. For mild acne, your dermatologist may start off with topical medication or for severe acne, you may have to take oral medication. Sometimes topical medications and oral medications can be used in combination to control the acne. The most common topical medications include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and retinoids and the most widely used oral medications are antibiotics such as tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, erythromycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and azithromycin. Antibiotics have a function of killing the bacteria that can contribute in causing the acne.
The most popular oral medication given for severe cystic acne is isotretinoin. This medication is taken over the period of four to six months. Even though patients have experienced marked improvements in their skin, there has been reports of some severe symptoms like mood disorders, depression and suicides after taking this medication. Pregnant women can never take Isotretinoin as the medicine can cause severe birth defects in the babies.
There are women who see their skin clear up after taking oral contraceptive pills which contain estrogen and progestin. These medications are not without side effects either and some women can experience headaches, breast tenderness, nausea, weight gain and breakthrough bleeding. Unfortunately serious complications such as blood clotting can occur as well.
Spironolactone is a medication that can block the effects of androgen hormones on the sebaceous glands. This medicine works on reducing the oil. It has side effects like breast tenderness, painful menstruation and retention of potassium.
The reality is that your acne may not ever go away, so trying to achieve the perfect skin is next to impossible, but you can make better choices to achieve the best skin you can possibly have!