Understanding Acne Treatments

Needless to say, acne is the number one most annoying problem for teenagers today. Yes, many teenagers battle with problems at home (parents going through divorce and all) but once they step out of the house, they can leave that problem there. Acne, on the other hand, goes with them wherever they go; it’s almost as if it is haunting us! When teens look in the mirror they are reminded of the poor current condition of the skin on their face. Acne truly alters the way many teenagers see themselves and leads them to become withdrawn. “Nobody wants to be friends with a freak with acne” – that is what they always think.

Acne Treatments 01

That is why it is extremely important that we do something about it; and we should do it fast! Teenage depression and bullying should not be taken lightly as those things have actually taken young lives before and they will continue to do so. Am I being hysterical? I don’t mean to scare you or put such a serious note on this post, I just want everyone to understand that acne really is a serious matter. I know I have talked nonchalantly about it in the past but if you can get past the jokes, you will see that I have been serious about acne treatment since day one.

Anyway, you have three acne treatment choices: prescription medicines, over-the-counter drugs, and natural or home-made acne remedies. Each of these treatments has their own benefits and drawbacks and I will discuss them all in this article. I will also site some good examples of acne treatment drugs under each category. Hold on to your seats boys and girls, this is going to be a long but fun ride.

Prescription Acne Treatments

Dermatologists are effective, but meeting with them is financially unrealistic for a large portion of people

Obviously, acne treatments under this category are those that have been prescribed by a dermatologist. More often than not, drugs in this group are not over-the-counter drugs or drugs that can be bought even without a prescription. Therefore, you need to seek consultation with your dermatologist first before you can even get a finger on any of these drugs.

Because you need to see a dermatologist before using these drugs, you can be 99% sure that they will work for you; I can’t say a hundred percent because even the best fall down sometimes (and yes, I quoted that from a song). Moreover, the dermatologist can probably give you valuable tips that will intensify the treatment process. In fact, you may even be asked to go through minor surgical procedures to cure your acne like dermabrasion or even laser acne treatment.

However, because you are seeking for an expert’s advice and you need to pay for their intellectual property, you can expect that this option could be a little bit pricey. If you are living off of your trust fund then I dare say that this is the best choice for you; if not, then I guess you’ll have to read further and learn about your other options. I know you have guessed right off the bat that the main problem with this treatment method is the cost; unless of course you choose a dermatologist who shares the intelligence of a baboon (this is far fetched but still possible).

Examples of Acne Treatments and Procedures Under this Category

Dermabrasion – Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure that involves the controlled abrasion of the skin surface with the use of sandpaper or other mechanical means (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermabrasion). The procedure sounds harsh and painful doesn’t it? However, you would be under anesthesia the entire time and you would not feel a thing. Your skin is going to look red and feel raw for several months but when it heals; you can expect to see your face in the mirror instead of acne. Moreover, it can get rid of acne scars too. The healing time is relatively long but many people still choose dermabrasion over other surgical procedures that aim to remove acne because it is cheaper but equally effective.

Types Of Acne
Types Of Acne

Adapalene (brand name: Differin) – Adapalene is a gel that is applied on your acne once a day. It basically slows down the accumulation of dead skin cells on your pores, thus stopping the acne-formation process. While using this product, you should avoid constant and direct exposure to the sun. A good portion of those who use this product experience redness, scaling, dryness, and itching of the skin.

Erythromycin (sold under a lot of brand names) – Erythromycin is an antibiotic that is effective in killing the specific bacteria that causes acne. It comes in many forms, including gel, cream, lotion, and pledgets. Many people say that they feel a burning sensation on their skin whenever they use this drug. Erythromycin is a very strong antibiotic so before you use it in conjunction with any anti-acne products, consult your dermatologist first.

Over-the-Counter Acne Medications

Like I said, not everyone was blessed with an insane amount of trust fund money that is why a majority of people look for cheaper alternatives before they go to a dermatologist. Going to an expert is of course your best option; after all, they toiled in school for years just to make sure those who can afford it can have clear skin. But that’s just it; it is only good for those who can afford it. In reality, probably around 80% of our population does not have the extra money for sessions with the dermatologist; heck, some of us barely have enough money for food. That is why many turn to over-the-counter acne treatments and anti-acne medications for help.

Store purchases acne medications work but they are hit and miss.

It is nice that we have been given cheaper options because that means having clearer skin has become accessible to a larger number of people. The down side is there is very minimal guarantee that these products will work for your skin; worse, there is no guarantee that these treatments will not exacerbate your current problems with acne. Even if you ask your friends about the product and they swear on their dog’s grave that it worked for them, it still may not work for you because you have different skin tones. Are you getting my point here? Instead of saving money, you can actually be burning it by spending on products that may not actually work for your skin type.

Many of these products have money-back guarantees; especially those that have been ordered online. However, if the product caused more harm than help, you cannot blame the company and ask them for more money to treat your acne. The fine print almost always says, “consult your doctor before using this product.” Isn’t that what you are avoiding in the first place – the costs of a doctor’s consultation? Which leads me to your third option – natural remedies (more on that later).

Example of Over-the-Counter Acne Drugs

Benzoyl Peroxide – This antibiotic agent is actually available in over-the-counter or prescription form depending on its strength. However, it is more commonly sold without prescription. It also has a very mild peeling effect so you can expect to have dry and itchy skin while using this product.

Salicylic Acid – Salicylic acid is a well-known anti-acne drug that is used as an ingredient for many acne-fighting products. This drug helps slow down the shedding of dead skin in the pores of our skin, thus preventing acne formation. While using this product, do not use other over-the-counter medications as it may cause extreme irritation on your skin.

Resorcinol – Often used in conjunction with other drugs like Sulfur, Resorcinol helps break down rough skin. Thus, it is used to break down blackheads and whiteheads increasing the potency of Sulfur and other anti-acne treatments.

Natural Acne Treatments

Safe, a large variety, but hit and miss.

Call me biased but I still think that natural acne remedies are your best option; at least if you are trying to save money. Natural acne treatments are extremely cheap. In fact, most of the ingredients you need are already in your backyard or your kitchen. How convenient is that?

Now, natural acne remedies are like over-the-counter drugs – there are no solid guarantees because your skin has not been assessed by a dermatologist. The one thing that sets natural remedies apart from over-the-counter drugs is that they have little to no side effects; unless you are originally allergic to them. What I am trying to say is it does not matter as much if you perform the trial-and-error method here because you can rest assured that your acne will not worsen. If a specific natural acne remedy does not work for you then don’t fuss, move on to the next.

Examples of Natural Acne Treatments

Tea Tree Oil – I have used this as an example over and over again because this is one of my favourites. Tea Tree Oil is a very effective anti-acne remedy because of its anti-bacterial properties.

Aloe Vera Gel – Aloe Vera gel is very soothing to the skin. On top of that, it can effectively reduce swelling, making your acne look and feel more bearable.

Acne Diet – Time and time again I have told you that the best tool against acne is a balanced diet. Start eating fruits and vegetables (bananas and tomatoes in particular) and stop eating oily foods; cheeseburgers, hotdogs and French fries included (Hush now. I had a hard time accepting this myself).

You can scan my other articles about natural acne remedies to learn more about them.

At the end of the day you have several different types of acne treatments available to you. You can visit a dermatologist (effective, but expensive). You can go with over-the-counter drugs (lots of variety, but no guarantees) or you can go with good old-fashioned home remedies for acne (variety, safe, but no guarantees).