Natural Beauty Care Guide
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Prescription Acne Treatment

Acne that does not respond to over-the-counter topical products might be best treated with stronger prescription treatments. Your dermatologist will be able to effectively treat all types of acne, including the pus-filled papules, larger acne nodules, or painful acne cysts. Prescription acne medications range from topical or oral antibiotics to hormonal therapies to Accutane. By relying on your physician, you'll find the most appropriate treatment for, and prevention of, acne flare-ups. But be patientódepending on your condition, it may take several weeks or even months to see improvements. Also be responsible. Use the medications exactly as directed by your physician. (Do not skip dosages unless instructed by your doctor.)


To kill the bacteria that cause and exacerbate acne pimples and cysts, your dermatologist may prescribe topical (creams, solution, gels, pads) or oral antibiotics. These medications are also effective in decreasing inflammation. Since antibiotics address only the bacterial component of acne, they are usually prescribed in combination with other acne medications. Oral antibiotics are in general more effective than the topical variety. Many people with acne will need to take oral antibiotics for many months or even years because they simply control but do not cure acne.

There are side effects associated with the oral antibiotics, including upset stomach, dizziness, headache, increased sun sensitivity, yeast infections, rash, and hives. Another word of caution: the use of oral antibiotics by women who are on birth control pills could make the pill less effective, subjecting women to the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor the use of a second form of contraception when taking oral antibiotics. Also, don't forget to wear sunscreen to avoid the risks of sunburn when taking oral antibiotics. The following is a list of some of the more common antibiotics used for the treatment of acne.

Topical Antibiotics

Sodium Sulfacetamide
Clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide
Erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide

Oral Antibiotics


Retinoids (prescription vitamin A derivatives)

Retinoids are chemically altered forms of vitamin A and appear to work in several days. First they shut down the production of oil in the gland and shrink its size. They also decrease inflammation and have some antibacterial effect. But the prime function of in acne is to correct the basic that causes plugs down inside the oil glands. No one yet knows exactly how this works, but these drugs, when used by dermatologists, are extremely effective.

There are several different formulations of these products, which include creams, gels, solutions, and pads .Unlike nonprescription vitamin A derivatives, retinoids are extremely effective at unplugging pores, and prevent whiteheads and blackheads from forming. Topical retinoids can irritate the skin and increase sun sensitivity so it is important to use sun protection and follow the dermatologistís directions to maximize effectiveness. In addition to controlling acne and evening out evening out the complexion, the retinoids also diminish fine lines and wrinkling of the skin.

Topical Retinoids

Originally intended for the treatment of acne vulgaris (pimples), tretinoin has also been shown to reduce fine wrinkles and smoothen the skin. Tretinoin also firms up the skin by stimulating the production of collagen, normalizing skin tone and inducing the formation of blood vessels, which imparts a healthy glow to the skin. Tretinoin should be used at night because it makes the skin sensitive to sunburn. Avoid using during pregnancy.

Adopolene Gel

Used for treating acne vulgaris. It is less irritating than tretinoin and does not sensitive the skin to sunlight, Avoid using during pregnancy.

Azelaic Acid

This topical agent has anti-inflammatory as well as antibacterial properties, and it also treats the hyperpigmentation that often results in skin of color.


A derivative of vitamin A, Accutane is one of the most powerful and effective oral drugs developed to treat acne. It's indicated for the treatment of severe, cystic acne or scarring acne that does not improve with standard acne medications. Accutane decreases the production of oil by the sebaceous glands and unplugs clogged follicular canals. A short course of the drug-one or two pills a day (depending upon your weight) for five months-may be all you need to see significant improvement in your skin. But this drug has a number of serious side effects. And never take accutane if youíre pregnant or think you might be; it has been linked to birth defects.

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