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 Acne Treatments

Table of Contents: Acne treatments

Treatments For Acne

Treatments for acne vary depending on the type and severity of each case. Options range from over-the-counter topicals, to prescription drugs to physical treatments.

Although acne is a relatively benign skin condition, depending on the severity, it can lead to scarring and psychological problems for people who suffer from it.

One of the biggest myths associated with acne is that it is caused by poor hygiene. Nothing could be further from the truth! Still, the myth continues causing embarrassment for those who suffer from it.

Mild cases of acne can often be treated successfully with an non-prescription medications purchased at the local pharmacy. For more severe cases, it is advisable to seek the advice of your doctor. Treatments under these conditions may consist of a healthy diet and recommended prescription drugs.

These drugs may be oral or topical. In the most severe of cases, a dermatologist may suggest such physical treatments as exfoliation, extraction, drainage or light therapy.

Acne is a very personal condition. No two cases are alike therefore the treatments for acne vary depending on the individual and the severity. At the first sign of a skin disorder, it is always wise to see your doctor.

There is no need to hide or be embarrassed if you suffer from acne. There are many treatments available today to help you clear up your skin.

Dermatologist Acne Treatments

Acne treatments will vary with each individual case and although it isn't a serious condition it is a good idea to see a dermatologist if your skin breaks out. You can receive valuable information about the cause of your acne as well as learning about the best options for treatment.

There is a condition called keratosis pilaris, commonly known as "chicken skin" that is sometimes confused with acne. Seeing a dermatologist can determine which condition you actually have so that you are not wasting time with inappropriate treatments.

Mild conditions of acne can be effectively treated with over-the-counter medications but more severe cases need the attention of a doctor. Acne can cause physical as well as emotional suffering and can lead to permanent scarring if not properly treated. When acne is not responding to over-the-counter medications you should consult with a dermatologist for recommended acne treatments.

Seeing A Dermatologist

It is a good idea to prepare for your first consultation by writing down as much information about your acne as possible. The doctor will want to know the background -- how long you have had acne, what form it takes (blackheads, whiteheads, lesions etc.) and what you have done to treat it.

You may also be asked if your parents or siblings had acne and how severe it was for them. Since acne treatments may include oral medications you should be prepared to tell the doctor if you are allergic to certain medicines. Women may be asked to describe their menstrual period and men may need to say how often they shave.

The dermatologist may offer a choice of acne treatments so knowing a bit about the various options can help you make an informed decision. Antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria that cause acne. Antibiotics can be given orally or in a lotion that is applied to the skin. Severe cases may require the use of both forms.

Topical treatments include benzoyl peroxide and retinoic acid. These are usually prescribed in gel form and may cause dryness or reddening of the skin. In severe cases of acne physical treatments may be recommended.

These include acne surgery used to remove blackheads and whiteheads and to drain cysts. Light therapy or laser treatments might also be an option. No matter which form of treatment you decide on it is important to follow directions given by the doctor. Don't take more or less of a medication than prescribed.

When your skin clears up, continue with your acne treatments until your doctor advises otherwise. This will help to prevent reoccurrences. Always be informed about your condition and get the information you require. Write down questions as you think of them and don't be afraid to ask your doctor at your next consultation.

Common questions include:

  • What kind of treatment is best for me?
  • How soon will I start to see results?
  • How long will the treatment last?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • How should I care for my skin?
  • Can I use makeup?
  • How can I prevent acne scars?

Acne treatments for severe cases may continue for some time. Each time you see your doctor take the opportunity to clear up any questions or concerns you have about acne or your treatment. Try to become as well-informed as possible so that you can participate fully in your acne treatment.

Birth Control Pills For Acne

Using birth control pills for acne flare ups may or may not be an effective method of control. Acne first develops during adolescence, when hormone levels begin to surge. When hormone levels rise, the sebaceous glands produce excess oil. This oil combined with dead skin cells and dirt becomes trapped within the skin's pores and acne develops.

Since acne can be triggered by fluctuating hormone levels within the body, it stands to reason that acne can appear at the various 'stages' in life when hormone levels are changing such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause. It also makes sense that controlling hormone levels may reduce acne outbreaks.

The use of birth control pills for acne treatment is an attempt to regulate hormones. It is important to understand that every human body contains both male and female hormones. Overactive sebaceous glands are the result of rising levels of the male hormones - testosterone and androgens. Birth control pills contain artificial female hormones - estrogen and/or progestin.

The theory is that birth control pills shut down the ovaries which are producing inappropriate male hormones allowing a more balanced male/female hormone mixture.

Problems With Birth Control Pills

There are problems with using birth control pills to control acne. Some women may actually notice their acne worsen with the use of birth control pills until the estrogen levels become dominant. Women who do take the birth control pill and who notice that their acne is getting worse should discuss the situation with their doctor.

Different brands of oral contraception have different levels of hormones. Switching to another brand may bring acne back under control. There are several brands that may help clear up acne but only Ortho Tri-cyclen has been approved by the FDA for treating acne. Using birth control pills for acne control is only a temporary solution.

Many women find that once they stop using birth control pills, their acne returns - sometimes worse than before. Birth control pills often have undesirable side effects. There are also other more serious health risks than acne to consider. It is for these reasons that using birth control pills for acne control should be considered only after all other treatment options have failed and always with the guidance of your physician.

Natural Acne Remedies

Many companies today offer natural acne remedies as an alternative to conventional acne treatments. Do these products work? The manufacturers claim they do. Plenty of satisfied customers say they do. The problem with herbal acne remedies lies in the lack of scientific evidence. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs pharmaceutical products.

However, there is no such agency to validate the health related claims of herbal products so, you must rely on your own judgement. So how do you decide whether or not herbal treatments and natural acne remedies are effective? Trial and error. Research various herbs to learn what their special health properties are.

For example:

  • Echinacea - taken internally reduces inflammation and promotes healing;
  • Aloe Vera - applied topically has antibacterial and astringent properties;
  • Tea Tree Oil - is a versatile and powerful antiseptic used to disinfect minor wounds.

Study the ingredients in natural acne remedies. If they contain herbs with the healing properties that you desire - try them. Experimenting with various herbal acne remedies and measuring your own results is the best way to determine their effectiveness. It is interesting to note that your liver plays an important role regarding acne.

Acne is caused by a surge of hormones, more specifically, male hormones during various stages in life such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause. When hormone levels become excessive, sebaceous glands produce too much oil. This oil along with dirt and dead skin cells becomes trapped in pores causing acne. The liver is you body's purifier. It works to clear your body of excessive toxins and hormones. Improving your liver function helps to rid your body of excess hormones thereby improving your acne. Milk Thistle is commonly used for cleansing and strengthening the liver.

The best advice regarding natural acne remedies is to do your homework. Choose herbal supplements that are explicitly labeled from a reputable company and try them.
You may be pleasantly surprised by the results!

Acne Diets

Do effective acne diets really exist?

As much as we wish it were true, there is no scientific evidence to link acne outbreaks to poor eating habits. Just as there is no proof that eating chocolate and greasy fried foods causes acne - there is no proof that eating healthy foods will eliminate it. Still, many people continue to believe the association of certain foods with acne and that is alright.

If you feel that you have identified specific foods that may trigger your acne, avoid them.  However, no doctor or dermatologist will validate the mythical link between diets and acne. They may recommend that you stay away from the foods you believe to cause a problem, but that is usually as far as they will go.

Even though there might not be scientific proof connecting acne and food, there are many health reasons for restricting your intake of processed, fried, high-fat foods and those tasty sweet treats that are made from refined carbohydrates.

Those types of foods have been proven to cause heart disease, a condition that is far more serious than acne. That is more than enough reason for every person, regardless of race, sex or age, to change their eating habits. A diet that is the right balance of vitamins and nutrients can greatly reduce the risk of heart trouble.

Such a diet will leave you feeling more energized and may even slow down the effects of aging. Equally important, a balanced diet is the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off.

When the body is fed a nutritionally-balanced diet it is more capable of performing at optimum capacity. When the body feels better, it acts better, and in a short time will look better too. The absence of proven 'cure-all' acne diets does not mean that healthy eating will not help to improve your skin. It may well be that a healthy diet is one piece to the 'acne puzzle'.

So go ahead and start adding more fiber, anti-oxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates to your diet and start reaping the benefits. You might find that glowing, blemish-free skin is one way your body benefits from eating a proper diet!

Vitamins For Acne

Supplemental vitamins for acne sufferers are not something new. Most people are lacking in the necessary vitamins to maintain a happy, healthy body - and that includes skin!
Your skin is your body's largest organ. It requires a wide range of vitamins to look and feel it's best.

Vitamins A, C, E, K and vitamin B complex are all necessary. However, in today's 'fast world' improper eating habits are the leading cause of vitamin deficiencies. To compensate, you may choose to add a quality multivitamin to your diet.
One of the most beneficial vitamins for acne treatment claims to be the vitamin B group and in particular, vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid.  Vitamin B5 for acne is causing quite a stir throughout the Internet, There are numerous sites competing for your attention. Some claim that mega doses of vitamin B5 will completely eliminate all traces of your acne while others claim that such B5 doses are totally useless and dangerous.

So who do you believe?

A regiment of vitamin B5 to treat acne is claimed to be second only to treatments based on vitamin A. B5 is an essential vitamin and can be found in our everyday diets. Foods such as eggs, yeast, whole-wheat, broccoli and red meat all contain vitamin B5. There is no proof to indicate that taking large doses of B5 to treat acne are dangerous - only opinions.

Programs that suggest mega doses of up to 10 grams or more of B5 each day may be unnecessary. Since vitamins B5 is water-soluble, much of it would be flushed from your system before your body could absorb what it needed. That may be why as many as 20 tablets a day are recommended. Some may find that very hard to swallow!

A program that offers time-released vitamins for acne may be the answer. A lower dose of 2 to 3 grams of vitamin B5 each day, time-released to allow your body to absorb it makes sense. Why take 20 tablets when you can get the same results with 4 to 6? It is much cheaper too! In the end, the decision to use vitamins for acne treatment will be yours.

Supplementing a poor diet with multivitamins will certainly help to improve your skin and your over-all health. Additional vitamin B5, if used sensibly, promises a safe, natural and effective solution to your acne.

Zinc Acne Remedies

Because deficiencies of zinc have been linked to acne, Zinc acne remedies have been studied for effectiveness. Zinc is a mineral found naturally in many of the foods we eat.

Lean beef, poultry, dairy, eggs, whole grains, beans, peas, sunflower seeds and nuts are just some healthy sources of zinc.

Often, in our world of fast food, we do not make the connection between facial blemishes and our diets. Poor eating habits can definitely contribute to a zinc deficiency which studies have linked to acne and other skin disorders.

So how does zinc help acne sufferers?

Zinc has a reputation as an infection fighter. It aids in the healing of tissue, helps the body to resist infection and inflammation and can help to prevent scarring.

Zinc also helps with the regulation of hormones and DNA synthesis.
During development periods such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause, we know that body begins producing hormones.

This spike in hormone production causes the sebaceous glands to become over-active. These tiny glands at the base of each hair follicle, begin producing excess oil. This oil, also know as sebum, combine with the normal shedding of dead skin cells and dirt can cause pores to become clogged. The oil and bacteria trapped within the porescan result in the manifestation of acne.

A weakened immune system, due to a zinc deficiency will make it more difficult for your body to fight the bacteria and infection. Zinc acne remedies are often recommended based on evidence that indicates that by boosting your immune system and regulating your hormone production you will help your body to fight acne.

There are many forms of zinc - zinc oxide, zinc gluconate, zinc picolinate, zinc acetate, zinc sulfate and zinc monothionine. No one form can be proven beyond doubt to perform better than the others. It is know that zinc inhibits copper absorption. Since a copper deficiency is undesirable and can lead to other health problems, it is necessary to increase your daily copper intake if your are supplementing with zinc. A good multi-vitamin will take care of that.

Zinc acne remedies are not a magic pill. Taking zinc tablets will not guarantee that your acne will disappear. Studies have showed very good results with some, while others showed no benefits at all.

Best recommendation - talk with your doctor or dermatologist about using zinc to combat your acne. You may be one of those who react extremely well to a zinc acne treatment!

Acupuncture for Acne Psoriasis Allergies

Acupuncture for Acne Psoriasis Allergies and other skin conditions is a treatment technique that is gaining attention in the Western world. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese holistic approach to medicine that has been practiced in China for over 2500 years. It involves the belief that the body has an energy force running through it known as Qi (pronounced 'chi') and that person's health is influenced by the flow of Qi throughout the body.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, this 'Qi' travels through the body along special pathways known as meridians. These meridians run vertically up and down the body surface and are the same on each side. If the energy that constantly flows through these pathways becomes blocked or interrupted in some way, illness occurs.

Acupuncture involves inserting tiny, sterile, flexible needles in specific points along the meridians to stimulate the body's internal regulatory system and nurture a natural healing process.

Does it work?

Science has not proven or accepted the theory of 'Qi' but many case studies have indicated the effectiveness of acupuncture in relieving pain related illnesses.

Today, acupuncture is widely accepted in the United States as an alternate form of medicine. It's popularity continues to grow at a time when more and more people are seeking a more holistic, natural approach to medicine.

Techniques in acupuncture for Acne Psoriasis Allergies and other skin conditions have been recognized. Acupuncture has even been credited for being able to reduce wrinkles and sagging skin. Reports indicate that there are very positive results for people with acne who undergo acupuncture treatments.

The best advice regarding acupuncture for Acne Psoriasis Allergies or any other condition is to do your research. Talk with your doctor. Get recommendations from him regarding reputable professional acupuncturists.

There are many cautions to consider when submitting to acupuncture therapy. The number on precaution: Always make sure that they use disposable needles! Your doctor will help you with the rest.

Acne Blue Light Treatments

Light therapy and in particular, acne blue light treatments, have proven to be extremely successful in treating mild to moderate inflammatory acne. Light therapy is not a new idea. Documentation of the healing properties of color date as far back as 1876 when Augustus Pleasanton published his theory "Blue and Sun-lights". He believed that colored light was effective in treating pain and disease. He was right.

In 1878, Edwin Babbit corroborated Pleasanton's theory when he published "The Principles of Light and Color". Babbit took the theory of color to new levels. He identified the color red as a stimulant of blood and nerves prescribing it's use for the treatment of rheumatism, exhaustion and paralysis. Blues and violets, Babbit believed to have soothing, anti-inflammatory properties which he prescribed for treating meningitis, headaches and sunstroke.

Today, new clinical studies have shown remarkable results in acne patients who participated in blue and red light treatments. Why? Without getting too clinical, the blue light destroys P.acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne inflammation. The red light causes the skin to heal up to 200 percent faster.

This is terrific news for acne sufferers in search of an effective home treatment for acne. In spite of the wide range of topical and oral acne treatments available today, many people either do not respond to them or they develop side-effects. Acne light therapy or chromotherapy is the answer to the growing demand for a safe, natural, holistic approach to acne treatment.

Acne light therapy is a safe, completely natural method of treatment that you can do on your own, in the privacy of your own home. Simply set up *blue and red lamps and 'bathe' in the light just as you would in a tanning booth. You can use both colored lamps at the same time and it only requires 15 minutes each day.

With the acne blue light treatments the bacteria causing your inflammation will self-destruct and the red light will cause lesions to heal as much as 200 percent faster than normal. The principle is very similar to the idea that sunlight improves acne, and it does, but harmful UV rays also cause premature aging and skin cancer. Light therapy is UV free and completely safe.

Consider the benefits:

  • Completely natural and affordable;
  • No drugs and no side-effects;
  • Safe and painless for all ages;
  • Requires only 15 minutes each day;
  • You can treat your whole body by yourself;

People who suffer from back acne may benefit immensely from light therapy. The back cannot be easily reached to apply the recommended topical treatment and many are too embarrassed to ask for help. Light therapy will eliminate this dilemma.