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Acne Treatments: Types, Side Effects, and More


A sebaceous gland that is inflamed or infected is the main cause of acne, a skin ailment that is characterised by red pimples, especially on the face. A common occurrence in adolescent life is acne. Making changes to one’s lifestyle or using DIY remedies are both acceptable acne treatments.

If treatment is applied to the acne spot, it dries up the excess oil on the skin and clears away the bacteria that lead to acne. There are various kinds of acne treatments including oral medication, lifestyle modification, topical medication and some sort of medical procedures that can be employed.

The kind of treatment applied is largely dependent on how serious the acne is. Mild to moderate acne requires a relatively easy treatment method because this leaves mostly whiteheads or blackheads. Regardless, the other acne known as cystic or inflammatory acne requires a more studious treatment approach.  Cystic acne is said to be more painful and has a bad effect on the skin – it is left for the doctor or dermatologist to diagnose and find out the type of acne that you may have.

Lifestyle remedies

Instead of opting for medication, there are modifications to a lifestyle that can be employed to treat mild acne or pimples. Oil is the major cause of acne, so keeping your face clean does a lot of magic in terms of acne infection. You should also not allow your greasy hair to touch your face.

It is highly recommended that you wash your face twice or three times a day with lukewarm water and use a gentle cloth to wipe it off. Avoid the use of skin care products that can irritate your skin like scented lotions or oil-based make-ups. The use of “noncomedogenic” sunscreens or moisturizers is not going to clog your skin, those are the types that are recommended for your use.

Lastly, you must ensure you change your bedding and pillowcases weekly to avoid build-up. The aforementioned steps are enough to cure mild acne, else see your doctor.

Topical medications

Topical medications are the application of Lotions, gels, and creams on the skin. Application is typically recommended for the morning after bathing and before bedtime after bathing as well. You can get topical medications over the counter or through a doctor’s prescription.

In a bid to reduce the amount of oil in your body, use the OTC acne product that contains Salicylic acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. They fight inflammation as well and even help to treat and prevent blemishes.

Prescribing topical medications help when OTC product fail for treatment.

Oral medications

The treatment of acne can include taking oral medicine, which is also called a systemic treatment because the medication is absorbed in the entire body system. Oral medication is taken only on a doctor’s prescription because they are used to treat moderate and severe acne that doesn’t respond to topical treatment.

The following medications are used for treating acne.


There are antibiotics for acne treatments, including tetracycline. It works to fight bacterial infection from the inside out. Antibiotics cleanse the system, fighting bacteria from the inside. Antibiotics may be used with topical medication depending on the severity of the acne.

Birth control pills

For emphasis, birth control pills cannot be used during pregnancy. Birth control pills regulate the hormone level and can improve acne for some women. For pregnant women battling acne, ask your doctor what can be done to banish breakouts.


Isotretinoin functions to reduce the size of the oil gland in the system. The lesser the oil, the less the chance of breakouts. This drug is of the retinoid family and also helps to regulate skin cell turnover to avoid the release of bacteria and excess oil from the pores. Medication is prescribed for people with a severe condition of acne. It has harsh side effects and so, must be taken only if prescribed by a doctor.

Procedures For Acne Treatments

There are medical procedures that can be employed the treat acne in the instance of severity, though this is not prescribed as a medication. Depending on the severity and the doctor’s expertise, the said procedure can also be very painful but be done in a small space like an office.

In most cases, health insurance does not cover acne, you may need to check before going on to schedule.

We take a swipe at the procedures for treating acne as follows:

Drainage and extraction

Doctor typically extracts large cysts, that look like solid fat, from underneath your skin and this is done manually. Fluids containing dirt, pus, and dead skin are removed to reduce infection and pain. There are instances where antibiotics or steroids are injected into cysts to speed healing.

Laser therapy

This therapy uses light through the skin with the aim of reducing the number of bacteria that cause acne on the skin.

Chemical peels and microdermabrasion

This is an uncommon but very effective method of reducing acne infection. This method removes the top layer of the skin, removing the whiteheads and blackheads.

Acne treatments during pregnancy

It is commonplace for young adults and almost everyone to experience acne. However, pregnancy oftentimes also comes with breakouts. Regardless, treatment for pregnant women may differ from person to person.

Research has proven that medications prescribed for adults and teens who have acne are not usually safe for pregnant women.

In taking large amounts, retinoids are harmful to developing fetuses because they are category c drugs. You may need to ask your doctor before attempting to use it.

Tetracycline is also harmful to a growing fetus. It is linked with some birth defects and has tendencies to discolour the baby’s teeth. You are advised not to use Isotretinoin and tetracycline during pregnancy.

Products that use benzoyl peroxide are the safest acne medication for use during pregnancy.

Side effects

There is almost no treatment in the world that is without a side effect, and so acne treatments come with their own side effect but this largely depends on the method o treatment or medication.

If you are going to use topical medication, common side effects are irritation and dryness of the skin. Nothing to worry about because the symptoms are temporary and wane as the body adjusts and gets used to the medication. In the instance where you’re experiencing itching or peeling of your skin, you may do well to tell your doctor.

Meanwhile, the potential side effect of oral medication is oftentimes more serious. Dizziness, stomach upset, insomnia, and lightheadedness are among the side-effect of taking antibiotics. You may want to have a backup birth control method if you are taking birth control pills because some antibiotics can nullify the effect of birth control pills.

You’re likely to have a blood clotting if you’re using contraceptives to manage your acne. Beware and be warned.

Oral Isotretinoin, they have adverse side effects, especially for those who become pregnant while taking it. Babies are likely going to have defects. Medication can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts, including affecting liver function and cholesterol levels.

Talk to your doctor

Acne is not a terminal condition and it is commonly treated. First off, lifestyle modification is advised for people with acne and where this does not work, the least invasive treatment or OTC product should suffice.

If you’re not confident with the aforementioned steps, consult your doctor.

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