Treatment for acne
Treatment for acne is a challenge and the success rate, in general, is low. If you’ve tried over-the-counter (non-prescription) acne products for several weeks and they haven’t helped, ask your doctor about prescription medications for acne treatment. A dermatologist can help you:
- Control your acne
- Make scars less noticeable
- Avoid scarring or other damage to your skin
Acne medications work by reducing oil production and swelling, or by treating bacterial infections. Most prescription acne medications may not show any results for four to eight weeks. It can take many months or years for your acne to completely subside.
The treatment regimen recommended by your doctor will depend on your age, the type and severity of your acne, and your willingness to commit. For example, you may need to wash and apply medication to the affected skin twice a day for several weeks. Topical drugs and drugs that you take orally (oral drugs) are often used in combination.
Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of medications and other treatments that you are considering. And make a follow-up appointment with your doctor every three to six months until your skin improves.
Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs.
Medications that contain retinoic acid or tretinoin are often useful for moderate acne. These come as creams, gels, and lotions.
Examples are tazarotene (Tazorac, Avage), tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A, others), and adapalene (Differin).
You will use this medication in the evening, starting three times a week, then daily, as your skin has got used to it. It prevents hair follicles from clogging. Do not apply tretinoin at the same time as benzoyl peroxide.
These work by killing excess skin bacteria and reducing redness and inflammation. For the first few months of treatment, you can use both a retinoid and an antibiotic, with the antibiotic applied in the morning and the retinoid in the evening. Antibiotics are often combined with benzoyl peroxide to reduce the likelihood of developing antibiotic resistance. Examples of topical antibiotics are clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide (Benzaclin, Duac, others) and erythromycin with benzoyl peroxide (Benzamycin). Topical antibiotics alone, however, are not recommended.
Salicylic acid can help prevent blockages in hair follicles and is available as both washable and leave-in products. Research showing its effectiveness is limited. Side effects from Salicylic acid may manifest in skin discoloration and minor skin rashes.
Dapsone (Aczone) 5% gel twice a day is recommended for inflammatory acne, especially for women with acne. Side effects include redness and dryness.
There is no conclusive evidence for the use of zinc, sulfur, nicotinamide, resorcinol, sodium sulfacetamide, or aluminum chloride for topical acne treatment.
For moderate to severe acne, you may need oral antibiotics to reduce bacteria. Typically, tetracycline (minocycline, doxycycline) or a macrolide (erythromycin, azithromycin) are the remedies of the first choice when it comes to acne treatment. A macrolide could be an option for people who cannot take tetracyclines, including pregnant women and children under the age of 8.
Oral antibiotics should be used as soon as possible to avoid antibiotic resistance. And they should be combined with other drugs like benzoyl peroxide to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance.
Serious side effects from using antibiotics to treat acne are rare. These drugs make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Combined oral contraceptives.
Four combined oral contraceptives are FDA-approved for acne therapy in women who wish to use them for contraception as well. They are products that combine progestin and estrogen (Ortho Tri-Cyclen 21, Yaz, others). You may not see the benefit of this treatment for a few months, so using other acne medications with it for the first few weeks can help.
Common side effects of COCs are weight gain, breast tenderness, and nausea. These drugs are also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, breast cancer, and cervical cancer.
Isotretinoin aka Amnesteem is an extract from vitamin A and can be prescribed to people whose moderate or severe acne has not responded to other treatments.
Potential side effects of oral isotretinoin include inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and severe birth defects. All people receiving isotretinoin must participate in an FDA-approved risk management program. And they will need to see their doctors regularly to monitor for side effects.
The drug spironolactone (Aldactone) can be considered for teenage women and girls if oral antibiotics do not help. It blocks the effect of androgen hormones on the oil-producing glands. Possible side effects include breast tenderness and painful periods.
Some people find the following therapies helpful, whether taken alone or in combination with medications.
Various light-based therapies have been tried with some success. Most of them require multiple visits to the doctor’s office. More research is needed to determine the ideal method, light source, and dose.
This procedure uses the repeated use of a chemical solution such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinoic acid. Treatment for mild acne. It can improve the appearance of the skin, although the change is not long-term and repeated treatments are usually required.
Drainage and production.
Your doctor may use special instruments to gently remove white and blackheads (comedones) or cysts that have not gone away with topical medications. This method temporarily improves the appearance of your skin, but it can also cause scarring.
Nodular and cystic lesions can be treated with steroid medication. This therapy resulted in rapid improvement and pain relief. Side effects can include thinning of the skin and discoloration of the treated area.
What is acne?
Most people call it zits or pimples, but the official condition known as Acne is known for the blackheads, whiteheads, and reddish pimples that appear on the face, shoulders, back, chest, and neck. Cases of acne can range from mild and occasional pimples to severe and extreme cases that are difficult to treat. Acne can hit men and women alike and of all ages. While it’s most often associated with teens, it also strikes babies, adults, and even senior citizens. Acne is caused by a condition when the follicles or pores produce too many cells and then become blocked. The blockage is called a plug. Oil, that the body naturally produces, that would typically drain once it hits the surface becomes blocked, causing bacteria to grow and blackheads or whiteheads to form.
There are two types of acne, inflamed and non-inflamed.
This type occurs when the oil and bacteria stay beneath the skin, this then causes what is typically called a whitehead, which can be quite small to form. It may even be so small no one can see it. A blackhead, on the other hand, occurs when the pore comes to open on the surface and the oil oxidizes, causing a brown or blackish color. While it may look like a speck of dirt it cannot be washed off. The blackheads tend to last longer because the contents of the pore are slow to drain on the surface.
This is made up of a papule and a pustule. The papule occurs when there is a break in the follicle’s wall and the white blood cells flow in, becoming inflamed. A few days later, the pustule forms, made up of the white blood cells that have made their way to the surface of the skin. This is what you see and call a zit or pimple.
Most conditions of acne can be treated through time, cleansing, and over the counter medications. However, you should see a doctor or dermatologist if the acne becomes severe, causing cysts, swelling, and scarring. Additionally, some of these extreme cases of acne can be very emotionally draining, especially with teens causing embarrassment and depression amongst their peers, friends, or just going out in public.
So, the sooner the acne is treated the better it will be to keep it under control. Generally, it comes in different forms of lesions:
- It is similar to the whiteheads of non-inflammatory acne but is inflamed. The papule is often considered an intermediary or transformation step from non-inflammatory acne to a more serious inflamed-type of acne.
- When the papule begins to rupture onto the skin’s surface, the lesion becomes pustules. This type of acne contains visible pus (dead white blood cells) which appears red at the base and whitish at the center.
- It is one of the painful lesions with large pus-filled nodules present deep within the skin. It affects the skin and causes serious scars in the inflamed area. A clear symptom of cyst acne is the formation of bumps. If it is not treated properly, it may cause scarring and other skin-related diseases.
Causes of acne
There are a lot of factors that cause acne most of which, even now, are not fully understood. Here are some of the most common.
This plays a big role in the development of your acne. The body releases chemicals and hormones that will turn into toxins and waste when it becomes tense and it will need to expel them. Some of these will end up being expelled through the skin and this will help to contribute to the acne problem. Stress is one of the main causes of acne on the chin
These play a big role in the development of acne. The early teenage years bring about many changes to the body and those changes will often cause repeated breakouts of pustules, pimples, and even cysts. The adult years are no different, especially for women. Premenstrual and menopausal problems can cause acne problems for a lot of women. Hormone-related acne produces extra oil, so products that help to reduce or eliminate oil will be the best for this type of acne.
Skincare products and cosmetics
It is important to choose the right products for your skin as skincare products are also one of the Causes of acne in the chin. Using the incorrect product will contribute to your acne. Using oily products on oily skin will only make it worse so you must check that the products match your skin type.
The lifestyle you live and the environment you live in are both contributing factors to what causes your acne problems. You need to learn how to take care of your skin, keep it moisturized, hydrated and learn how to reduce the factors that will cause your acne attacks.
Symptoms of acne
The common symptoms of acne are identified as:
- Red or yellow spots
- Greasy skin and scars.
Normally it can appear on the face, back, neck, chest, or arms. The severity of this condition can vary from mild to severe. People of all standards can be affected by acne.
Natural treatment for acne
Natural acne treatment based on the use of naturally made products that are effective, safe, and cause no side effects. Listed below are Natural treatment for acne that has been proven to be effective.
Diet for acne – an essential part of any natural treatment for acne
Diet for acne is a great addition to natural remedies for acne. Although, there is mixed evidence on the relationship between diet and acne. However, some people may find that it helps to eat foods with a low glycemic index or to avoid specific products, such as cow’s milk. Especially diet is important for the treatment of hormonal acne and we will discuss this subject now.
Listed below are our version of the best diet for hormonal acne
Low GI foods
- This is one of the important parts of a diet for hormonal acne. If a person’s diet contains a lot of high GI foods, reducing the intake of them and eating more low GI foods may benefit their skin. Eating lower GI foods also has other benefits, such as stabilizing blood sugar.
Eat mostly whole, nutrient-dense foods
- Following a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet is one of the best hormonal acne diets to treat and prevent acne naturally. Given that inflammation causes acne, choosing foods that reduce inflammation is crucial.
Opting for anti-inflammatory omega-3 fat sources
- Omega-3 fat sources such as fatty fish and chia seeds, over potentially inflammatory omega-6-rich fat sources like canola and soybean oils may decrease acne symptoms.
Filling your plate with colorful vegetables and fruits
- This is another way to tame inflammation and reduce acne symptoms. These foods deliver anti-inflammatory antioxidants and other vital skin-supportive nutrients, such as vitamin C, to your body
Foods to avoid if you are suffering from hormonal Acne
- The first step in a hormonal acne diet is to identify foods that you may have a sensitivity to. Dairy is a common culprit of food sensitivity. Plus, more and more studies show a link between dairy consumption and acne breakouts. Even if you don’t consume milk and cheese daily, the chances are that you’re still consuming some dairy. Many processed foods contain dairy. If you are aiming for a dairy-free diet, be sure to check food packaging labels for an allergen statement. This will tell you if milk, butter, or cheese is an ingredient.
Refined Carbs & Sugar
- Foods high on the glycemic index like pasta, sugary drinks, and white bread may also fuel the production of acne on your skin. However, foods with low glycemic indexes like kale and whole grains have been shown to improve acne. When searching for foods to help prevent acne, we suggest adding foods like quinoa, barley, spinach, and lentils to your diet. You’ll feel better and your skin might begin to clear up, too.
Home remedies for acne – most common natural treatment for acne
Home remedies for acne are remedies you can get at home, these remedies are effective and safe.
Listed below are the most popular home remedies for acne
- Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider, or the unfiltered juice from pressed apples. Like other kinds of vinegar, it’s known for its ability to fight many types of bacteria and fungi Apple cider vinegar contains organic acids, such as citric acid, that are an effective home treatment for acne
- Zinc is an essential nutrient that’s important for cell growth, hormone production, metabolism, and immune function. Research indicates that people with acne tend to have lower levels of zinc in their blood than those with clear skin. Several studies have also shown that taking zinc orally may help reduce acne.
- Honey and cinnamon can fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two factors that trigger acne
Apply green tea to your skin
- Green tea is very high in antioxidants, and drinking it can promote good health. It may also help reduce acne. This is likely because the polyphenols in green tea help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two main causes of acne
Chinese herbs for acne – effective home-based natural treatment for acne
Traditional Chinese Medicine goes back some 4,000 years and is still widely practiced today. The belief is to treat the whole body with specific herbs and plants and not just the cause of a particular ailment. Chinese herbs for acne relief will not happen overnight. It is more a long term holistic solution for those who want a more natural way to deal with acne and acne scars.
Chinese herbs for acne include:
- Honeysuckle – can be taken as an infusion.
- Spica Prunella (Asian Selfheal) – in many Chinese supermarkets and stores, they are sold much like soda pop. You can boil the plants and add honey as a drink.
- Barbed Skullcap – again sold as drinks in Chinese stores. Boil and add honey if you get the plants.
- Dicliptera – Boil and drink with some honey.
- Purslane – Boil and drink with honey.
- Dahurian angelica – It can be boiled together with Chrysanthemum as a drink.
There are many ways to treat acne and Chinese herbs for acne is just one of them. It is a more holistic and natural remedy for acne in a long term approach than some other modern treatments such as laser and antibiotics.
The best natural treatment for acne scars
Although, there are so many treatments on the market for acne that you have to wonder if many of them work. Well, it is a proven fact that most natural remedies can be considered the treatment for acne scars, and they are known to save people a lot of money too! What is particularly surprising to people is that many of these natural remedies for acne contain oils, which should logically be doing more harm than good. However, what you find is that the properties in these oils help to combat bacteria that cause acne and leaves you with terrible scars.
Listed below are the most effective techniques and each of them can be titled as the best treatment for acne scars
- This traditional remedy is good for a lot of medical conditions including acne scars because it helps to produce smooth skin and reduce the appearance of scars. It is considered by many to be the best treatment for acne scars because it produces really good results in a pretty short period.
Tea Tree Oil
- This is also one of those remedies that can treat just about any kind of skin scarring and can be applied directly to the skin. In no time, you will start to see your acne scars diminish.
- When considering applying coconut oil to the skin with cotton balls, make sure you use extra virgin coconut oil, which has all of the natural properties needed to cure your skin of acne scarring. Coconut oil is also very effective at soothing and smoothing the skin surface without adding any bacterial properties. This miraculous treatment will help you have smoother and softer skin in a very short matter of time.
Oregano Oil –
- This is a product that can be applied directly to acne scars. It will help to bring all the fluid in your acne cysts to the surface and allow it to drain out. Once the cysts have been drained, you can stop using this oil and then start applying peroxide to allow the cysts to scab over. Once they have scabbed over, honey is great at finishing the healing process so you do not get those nasty scars.
- When mixed as a paste with lime juice, groundnut oil can be used to help freshen the skin and create that natural glow that comes from having a smoother skin surface.
The best treatment for acne scars is the treatment you can put together naturally. Not only will you save money, but you will also get good results without the side effects that come with expensive, prescription acne treatments.
Acupuncture for acne – ancient Chinese natural treatment for acne.
When it feels like you’ve already used without success all remedies available at the drugstore and healthy shops (apple cider vinegar. zinc supplement, tee tree oil, hormonal skin creams, witch hazel, etc.) it’s natural to be interested in acne treatments that alternative medicine can offer. Acupuncture, the ancient practice of Chinese medicine of inserting hair-thin stainless-steel needles into key points along the body, is an increasingly popular alternative treatment for cosmetic problems like acne.
“The concepts of traditional Chinese medicine believe that a healthy body will naturally slow down the progression of aging, both internally and externally,” says Yelena Galanter, a licensed acupuncturist at Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic. “Each area of the face corresponds to different organs in our body, which gives us clues to adapt the treatment. For example, dark circles under the eyes may indicate poor functioning of the kidneys and adrenal glands. “
Here is everything you need to know about acupuncture for acne.
Does Acupuncture for Acne Really Work?
Acupuncture for acne aims to look at what is happening under the skin. “Everything that shows up on the skin is a reflection of other imbalances in health and well-being that affect overall health,” explains Victor Tsan, MD – Medical Director of the Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic, Doctor of Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine. He explains that “acupuncture for acne works by treating underlying problems such as poor digestion or hormonal imbalances, which means treating the root cause of what is happening to the skin.”
If your gut is unbalanced, for example, traditional Chinese medicine would say it is associated with “moisture”. Just like when something is actually damp, it “creates a buildup of moisture and inhibits free flow and evaporation in the environment,” Yelena Galanter explains, “internal moisture will manifest itself in a similar way in our body, causing stagnation and disturbances circulation in the body. With humidity, there is almost always a component of the spleen and digestive dysfunction, which reflects the importance of gut health for skin disorders. “
From an Eastern perspective, “acne is commonly caused by the presence of ‘moisture’ and ‘heat’ in the body, leading to fluid buildup under the skin and redness,” explains Victor Tsan.
Heat, on the other hand, “is active and arises in nature”. In relation to our skin, Tsan notes, “this is most often related to stress and hormonal imbalances that can cause redness and inflammation.” Acupuncture for acne, Tsan explains, helps to “resolve moisture, eliminate heat and nourish the tissue in the affected area.”
Conclusion on natural treatment for acne
You can also add natural remedies for acne to your acupuncture treatment that may increase effectiveness and relieve the symptoms of acne such as sleep, relaxation, diet, homeopathic remedies, dietary supplements, stress relief, yoga, and tai chi.
At the Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic Victor Tsan, MD, Shunwey Wang, LAc, Yelena Galanter, LAc, and Adam Waldhorn, LAc successfully treat acne and in the majority of cases, the cure makes our patients happy.