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Acne Treatment Information
Regular skin cleaning and use of over-the-counter (OTC) formulations of benzoyl peroxide can effectively control some minor cases of acne. This medication dries the skin, reducing the amount of oil that becomes trapped in hair follicles. This reduces bacteria growth and inflammation.
When OTC medications do not work, your IU Health dermatologist can treat you with more powerful medications. A common first step in acne treatment is the use of prescription-strength retinoids. These drugs help decrease oil and decrease the plugging and inflammation of hair follicles associated with acne.
If your acne doesn’t respond well to benzoyl peroxide and retinoids, your physician may treat you with antibiotics. These help kill the bacteria that cause inflammation in plugged follicles. The next step in treatment is isotretinoin, a naturally occurring derivative of vitamin A that is an excellent medicine for controlling particularly severe or resistant acne. This medication dries the skin and reduces or eliminates acne lesions. Your dermatologist will typically prescribe isotretinoin for several months and then stop the treatment. Many times this treatment breaks the cycle of acne development and enables you to control your acne with ordinary cleaning and OTC medications.
Nearly all acne responds to Accutane; however, it can cause side effects, including dry skin, muscle aches and psychological disorders. A dangerous side effect for women is severe birth defects in babies carried while taking Accutane. Because of this side effect, women taking Accutane must commit to using two forms of birth control.
Acne Locations & Physicians
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Acne Support Services
Learn more about acne and how to manage it. These websites provide information to help you talk more effectively with your physician.
A Sampling of Acne Support Services
American Academy of Dermatology
The AAD provides concise information about acne, with special emphasis on women who have acne that persists past the teen years.
This website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine features detailed information about acne, including links to specialized information about aspects of acne and its treatment.