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Acne Treatments

Acne, a disorder affecting most teenagers and young adults, is a skin condition caused by the over secretion of oily sebum from the skin's sebaceous glands. Sebum and dead skin cells clump and clog pores, which then become infected with the P. Acnes bacteria for which Acne is named. The infected pores are often red and swollen, and, in some cases, can rupture and cause scarring. Fortunately, today there are many highly effective treatments.

Mild Acne

To fight acne, wash your face once or twice daily with a good facial cleanser to clean your face of dead skin and oil. Different types of cleansers are for different skin types. For drier skin, try cleansers with a built in moisturizer. If you have greasier skin, consider a cleanser with salicylic acid to help dry it out. Exfoliants can help because they remove the dead skin cells that can later clog pores. If you are using an exfoliant, remember to moisturize afterwards to prevent excessive drying of your skin.

Retin-A, or tretinoin, is a Vitamin-A derivative and the treatment of choice if you have significant numbers of blackheads or whiteheads. It works by increasing your skin cell turnover rate in order to promote purging of the plugged material in pores. It also decreases the amount of new whiteheads and blackheads.

Moderate Acne

Benzoyl peroxide is one of the oldest and most frequently used treatments for acne. It is a topical antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, generally used in combination with either tretinoin or a topical antibiotic .

Topical antibiotics are excellent treatments for mild and moderate acne. They kill the bacteria that actually cause acne, decreasing the number and severity of blemishes. They will not help with whiteheads or blackheads, however. Topical antibiotics come in many forms: liquids are generally stronger than gels, which are generally stronger than creams. Gels and liquids are generally more effective for people with oily skin because they contain alcohol; creams are preferred for people with drier skin because they offer more moisturization.

Severe Acne

For severe acne, when there is significant discomfort or risk of scarring, highly effective oral antibiotics are available. These can take up to a few months to see their full effects but can completely cure some sufferers.

One such medicine is Acutane (isotretinoin),which decreases the size of the sebaceous glands. Though extremely effective, acutane also has many side-effects and is only available through prescription. Alternatively, there is laser treatment, in which a pulsed dye laser is used to vaporize the acne-causing bacteria.

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