Facebook Pixel

Prescription Topical Treatments for Acne

By HERWriter
Rate This
Acne related image Photo: Getty Images

Acne treatment requires a balance between the right type of medications, consistent use, a gentle touch and patience. The actual cause of acne is not known but it is thought that numerous factors contribute to its development.

P. acnes is the main bacteria that grows on the skin as a result of blocked oil in the hair follicles or pores. Combined with an overproduction of cells, the effect of hormones as well as other factors leads to outbreaks of acne.

Typically over the counter products are tried first. (see http://www.empowher.com/acne/content/over-counter-topical-medications-acne) However, if not successful in clearing the acne, your dermatologist may decide to add prescription medications. Many people find combinations of therapies to work better than one alone.

Prescription topical acne products:

· Retinoids are formulations of vitamin A that work by encouraging increased cell turnover and act to prevent plugging of the hair follicle. They have names such as Retin-A, Differin, Tazorac and Trentinoin. Skin irritation and excess redness, crusted or blistered skin are possible side effects.

· Antibiotics such as Clindamycin or Erthromycin come as oral medications but also as gels or ointments that act to reduce the growth of bacteria when applied to the skin. Reports of burning are the most common side effect along with redness, dryness or itching.

· Azealic acid comes as a cream that is made up of 20 percent azealic acid and is thought to help the skin cells turnover more often and prevent build up that can clog pores. It also contributes to killing P.acnes and has some anti-inflammatory effects. Side effects are reported by acne.org as being mild with possible itching, burning and stinging.

According to mayoclinic. com, “a 20 percent azelaic acid cream seems to be as effective as many other conventional acne treatments, including 5 percent benzoyl peroxide and oral tetracycline”.

· Benzoyl peroxide can be mixed with topical antibiotics in a prescription formulation as sometimes these combinations work better.

· Dapsone is a newer prescribed 5 percent topical gel under the brand name Aczone.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Acne Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!