Acne can appear when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. The bacteria, P. acnes contributes to acne eruptions and frequently reappears on the skin even after treatment. Acne can be a frustrating condition to treat as it may take a number of weeks to see improvement.
Acne treatments work by either reducing oil production, increasing removal of dead skin, fighting bacteria and/or reducing inflammation. Often a multiple therapy approach is used but topical treatments are usually the first place to start.
Some topical treatments can be purchased over the counter as listed below. If those do not provide enough success then consult with a dermatologist. Perhaps a prescription strength versions or the addition of another therapy will help.
You may not see results for the first couple of weeks, but if after four to eight weeks there still is no improvement then would be time to discuss the next option with your dermatologist.
Over the counter topical treatments:
· Benzoyl peroxide: Most widely used anti-bacterial product for the use of acne and comes as a cream, gel or bar of soap form. Benzoyl peroxide acts to kill P.acnes and has both a drying and anti-inflammatory effect. It comes in an over the counter and prescription strength. According to acne.org, the 2.5 percent strength is just as effective as higher concentrations and has fewer side effects.
The main side effects are dryness and irritation. About 3 percent of the population is allergic to benzoyl peroxide. Use caution as it bleaches towels and clothing if it comes in contact. To read more: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601026.html
· Salicylic acid: Often comes in pad form such as with Stridex pads or as a wash. Acts to slow down the shedding of the dead skin cells to prevent clogging of the hair follicles. To read more: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a607072.html
· Sulfur: Has been used in acne treatment for thousands of years. It comes as a wash, soap or cream and can be found in products such as Clearasil. Sulfur acts to increase skin drying and causes peeling.