Acne – Effective Treatment Options
More than 50 million people suffer from the effects of acne and I frequently see patients who have tried over-the-counter remedies without achieving satisfactory results. In a recent interview I participated in with Dr. Adam Rubenstein on his talk show “New Reflections” I highlighted some of the most effective treatments for acne. Listen to the full broadcast.
When a patient seeks treatment, I first evaluate what treatment therapy they have used prior to seeing me. I then assess the cause of the acne, which can vary from patient to patient. Inflammation, dead skin cells, clogged pores, oil production and bacteria usually cause acne. Stress and hormonal changes as well as diet are also contributing factors in acne breakouts.
Many patients have utilized over the counter treatments, such as Proactiv, which contain benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid, two active ingredients that reduce the level of bacteria in the pores and work to slough off dead skin cells to keep the skin fresh. These over the counter products are quite affective for some acne sufferers, but I usually see patients when they need a prescription strength dosage of these active ingredients.
Treatments are always tailored to the needs of the patient, but I prefer a combination of two therapies – usually topical prescription strength treatments such as Benzaclin. Studies have shown that this approach is most effective in reducing the level of bacteria in pores that are responsible for production of chemicals that produce acne.
If a patient does not respond to topical treatment, I may prescribe oral medication such as minocycline. Acne will usually require a 3-5 year treatment regimen and I prefer not to prescribe oral antibiotics for extended periods of time. However, oral antibiotics provide results in 3-4 weeks and I will re-evaluate a patient’s course of treatment every 2-3 months in an effort to curtail the use of oral antibiotics.
Although 98% of my patients experience no noticeable side effects, some may report headaches or dizziness.
I have had tremendous success with Accutane in the treatment of acne; in fact it is probably my favorite treatment option as many of my patients consider it to be a lifesaver because the results are dramatic. However, Accutane has received some bad press as a result of its potential to cause birth defects if a patient gets pregnant or is pregnant during the use of this treatment.
As a means of educating the public regarding the potential side effects of Accutane use, the FDA initiated a protocol about five years ago that requires all who are taking, dispensing or prescribing Accutane to register online as a precaution and to assure that anyone using Accutane is aware of potential for birth defects.
Additionally, a patient who uses Accutane should not have a surgical procedure for 6-12 months after its use since the skin is more fragile and may not heal optimally after surgery.
We’ve come a long way in the treatment of acne and I am pleased to say that you needn’t suffer from this skin disorder. Effective treatments are available.
Dr. Hevia, cosmetic dermatologist in Miami, has extensive experience treating acne and can help you fight off unwanted acne through modern methods.