Visiting the Dermatologist: A Blog

4 Effective Prescription Treatments For Adult Acne

Many teenagers suffer from acne. Often, the hormone fluctuations caused by puberty are to blame, and many cases of teenage acne go away on their own without further intervention. Unfortunately, some people may see their acne persist until well into adulthood. If you suffer from acne, you know how uncomfortable the condition can be, both physically and mentally. Over the counter treatments may work for some people, but for those with severe acne, it may not be enough. Here are four ways your dermatologist can help you if you have moderate to severe acne:

1. Birth Control

For some women, hormone fluctuations continue to cause acne throughout their adult lives. In these cases, birth control can reduce or eliminate acne. You don't need to visit your gynecologist for a birth control prescription. Dermatologists are medical doctors who can write you a prescription if they believe birth control will help. The hormones in birth control trick your body into believing it's pregnant; some women experience a corresponding reduction in acne as well.

2. Retinoids

Retinoids are prescription creams or gels that are derived from vitamin A. Unlike benzoyl peroxide which is used as a spot treatment, retinoids are applied all over the face in a thin layer. Regular retinoid use increases cellular turnover, which can stop the formation of acne. There are different types and strengths of retinoids available. Adapalene is one of the most gentle forms of retinoid which may be prescribed for moderate acne. Tretinoin is more powerful, and it can be used to tackle severe acne. When using retinoids, make sure you apply sunscreen and avoid certain cosmetic treatments, such as facial waxing, since retinoids can thin your skin.

3. Antibiotics

Sometimes acne is caused by bacterial infections. In these cases, a round of antibiotics may help clear up your acne. It's unhealthy to take antibiotics for an extended period of time, so this treatment is usually used in conjunction with other prescriptions, as well as home care. If your dermatologist thinks you can benefit from a course of antibiotics, they can write you a prescription and advise you on their use.

4. Isotretinoin

Isotretinoin is an oral medication that can be used to cure severe acne. It works by decreasing your skin's sebum production, which can lead to less acne. The changes isotretinoin makes to your body are permanent, so it can be seen as a long-term cure. You may experience dry skin and other side effects when using this medication, so your dermatologist at your dermatologist clinic will want to carefully monitor your health for the duration of your treatment.