Before we discuss the topical treatments for acne we have to note down the effects we desire from those treatments. The desired results in acne treatment are- reduce inflammation, open the closed pores, kill the bacteria and reduce the oil. To get these results the following topical treatments are generally used:
The most common medicine that has been used since long to treat acne has been benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide performs three main functions - it removes excess oil, unclogs the closed pores and kills the bacteria. Benzoyl Peroxide is available in form of cream or gel and can cause excessive dryness because it removes oil, can some times also cause redness and some swelling. Because of these possible side effects do not use more than recommended dose of benzoyl peroxide.
This is commonly used to treat non-inflammatory acne. Salicylic acid corrects the abnormal shedding of skin cells that block the pore openings. Salicylic Acid does not kill the bacteria nor reduces the sebum production. It helps unclog the pores. It can be effectively used to treat whiteheads and blackheads.
Sulfur and Resorcinol
They are commonly used in combination and help unclog the blocked pores and reduce excess oil. This combination can treat white heads and blackheads. It may also cause peeling of skin and redness.
Alcohol and Acetone
Alcohol is a mild antimicrobial agent and acetone is a solvent that cleanses dirt and oil. This combination can be used to treat mild form of acne.
Azelaic acid reduces the bacteria P.acnes and helps reduce the abnormal shedding of dead skin cells. It reduces inflammation by these two actions. Azelaic acid is used to treat mild and moderate acne. Azelaic acid can produce some dryness and lighten the skin where it is applied. Otherwise it is well tolerated by most people.
Antibiotics such as Clindamycin, Erythromycin and Sodium sulfacetamide are used to reduce the population of inflammation causing bacteria P.acnes. Prolonged use of Antibiotics can produce resistance in the body. It is important to use antibiotics as directed by your doctor. Most of the topical antibiotics do not have any side effects except dryness or irritation. You should report these to your doctor.
Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives and are very effective in treatment of mild to moderate acne. Topical retinoid formulations may contain active ingrdients such as Adapalene, Tazarotene and Tretinoin. Topical retinoids clear the clogged pores and have anti-inflammatory properties. Another advantage of using topical retinoids is that they help remove fine lines and wrinkles. Topical retinoids may produce skin irritation. They should be strictly used under medical supervision as some of them such as Tazarotene have shown birth defects in animal trials.
This article is only for informative purposes. This article is not intended to be a medical advise and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor for your medical concerns. Please follow any tip given in this article only after consulting your doctor. The author is not liable for any outcome or damage resulting from information obtained from this article.