Treatment of acne is based on the underlying cause, severity, and the type of acne you experience. Creams known as topical retinoids and antibiotics are recommended for all people who suffer from acne.
Antibiotics can be given in the form of both topical creams and oral tablets. They work by killing the bacteria that trigger the inflammation in acne. Examples of antibiotics used for acne include:
- Dapsone 7.5% (used daily)
- Trimethoprim / Sulfamethoxazole
Topical retinoids are creams that are used to reduce inflammation in the skin, to prevent plugged pores and to improve cell turnover, which promotes healing.
Topical retinoids are always combined with Benzoyl Peroxide, to help prevent antibiotic resistance. The Benzoyl Peroxide kills some of the bacteria that lives on the skin, helping to reduce the likelihood of bacteria building up inside clogged pores.
Lifestyle changes can also help to reduce acne. It is recommended that you make the following changes:
- Low sugar diet
- Avoid junk foods
- Avoid milk or reduce your milk intake
- Use mild exfoliation products on your skin
- Wash your skin gently and avoid harsh rubbing of the skin.
Some people find the following interventions can also help their acne:
- Acne extraction: This removes debris from the pores, helping to prevent acne.
- Chemical facial peels with glycolic acid or salicylic acid: This can open the pores, making it less likely that they will become blocked.
- Light-based therapy and laser therapy: This can help to reduce scarring.
- Steroid injections: An injection is made directly into the pimple to reduce inflammation.
If acne is caused by hormonal changes in women, birth control pills may be recommended to help reduce acne. Testosterone is one of the hormones implicated in acne. Birth control pills with higher levels of estrogen and lower levels of progesterone can help the body to bind to free testosterone and prevent it from having negative effects on the skin. Birth control pills are especially useful in cases where acne is caused by PCOS. The types of birth control pills used for acne contain:
- ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate
- ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone
Aldosterone antagonists, such as Spironolactone tablets, may be given off-label if other treatments don’t work for you. How aldersterone antagonists affect acne is not entirely known, however, it is believed that it works by blocking a hormone receptor leading to a reduction in the amount of sebum produced.