Acne is generally considered a necessary evil of the pubescent teenage years. However, many adults also suffer from the frustration and embarrassment caused by acne. Oftentimes, older acne sufferers don’t realize there are a variety of treatment options available that can clean up their blemishes and leave behind clear, beautiful, healthy-looking skin.
While topical treatments for acne are available in every drugstore, there are limits to what over-the-counter products can do. By visiting a board certified dermatologist, adults suffering from acne can develop a customized skin care treatment plan consisting of more powerful and effective acne-fighting products than they can find in stores.
Dermatologists can prescribe one or a combination of medical-grade topical products based on your skin’s condition. Benzoyl peroxide and certain topical antibiotics can be highly effective in controlling the amount of surface bacteria on the skin, which is a common culprit of acne. Other products such as retinoids and azelaic acid can combat clogged pores and reduce inflammation and redness.
When topical products alone aren’t enough to clear adult-onset acne, there are oral medications that can be incorporated into an existing acne-fighting regimen. Dermatologists will sometimes prescribe oral antibiotics to help hinder the growth of bacteria in the skin and get breakouts under control. For female patients, birth control pills are often effective in reducing acne by balancing the irregular hormone levels that can contribute to breakouts. Accutane, a very powerful prescription acne medication, is used in severe cases where other forms of treatment are ineffective.
For particularly swollen or painful lesions, extractions and injections are ideal. A skilled dermatologist can drain blemishes of pus, oil or bacteria. Extractions not only give instant relief from pain and pressure associated with the blemish, they also allow the skin to heal faster and reduce the likelihood of a permanent acne scar.
The injection of a dilute steroid can sometimes be performed immediately following an extraction, helping to alleviate swelling and redness from the inside out. Injections can be extremely effective in eliminating lesions prior to a special event, such as a wedding or photo shoot.
Chemical peels fight acne by removing the top layers of the skin, revealing the healthier layers underneath not affected by blemishes. While these peels are relatively mild, patients should expect some redness and irritation for a few hours or days following treatment.
Acne facials can be another effective component of a patient’s customized plan to battle breakouts. These professional, in-office treatments clean, calm and purify the skin resulting in an improvement in acne and a healthy, glowing complexion.
Another in-office treatment option for acne is laser resurfacing. The Vbeam® Laser can dramatically subdue active breakouts, reduce redness and even improve acne scarring. Dermatologists typically recommend a series of three Vbeam® Laser treatments, given at 2-week intervals, for optimal results.
Active outbreaks are not the only aspect of acne that brings patients to a dermatologist’s office. Years of fighting acne can leave behind unsightly scars that cause embarrassment. The Fraxel® Dual Laser is hailed by many to be the one of the most effective ways to treat acne scarring. This innovative treatment uses fractional laser light, meaning only small spots on the skin receive the laser while portions of skin between those spots remain untouched. By preserving portions of healthy, unaffected skin in the midst of the skin that receives laser contact, the healing process of the treatment area occurs much faster than with traditional laser treatment methods.
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