Acne out of control? You may need a dermatologist
What can a dermatologist do for severe acne?
A dermatologist is a specialist in all things skin-related. That means a dermatologist has all the medical training and education needed to get to the root of your breakouts and finally find the treatments that will work for you. A dermatologist has access to a wide variety of treatments that you can’t find at the drug store, high-end cosmetics shop, or even a specialty skin care boutique online. When you have hard-to-treat acne, those are the treatments that can finally give you relief.
Prescription acne medications and treatments are available only with a licensed dermatologist. These tend to be stronger and more effective that OTC versions. If you’re thinking “acne pills,” you are partially right. Pills are only one of the many treatments for acne that a reputable dermatologist can recommend. That list also includes prescription topical creams and gels, certain types of light and laser therapy, hormonal therapy, and more.
Why go to a dermatologist for acne when you can take care of your skin at home
A good at-home skin care regimen is the foundation of effective acne treatment. But if you’ve got persistent acne, drug-store cleansers, treatments and moisturizers may not be enough to give you the clear skin you so desire. It may take prescriptions versions of the things you have on your bathroom counter to clear up your skin.
Also, caring for acne-prone skin is a skill that is best learned from a skincare expert – your dermatologist. Skin is different from one person to the next, so what works for your friend, a celebrity, or your favorite Instagram influencer may not work for you. Some common skincare mistakes we see people making often are over/under cleansing of the skin, moisturizing, exfoliating, and treating with topical creams. To save yourself a lot of time and frustration, as well preventing a poor skincare regimen from damaging your fragile skin, it’s best to develop a skin care treatment plan with your dermatologist that’s custom-tailored to your unique skin.
Acne treatments only a dermatologist can provide
Dermatologists have a wealth of acne treatments at their fingertips that you may have never heard of before. Here are some of the common dance treatments dermatologists can prescribe that you can’t find anywhere else:
Antibiotics for acne
Acne is caused by clogged pores that become infected, leading to the telltale red bumps that characterize an acne breakout. Therefore, antibiotics are a common treatment for severe acne, as they kill the bacteria the causes the infection. Acne antibiotics can be taken either topically (applied to the skin) or orally (ingested in a pill). Topical antibiotics kill the bacteria that’s on the surface of your skin, while oral antibiotics kill the bacteria that lives inside your pores.
Common antibiotics for acne include:
– Topical antibiotics for acne – Clindamycin and erythromycin
– Oral antibiotics for acne – Doxycycline and minocycline
Anti-acne laser and light treatments
Laser and light treatments for acne are gaining wide appeal, as they can visibly reduce the appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, cystic acne, and acne nodules. Different types of lasers and light therapies are used to treat each of these different kinds of acne. Light treatments and lasers are usually prescribed as part of an overall treatment plan, as they best work in concert with other treatments to produce impressive results.
Hormone therapy for acne
Women’s fluctuating hormones during different phases of the menstrual cycle can wreak havoc on the skin. Dermatologists have been prescribing birth control pills for acne for decades. Birth control pills help to treat and control acne breakouts by lowering the amount of androgens in the body. Androgens cause excess sebum (oil) production, which in turn clogs pores and contributes to the growth of bacteria that causes acne. Taking birth control pills that contain both progesterone and estrogen lowers androgen levels and decreases acne breakouts.
Corticosteroid injections for cystic acne
Many a wedding photo has been saved by an emergency trip to the dermatologist! If you need a large pimple or cystic acne nodule gone fast, a corticosteroid injection from your dermatologist can help. The needle used to inject the steroid into the pimple is much smaller than what you see when you get a flu shot. It’s only slightly larger than an acupuncture needle.
After the injection, expect your pimple to reduce in size and redness dramatically in the next 24 hours. Corticosteroid injections are not recommended for ongoing treatment of acne, but they can be very helpful for pimples that last for months and do not respond to treatment, or to shrink a breakout quickly before an important event.
Prescriptions retinoid topicals for acne
Retinoids are famous for their wrinkle-fighting powers, but did you know they’re also great for battle with blemishes? Topical retinoids work against acne by unclogging pores. This not only allows other creams and lotions to soak into the skin more effectively, but it also prevents acne in the first place by keeping pores unclogged. Common retinoids for acne include:
- Tretinoin – Retin-A and Avita
- Adapalene – Differin
- Tazarotene – Tazorac and Avage
Using retinoids for acne can cause your skin to be more sensitive, especially to the sun. When using retinoids, always apply sunscreen as part of your morning skin care ritual. Be aware that, when you first start using retinoids, your skin may feel slightly more sensitive, look more red, and even peel as your skin adjusts to the powerful retinol. This is normal, and as long as you’re not uncomfortable, it’s no reason to panic. Always use your retinol per your dermatologist’s prescription to avoid excessive irritation.
Prescription oral retinoids for acne
Accutane is well-known in the dermatological world for it’s long-term positive effects for acne sufferers. Accutane (generic name: isotretinoin) is an oral retinoid that is taken in capsule form for a pre-determined length of time, usually one or two months. Most of the time, only one course of Accutane is enough to treat cystic acne for a lifetime, though sometimes, a second course is needed. It works by decreasing the sebum production of the skin that can cause severe, cystic acne.
This is only a short sample of the many treatments that a dermatologist can prescribe for severe acne. If you’re interested in treating your acne for good, and finally enjoying the blemish-free skin you’ve always wanted, schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists today. The first step in your journey to beautiful skin starts today!
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