By: Jeremy Green
Acne is one of the most common conditions we see at our dermatology practice in Miami and Manhattan. Having suffered through pretty severe acne as a teenager, I can relate to the profound impact it has on both teenagers and adults. Fortunately, there are a number of medications and treatments that can help us stop acne in its tracks.
Over the counter ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are comedolytic, meaning they break up blackheads. Some prescription products are combinations of our favorite anti-acne ingredients, which translates to less frequent application, something that is especially helpful with our younger patients. One of my favorite classes of medications is the retinoid family. Medications that contain these vitamin A derivatives include tretinoin, adapalene, Atralin®, Differin®, Retin-A, Tazorac®, and Epiduo®. I really like this class for my adult patients because it helps to reverse sun damage, providing an added cosmetic benefit.
When acne is resistant to topical products, or patients come in with moderate to severe acne that causes scarring, we turn to systemic medications such as oral antibiotics. For women, we may prescribe medications that oppose the effect of hormones on oil glands–birth control pills or spironolactone. Isotretinoin, or Accutane, is an option for the most severe scarring patients. It saved me from permanent scarring, and it can be effective and safe when utilized properly.
Lastly there are laser and light options for both active acne and acne scarring. In-office blue light treatments can reduce the number of inflammatory lesions (i.e. bumps and pustules). We are fortunate to have the Palomar Acleara™, a device that combines light and suction to help clear acne lesions. Consult with one of us today, it would be our pleasure to help guide you through the numerous options to speed your way to a clear complexion.