While it is true that in most cases acne can be safely and effectively treated with over the counter treatments any time you have an unusual skin condition it is advisable to consult a dermatologist. The doctor can provide you with valuable advice on treating the condition even if it is only acne.
Severe acne should always be treated by a dermatologist, they can provide prescription medication that is effective at treating the more sever acne outbreaks. Moderate and mild acne can usually be treated without the advice of a doctor but even with moderate acne prescription medications may be able to treat it better and faster then over the counter solutions.
Medications for treating acne are given in one of two forms; oral or topical. In many cases the doctor will use a combination of both types to treat the outbreak. Antibiotics are frequently used to treat acne and can be provided in either form. Other topical medications will usually include ingredients such as zinc and retinoids.
The most common antibiotic for treating acne is tetracycline. It works with a dual action both killing the acne causing bacteria as well as helping to reduce the inflammation. Antibiotics are not an immediate fix and will usually have to be taken for weeks or even months before the acne clears up, you will also have to continue the antibiotic even after the acne clears up to prevent a re-occurrence. There are some side effect reported with the use of tetracycline, with extreme sensitivity to the sun being the most common one. Any one taking tetracycline needs to be very careful about exposure to sunlight to avoid severe sunburns. Some people may also experience nausea, hives and even dizziness.
Women undergoing treatment with tetracycline may notice an increase in vaginal yeast infections. Young children and pregnant women cannot take tetracycline because it can cause discoloration of growing teeth.
Ointments that contain antibiotics have a lower rate of reported side effects. These ointments will kill the bacteria and but there can be some cases of the bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotics. Combining other medications such as; benzoyl peroxide with the antibiotic lotion can greatly reduce the chance of such problems.
Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A and are usually applied directly the skin in the form of a lotion or crème. The use of topical retinoid medications is very effective in treating blackheads and whiteheads. It produces the positive results by cleaning out the pores that cause the acne; the only common side affect is dry skin.
If the acne is severe and is not responding to other treatments then an oral retinoid medication may be used. This will cause the top layer of skin to peel off which will also open the pores. The oral retinoids also cause the body to create less sebum, which also reduces the acne issues by reducing the oil on the skin.
There can be some rather serious side effects associated with using oral retinoid medications. Since they can cause serious birth defects any woman on oral retinoids should use two forms of birth control to avoid the possibility of pregnancy. They can also cause depression and liver damage so anyone using these medications must be closely monitored by their doctor.
There are some other medications that have the side effect of helping with acne. In some women birth control pills help reduce acne by changing the hormone levels and reducing the testosterone levels. Zinc can also be used to treat acne.