There are several effective treatments for acne. Your dermatologist may prescribe topical creams or lotions such as vitamin A acid or benzoyl peroxide to help unblock the pores and reduce the bacteria. There are also antibiotics that are applied to the skin. These are used in less severe cases of acne. Antibiotics taken by mouth such as tetracycline, erythromycin or minocycline are often prescribed for moderate or severe cases. The antibiotics reduce the bacteria in the follicle and may also decrease the redness directly. When taking oral antibiotics some women develop a yeast infection. Women who are taking birth control pills may notice a significant improvement in their acne, and occasionally birth control pills are used specifically for the treatment of acne. It is also important to know that oral antibiotics may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.
Another oral medication, isotretinoin is sometimes used for severe acne that has not responded to other treatments. Patients using isotretinoin must thoroughly understand the side effects of this drug. Frequent follow-up visits are necessary to monitor side effects. Prevention of pregnancy is a must, since the drug causes severe birth defects if taken during pregnancy.
Don't pick, scratch, pop or squeeze pimples yourself. When the pimples are squeezed, more redness, swelling, inflammation and scarring may result.
Control of acne is an ongoing process. All acne treatments work by preventing new acne. Existing blemishes must heal on their own. Improvement takes time. If your acne has not improved after 6 to 8 weeks, your dermatologist may need to change your treatment.