Acne Treatment Options and Medications

When it comes to acne treatment and medications, many people have a drawn-out experience of trial and error. Sometimes the $7 spot treatment from the local pharmacy will clear a pimple, but sometimes it won’t. For most, the process of finding an acne treatment that works is both tiring and expensive. The below overview is designed to walk you through some of the most used acne medications, both topical and oral, as well as other useful acne-fighting tactics. If you’re still unsure which medication will work for you, make an appointment at one of our Minnesota clinics. We can make personalized recommendations to clear your skin.


Common Acne Medications

While there are several types of acne treatments, those listed below are among the most common in both topical and oral medications.

  • Retinoids: Retinoids are used popularly in topical acne medications. Derived from vitamin A, this ingredient prevents hair follicle clogging and encourages new cell growth. This ingredient is a great option for adults with acne because it can also reduce the appearance of fine lines.
  • Acids: Salicylic, glycolic, hyaluronic, and lactic acid are common ingredients in topical acne medications. They can reduce the chance that a pore is clogged and promote new skin growth. Additionally, acids can help kill bacteria on the face that may cause future breakouts.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are a common form of topical and oral acne medication. These drugs work to kill the bacteria that creates acne-causing inflammation. A doctor’s prescription will be necessary to try this acne medication.
  • Isotretinoin: This is a powerful acne-fighting drug used for people who have severe acne. It is the active ingredient in Accutane, a popular medication. While this is a very effective acne treatment, the side effects can be serious.

If you’re still struggling to find an acne treatment that works for you, visit one of our Minneapolis-area offices. We can make recommendations based on your blemishes, skin, and lifestyle. In some cases, we can also open the door to a variety of prescription-only medications, many of which will be more effective than those found at the local pharmacy.


Topical Acne Treatments

Topical acne medications are the first choice for most patients and dermatologists. These can come in the form of creams, lotions, gels, and spot treatments, and they are widely available. Users do not need a prescription for these products, which means they are very accessible, but they may not be as powerful as a doctor-recommended medication. The ways in which these products work will vary by the active ingredients used, but most utilize a combination of retinoids and acids. Side effects are generally minimal and include redness, dryness, and photosensitivity. Topical antibiotic treatments may be available with a prescription, but you will need to visit the doctor to discuss the possible treatment option. Learn more about topical acne medications and how to choose the right product for your acne symptoms.


Oral Acne Treatments

While topical acne treatments will generally work for a routine breakout, oral acne treatments may be required for cystic or other types of severe acne. These treatments are ingested, typically through a pill, and will require several weeks to take effect. But while it may take longer for these medications to make a difference, oral acne medications are generally very effective.

Most oral acne treatments will require a trip to the doctor, as you will need to obtain a prescription. Learn about your different oral acne treatment options at Zel Skin & Laser Specialists.


Other Acne Treatment

When a pimple appears, most of us are used to the process of visiting a pharmacy to find a new cleanser or spot treatment, typically with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. The most impatient among us might go ahead and pop the blemish before it has a chance to heal.

Popping acne lesions should be avoided as much as possible. By attempting an at-home acne extraction, you risk introducing additional bacteria to the pore. This can cause additional inflammation, redness, and, in some cases, infection. If necessary, patients should seek out a professional acne extraction, which is conducted in a sterile medical environment.

When to Seek Professional Treatment

Curing acne can take patience, resources, and a lot of trial and error. If your acne is not responding to the pharmacy treatments you’ve been trying, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. Rather than trying every acne treatment in the skin care aisle of your local pharmacy, let us point you in the right direction. After gathering a history of your acne, we can create a personalized treatment plan that considers both your skin type and lifestyle. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.