Doctor Recommended Acne Treatments
Here’s the TL;DR list of standard go-to treatments that your skin doctor might recommend on your first visit and on subsequent visits for your acne. Doctor recommended acne treatments may change over time but there are certain standard treatment plans they all tend to stick to.
You might like to familiarise yourself with these treatments and what they are prescribed or recommended for so you know what’s available to you based on your budget.
I’m listing it out with as much detail as possible before your very first visit, or if you’re still deciding on a treatment option.
I’m well-acquainted with some of these as I have gone through some of them myself and nothing beats getting some advice from a fellow-sufferer of acne breakouts eh?
Doctor Recommended Active acne or Scar Treatment?
It’s important to know that acne has an active stage: fresh eruptions and new inflamed blisters, when present, indicated active acne because they are usually accompanied by inflamed skin, the treatments available are different and typically less aggressive.
Inflamed skin needs to be treated more gently to avoid exacerbating and damaging the delicate layers any further. This would rule out invasive treatments like micro-demabrasion or demabrasion.
It’s simple really — you want to get to the source of the inflammation and bacteria and deal with that before your skin begins the healing process.
Acne Scar Treatments
For scar treatments, you have several options available and these may work to get new collagen to the affected area to reduce skin craters or “holes” and to make the skin more “leveled” and smooth.
To treat skin discoloration, some options such as laser resurfacing are available.
Know Thy Enemy — Fighting Acne
Acne is actually a very common skin condition that begins as sebaceous glands are blocked and inflammation occurs.
This happens at areas of skin on your body where there is a high density of sebaceous glands. Which happens to be your face and your back where, just below the shoulder line.
Acne appears in several forms and you can identify them visually through the classic whitehead pimple, skin redness, red bumps, little areas of pus, itchiness around the nose and cheeks, blotchiness and inflammation.
Yes, it sounds pretty gross! Especially the pus part, but it’s actually the way your body deals with foreign bodies and your immune system fighting off these hostile bacteria.
The plan is simple in effectively treating active acne. You want to remove the cause of the blockages around the sebaceous glands and also make it uninhabitable for bacteria.
Oils and dirt are basically the “food source” for bacteria so we want to remove that from their dining table.
Active Acne Treatments
Cleaning your pores
Any doctor recommended acne treatment begins with physically removing the dirt and oils that build up on yours skin. Here are some of the recommended cleansers by doctors.
FACIAL CLEANSERS FOR DRY SKIN:
Many dermatologists and doctors highly recommend CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. This works especially well for dry skin.
It contains very simple and very natural ingredients that attract moisture to the skin and also to keep it locked in.
Most other facial cleansers have tend to strip all the oil off your face but don’t have safe and effective ingredients to help keep your skin moist and retain its healthy suppleness.
Another top-of-the-list face wash is the Beauty Aura 100% Pure Grapeseed Oil cleanser. It is highly-rated because it is purely natural and its lighter oil nature declogs your pores, pulls the dirt away and is absorbed into the skin so it prevents your skin from drying out.
Most people think of oil as bad for acne, but this works well because it is extremely pure and all you need is a penny sized portion applied to your skin and rinsed.
FACIAL CLEANSERS FOR OILY SKIN:
For this section, I thought I’d pick the one that gets the most backing from skin doctors. SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel is the top pick for oily skin because it has the important ingredient: salicylic acid.
It’s a premium product because of the purity of ingredients which makes it a potent weapon against acne outbreaks that happen because of oily skin.
Salicylic acid has the remarkable ability to clear up oily skin and to an almost magical-effect reduce redness and inflammation. When I used it, it really calmed my skin very quickly and it appeared less reddish within about 5 hours.
DOCTOR RECOMMENDED SPOT TREATMENTS FOR ACNE
The best otc acne treatment available is currently a 10% benzoyl peroxide. It’s best to use no more than twice a day to prevent skin irritation. This is comes in at 8oz and is extremely amazing value because its huge compared to other comparable offerings.
Highly effective against papular and pustular acne which is the “angry-looking” and inflamed type of acne.
Tea Tree Oil is known to be one of the most effective of the “herbal” or natural acne treatment solution as it is a known estrogen. What makes this a top pick is that it also contains 3% benzoyl peroxide.
Usually applied twice a day over the affected areas to dry out acne and clam down inflammation.
Comedonal Acne (little bumpy spots) is usually found on the forehead and chin and look like blackheads and respond well to Tretinion or otherwise known as Retin A.
This is applied to the affected area as a topical cream.
Cleocin (Clindamycin Phosphate)
Cleoncin gel, which contains antibiotic is also used as a spot treatment instead of benzoyl peroxide in cases where benzoyl peroxide isn’t effective.
DOCTOR RECOMMENDED ORAL ACNE TREATMENTS (REQUIRES PRESCRIPTION)
Tetracycline is usually a common broad spectrum antibiotic used to reduce the bacterial count in your body which may help with acne inflammation. I personally took a course of it but failed to have any significant impact on my acne.
Azelaic acid is known for its ability to reduce inflammation effectively and a fantastic option for acne sufferers with sensitive skin, or women having pregnancy-related acne as well as rosacea. These come as prescription based cleansers such as Azelex Cream, Finacea Gel and Finacea Foam.
Azelaic acid is also sometimes recognized under the names “heptanedicarboxylic acid” or “lepargylic acid”.
For products that you can purchase over the counter in non-prescriptive concentrations include:
Accutane / Istotretinoin treatments
For severe cases, like the one I experienced… several times. My doctor recommended the use of oral Accutane, also know as Accutane. This is a prescription drug which basically serves as a nuclear strike on almost all sorts of acne, including cystic acne.
10mg daily dose of Isotretinoin is usually prescribed for a month and it typically costs between $40-$65 for non-branded versions. The equivalent branded versions are about $70-$100 for the same course. Branded versions have been known to have more noticeable side effects such as fatique. So as with all things biological, your results may vary.
Depending on the severity of acne, your doctor may choose to prescribe Isotretinoin up to 6 months.
This actually works and has been prescribed for decades, but may put additional load on your liver. so a blood test is required with every course to ensure it doesn’t damage your organs.
There is a prescription gel called Aczone 7.5 percent with the active ingredient dapsone. This is a antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory that works effectively against whiteheads and blackheads as well as cystic acne. It typically works by drying out the area that is applied to.
Use as directed to avoid over-drying your skin.
Hormonal acne is usually addressed by the use of birth-control pills. But in cases of severe acne, the results from the use of birth-control may not be visible and doctors may choose to prescribe spironolactone.
Spironolactone is an effective androgen inhibitor that helps with reducing sebum levels on the skin. About 90 percent of women notice visible results from spironolactone treatments .
You may read more about spironolactone being used as an alternative to antibiotics here.
POST-ACNE SCAR TREATMENTS
Once your active acne has been treated and your skin heals up, it’s time to look at dealing with the undulating surface of your face and possible blemishes because of darkened spots.
Everyone has different skin and will therefore respond differently to the treatments listed so you might want to work with your doctor on a treatment that works best for you. It’s all down to individual biology!
Deep Chemical Peels
Chemical peels may cost anywhere from $600 to $1200 depending on where you’re located. They cause the surface of your skin regrow as it strips off the the top most layer of older skin, this in some sense is analogous to stripping off old paint and letting “new paint” in this case, new skin to grow in place of it.
This is pretty effective in removing decolourised blemishes on the skin. I had a friend do it and she had about a 2 week downtime because her face was really cherry red but once the redness went away it really improved her skin significantly.
Resurfacing lasers typically fall within a $600 to a couple of thousands and require about a week of healing, which means about 7 days of downtime because of redness on your face.
It’s best to go get your laser treatments done by a professionally certified dermatologist instead of your “skin spas” that are found around town.
CO2 Lasers are just one of many types of laser treatments available today. It emits a invisible energy beam that is absorbed and received by the skin, which then is burnt or vaporized as a thin layer off the surface of your skin.
The laser also stimulates collagen reproduction to occur and is known to help create thicker and smoother looking skin. Laser will now zap away scars like some advertising would like to you believe but it will aid in helping it look less visible to a certain degree.
Subcutaneous Excision / Subcision
These treatments are actual mini surgeries done on your face/skin to remove excess tissue under the skin that cause an uneven texture. By removing the excess scar tissue from under the skin, the bumps are evened out.
These are essentially rollers not too unlike your household lint-roller (that thing you use to pick up lint off your clothes.) but instead of a sticky surface it has like thousands of micro-needles.
The roller when used across the skin, pricks and punctures it with thousands of new holes and forces your body to heal the area. As a result, collagen is encouraged to fill in those thousands of newly created holes which then helps with thickening skin and encouraging new skin growth.
Be Realistic About Scar Removal
All the treatments pertaining to scars cannot completely remove scars but help to alleviate and diminish their visibility. This is a realistic expectation you should have when going in for any sort of treatment. So it helps to think of percentage point improvements as opposed to 100% clear skin.
You might want to steer clear of anyone who can promise 100% scar removal, because it’s simply an oversell to get your money.
As with all things, prevention is definitely better than cure. I’ve spoken to a few skin doctors around my city and they advocate a healthy diet and lifestyle as the best way to deal with preventing acne. Certain food groups such as coffee may stimulate oil glands which also result in acne outbreaks.
Woud You Like Acne-Free Skin For Good?
I recently wrote a review of my experience with Acne No More and I was actually astounded by the results of their step-by-step plan listed in their ebook. I recommend you read it and see how I got rid of my acne for good before you go.
I’m humbled by you taking time to read this post! I hope it has helped you understand it a little better.