In general, acne can be managed with preventative steps taken in a good skin care regimen. However, some cases require medical intervention. A variety of treatment options, from over-the-counter cleansers to surgery, are available. Over-the-counter products are generally used to remove excess oil and bacteria and work very well on cases of light acne. If skin does not respond to over-the-counter products, topical prescription treatments such as Avita or Retin-A may be recommended. Antibiotics can also be prescribed in certain cases to kill bacteria that is leading to the inflammation. For deep scarring cysts, oral antibiotics may be ineffective. In these cases Isotretinoin is prescribed. Reserved for the most severe cases of acne, this very strong medication comes with side-effects that should be discussed with a physician prior to treatment. Laser and light therapy procedures target the sebaceous glands directly. This damages the glands resulting in decreased oil production. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion have also been used with some success at reducing acne. These same procedures have also been used to reduce scars left by the condition.

Recent Debates and Developments

While current acne treatments generally focus on removing bacteria from the skin, a new study shows that some bacteria may actually be beneficial in the prevention of acne. The bacterium that causes acne, Propionibacterium acnes, has been found to be more complicated that previously realized. In fact, scientists say there are three strains of Propionibacterium acnes. Two of the strains cause acne, while the third is found on the skin of acne free patients. It is hoped that further study will enable scientists to use the beneficial bacteria strain to develop treatment options that discourage the growth of the acne causing strains.

More information

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