There are many adult acne treatments available. Acne does tend to diminish naturally with time, but treatments can also fight it quite effectively in the meantime. Contacting a doctor about adult acne is generally only necessary in severe cases and in cases of mild or moderate acne that refuse to go away with the application of various and persistent self-treatments.
Adult Acne Treatments Detailed
One of the more popular adult acne treatments for mild to moderate acne is benzoyl peroxide, which is available over the counter. It tends to be effective, though not for everybody, and can cause slight side effects like dryness or redness of the skin, especially if more than the recommended amount is used. Heightened sensitivity to sunlight can also occur, so to avoid sunburns it can be a good idea to accompany benzoyl peroxide treatment with the wearing of sunscreen when encountering sun exposure. Another downside of benzoyl peroxide is that it can stain fabrics like clothing and pillow cases. Higher concentrations of benzoyl peroxide in treatments tend not to be much more effective than lower concentrations, but there can be a higher chance of side effects with higher concentrations. Benzoyl peroxide use is often accompanied by the use of separate moisturizers to combat skin dryness.
One of the very common adult acne treatments used to combat mild to moderate acne is the use of a mild skin cleanser along with washing the face or taking a shower daily that is followed by benzoyl peroxide treatment after the skin is dried. Benzoyl peroxide paste tends to be applied generally to areas exhibiting acne for cases of moderate acne and to specific spots of acne incidence for mild acne. Once the benzoyl peroxide is given a chance to dry, the next step in the regimen is to apply a moisturizer that does not clog pores to areas treated with benzoyl peroxide, as overly dry skin is a common side effect of benzoyl peroxide. Sunscreen is then applied in addition if the person applying the regiment plans on experiencing much sun exposure that day, as sunburns can be the result of increased sun sensitivity caused by benzoyl peroxide, and sunburns can worsen acne.
Antibiotics and Anti-Inflammatory Treatments
One of the most common adult acne treatments for more severe cases of acne is prescription antibiotics, though taking the same antibiotic for too long can lead to it being less effective. These antibiotics might be taken either topically or orally, and include clindaymycin, erythromycin, dapsone, trimethoprim, amoxicillin, cefadroxil and antibiotics of the tetracycline class, with minocycline and doxycycline being common examples. Potential side effects of these antibiotics are sun sensitivity and gastrointestinal upset. Severe acne in female patients can also be treated with prescription hormonal therapies like drospirenone. There are also anti-inflammatory treatments for different cases of acne ranging from mild to severe. Mandelic acid is a prescription anti-inflammatory therapy for moderate acne, and so is the combination of the anti-inflammatory ibuprofen with tetracycline antibiotics. A prescription anti-inflammatory treatment for severe acne is nicotinamide, which is Vitamin B3 in a topical gel form. There is also alpha hydroxyl acid, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, resorcinol and sulfur.
There are also prescription topical and oral retinoids available for severe adult acne treatments. Retinoids are forms of Vitamin A used in medicine. Topical retinoids include tretinoin, adapalene and tazarotene, known by the names Retin-A, Differin and Tazorac, respectively. These are treatments that tend to be effective in many people but can also cause the side effects of skin irritation and redness of the skin, along with increased sun sensitivity. Moisturizers are also often used along with topical retinoids, as is the case with benzoyl peroxide. A prescription treatment for extremely severe acne is the oral retinoid isotretinoin, which is also known by the name Accutane. A common treatment regimen is daily oral intake for a period of many months. It is effective in most patients, but dermatologists must closely monitor the course of treatment as side effects are common and serious side effects are possible. The most common side effects are dry skin and nosebleeds, and liver damage is possible as a severe side effect. Accutane is not taken by pregnant women or women who may become pregnant, since it can be associated with birth defects. Heavy-duty moisturizers are often used in combination with Accutane to deal with the dry skin.
Laser Surgery and Light Therapy
Acne scars are harder to treat than acne itself, but there is a cosmetic treatment option called dermabrasion available to reduce the appearance of severe scarring. This involves sanding the skin away to physically remove the scars, and tends to be a painful procedure. Abraded skin is red and raw and takes a period of months to heal. Laser surgery is used in this acne scarring treatment, and laser surgery can also be used to treat mild to moderate cases of acne itself. Skin dryness is also a concern as a potential side effect. Laser surgery is a cosmetic treatment that is not prescription but does tend to be expensive. There is also intense violet and red light therapy that is not prescription and can be used for mild to moderate cases of acne. This type of light therapy is available with the use of special devices and is one of the more effective among the adult acne treatments.
Other Adult Acne Treatments
Other therapies for acne include regular exercise, activities that reduce stress and a diet that is low in sugar and other refined grains. These lifestyle activities can reduce cases of acne of differing severities to differing degrees depending on the person. Psychological therapy can also help with the self-esteem issues that are sometimes caused by severe cases of acne. Tea tree oil and aloe vera can also help with acne, with tea tree oil being generally superior to benzoyl peroxide in not causing excessive drying of the skin as a side effect. Another action that can be helpful in dealing with acne is the cessation of using cosmetics or hair care products that are excessively greasy or oily, or comedogenic. Misuse of steroids and other hormones can also exacerbate acne, and excessive humidity or sweating can also worsen it. Other lifestyle activities that can help with acne include cleaning the skin every day with mild soap that does not dry out the skin and not scrubbing the skin or washing it constantly. Shampooing hair and keeping too much oily hair from touching the face can also help. Acne should not be touched too much, as this can worsen it, and touching the skin overmuch can also lead to more acne. Tight hats and clothing should be avoided, and cosmetics should be removed every day. Sun exposure can also help, but sunburns are harmful.
More Acne Treatments
Be sure to eat a nutritious diet, be properly hydrated and get sufficient sleep as well. As far as skin care products go, mild exfoliation can be helpful with acne as well, and so can gentle astringents or toners. Wearing clean clothing and sleeping with clean sheets and clean pillow cases can also be indirectly helpful in acne treatment. Acne can also be a sign of zinc deficiency, so it is important to get the proper amount of zinc in the diet, which means not too little and not too much. Avoiding shaving irritation can also reduce acne incidence in shaved areas. There are many adult acne treatments.