What Are the Available Types of Acne Treatment?
Dermatologists and Skin Care Data Verified

Acne Treatment - Types, Side Effects, and More

Published on Mar 30, 2019 and last reviewed on Feb 16, 2023   -  5 min read


Acne results from blocked hair follicles. Oil, dust, and dead skin cells on the outside of your skin block your pores and cause pimples.

Acne Treatment - Types, Side Effects, and More


Acne results from blocked hair follicles. Oil, dust, and dead skin cells on the outer surface of the skin block the pores and cause pimples. The primary goal of the treatments focuses on cleaning up microorganisms and evaporating the excess oils that lead to acne. Different acne treatments incorporate lifestyle cures, topical prescriptions, oral medicine, and therapeutic techniques.

The treatment depends on the severity of the condition. If an individual is having mild to moderate acne, for example, whiteheads or clogged pores, the treatment should be moderately simple. But, if an individual is having cystic acne, this might need additional testing. Cystic acne causes big, painful, and red blisters under the skin. The consulting doctor or dermatologist can diagnose the type of acne an individual has.

How to Treat Acne With Lifestyle Changes?

Numerous people with mild acne or pimples can improve their condition with lifestyle changes. Oil is a noteworthy cause of acne, so it is very crucial to keep the face clean and the hair away from it. This is highly important if the hair is generally very oily. Oil from the hair and face additionally develop on the bedding. Changing the pillowcase every day or weekly helps prevent this development.

Wash the face a few times every day with tepid water (moderately warm) and a delicate chemical that is not drying. Try not to scrub the skin excessively, as this can damage it. Additionally, do not use unhealthy skin items like scented moisturizers or oil-based cosmetics. Pick lotions and sunscreens that are marked "non-comedogenic." This implies the item will not block the skin pores.

These changes can go a long way in helping to settle mild acne. If an individual needs something more suitable, the doctor may propose topical or oral medicine.

How to Treat Acne With Topical Medications?

Topical medications are ointments, gels, and creams that have to apply to the skin. This ointment has to be applied in a very small quantity, usually a very little coat on the skin before going to bed and after waking up in the morning. Some are accessible over-the-counter, and others require a prescription.

OTC (over-the-counter) acne treatment items contain Salicylic acid or Benzoyl peroxide. These substances diminish the quantity of oil the body produces and fight aggravation. These effects help treat existing problems and keep new ones from forming.

Prescription topical drugs can help when OTC medicines are not sufficient. These acne gels or creams may contain Tretinoin, a more grounded form of Benzoyl peroxide, or an anti-toxin called Clindamycin. These medicines kill microorganisms that cause acne. You can also find solutions and treatment in minutes without leaving home, through online video consultation.

How to Treat Acne With Oral Medications?

Oral medications for acne are called foundational treatments because they are consumed throughout the entire body. They are only available on a prescription from the doctor. These medications are ordinarily used to treat moderate to extreme acne that does not respond to topical medications. The three kinds of drugs used to treat acne include:

1. Antibiotics:

The doctor may recommend antibiotics that a patient might have to take every day. It can help fight microorganisms and diseases from the inside out. Anti-toxins are generally used with topical medicine when gels and creams alone do not improve the condition.

2. Birth Control Pills:

Controlling hormone levels can help improve acne for certain ladies. However, they should not use birth control pills during pregnancy. In case of acne during pregnancy, the concerned doctor should be contacted to prevent breakouts.

3. Isotretinoin:

Isotretinoin is a congenital disabilities medication in the retinoid family. It prevents the sebaceous glands from secreting excess oil. It likewise controls skin cell turnover with the goal that the cells do not hinder the arrival of microbes and an abundance of oil from the pores. Isotretinoin is for the most part held for people with extreme cystic acne. The doctor may recommend it when other acne drugs have not worked. However, the side effects can be extreme, so it is not for everybody.

What Are the Procedures to Treat Acne?

In spite that it is not recommended as regularly as a prescription, a couple of medical approaches might be used to treat serious acne. These procedures can all regularly be performed in the doctor's office. They might be agonizing and at times cause scarring. Medical coverage plans do not generally cover them, either. The patient should affirm that the medical coverage will cover these procedures before planning them. These procedures are listed below:

1. Extraction:

During extraction, the doctor will physically debride vast sores that form under the skin. They expel liquids, dust, discharge, and dead skin inside the pore to lessen disease and agony. The doctor may inject anti-toxins or asteroids into the pore to speed mending and decrease the danger of scarring.

2. Laser Therapy:

Laser therapy may likewise help improve acne contamination. Laser light lessens the measure of microorganisms on the skin that causes acne.

3. Compound Strips and Microdermabrasion:

Compound strips and microdermabrasion evacuate the outermost layer of the skin. All the while, whiteheads, and clogged pores are additionally expelled.

What Are the Treatment for Acne During Pregnancy?

Nearly everybody encounters acne at some time. It is most regular among adolescents. However, grown-ups can have breakouts sometimes, particularly during pregnancy. However, pregnant ladies with acne might not have many treatment choices like others.

The majority of medications used to treat acne in teenagers and grown-ups are not advisable to use during pregnancy. Topical retinoids are class C drugs. This implies that they are unsafe to the developing baby if given in substantial sums. Pregnant women are advised to check with the doctor before using Tretinoin.

Isotretinoin and antibiotic medication can hurt an embryo. Isotretinoin has been connected with birth imperfections, and antibiotic medication can stain the unborn child's teeth. It is advisable not to use both of them during pregnancy. The acne medicines that can be used during pregnancy are the ones that contain Benzoyl peroxide.

What Are the Side Effects of Acne Treatments?

Side effects of acne treatments depend upon the technique that has been picked and the quality of the medicine. The side effects are described below:

  • For topical acne sedates, the most widely recognized side effects are skin dryness and discomfort. Luckily, these side effects are brief. They frequently improve as the body becomes accustomed to the drug. If the skin tingles or strips vigorously, the doctor should be informed.

  • The potential side effects of oral medications can be progressively genuine. Anti-toxins can cause stomach upset or make a patient disoriented.

  • If a patient is likewise taking birth control pills, they should use a backup contraception technique. A few antitoxins diminish how well conception prevention pills shield a patient from pregnancy. If patients are using conception prevention pills to deal with acne, they should be aware of their side effects which include blood clots and hypertension.

  • Oral Isotretinoin can cause extreme side effects, particularly if a woman ends up pregnant while taking it. Extreme birth defects have been accounted for in children whose moms took Isotretinoin during pregnancy. The medicine can likewise build the danger of discouragement and self-destructive contemplations and also influence cholesterol levels and liver capacity.

When to See the Doctor?

Acne is a truly treatable condition. At the point when essential lifestyle changes do not appear to work, attempt the least intrusive treatment. If a patient needs something more grounded, a meeting with the doctor should be planned. They will evaluate the acne and recommend subsequent stages for treatment. Propelled therapeutic research is finding better approaches to battle this disease.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Best Treatment For Acne?

Benzoyl peroxide, an antiseptic, is used to reduce the bacteria on the skin. It also helps reduce the number of white and blackheads. In addition, it acts as an anti-inflammatory effect. It is applied as cream or gel. It is used once or twice a day.


What Are the Different Types of Treatment For Acne?

The most common topical medications used for acne are retinoids and retinoid-like drugs. These drugs are often helpful in cases of moderate acne. In some cases, antibiotics are also used. Antibiotics kill excess bacteria and help in reducing redness and inflammation. Azelaic acid and salicylic acid are also used. Dapsone is used as an antifungal medication.


What Are the Side Effects of Medication For Acne?

The side effects of acne medication are that skin becomes dry, flaky, or peeling. In addition, skin becomes red and inflamed. In some cases, the patient experiences an upset stomach, dizziness, lightheadedness, and increased sensitivity to the sun.


What Foods Lead to Acne?

Some foods can cause acne, so the quality of the diet is essential. Foods that are known to cause acne include refined grains and sugars, fat-loaded dairy products, and excess fast food. Foods rich in omega-6 fats, chocolate, and whey protein powder also cause acne.


How to Get Acne-Free Skin?

Specific tips can reduce acne. These include washing the face twice a day, using a mild cleanser, using moisturizer, exfoliating skin periodically, and applying an acne-fighting agent. Other proven tips are to get plenty of sleep and hydrate yourself.


What Is the Permanent Treatment For Acne?

Isotretinoin is a potent medicine. It attacks the main reasons for acne. It kills bacteria, clears clogged pores, removes excess oil, and reduces inflammation (redness and swelling). However, most patients see permanent results after one course of isotretinoin.


How Does Acne Stop?

Acne starts during puberty between the ages of ten and thirteen. This acne worsens with oily skin. Acne seen in the teenage usually lasts for five to ten years. These usually fade away during the early 20s. It occurs in both sexes.


Does Treatment Lead to More Acne?

Many acne medications make acne worse. For example, topical medications make small bumps more pronounced. In other cases, medication, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, when used in excess, may cause more breakouts.


What Are the Causes of Acne on the Face?

Acne develops when an oily substance (sebum) plugs into dead skin cells and hair follicles of the face. Sebum helps in the lubrication of hair and skin. In addition, bacteria trigger inflammation and infection resulting in more severe acne.


Can Acne Medication Cause Hair Loss?

Acne medications such as Isotretinoin (Accutane) and Tretinoin (Retin-A) can cause hair loss. Because of the association with other serious side effects, a person should discuss other options with a dermatologist.


How does Hormonal Acne Occur?

Hormonal acne occurs in adulthood and ranges from blackheads and whiteheads to painful cysts. Due to hormonal changes in the body, sebum (an oily substance in skin glands) overproduction occurs, which clogs pores, leading to pimples.


Is Acne a Disease?

Usually, acne is not an acute disease but a continuously changing disease in its distribution and severity. Therefore, acne treatment is necessary for many months and sometimes takes years. Despite treatment, acne may cause scarring and associated adverse psychological effects.


Can Stress Cause Acne?

Stress can not be directly related to acne. But if a person already has acne, stress can make it worse. In addition, it is seen that wounds, including acne, are much slower in healing when stressed.


What Is the Treatment to Remove Scars?

Home skin care routines help remove acne scars. In addition, sunscreen can help limit the scar. Soft tissue fillers and steroid injections are also helpful. Other measures such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, and skin needling are also helpful.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
16 Feb 2023  -  5 min read




Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

How do I get rid of marks on my face post chicken pox?

Query: Hello doctor, I am 18 years old. I had chicken pox before one and a half month. After the chicken box was gone, I had some scars. So I went to a dermatologist to give me a medicine to clear the scars, he gave me new gel E. I had some pimples on my forehead so he advised and wrote for me a face wash...  Read Full »

Adult Acne: A Common Problem

Article Overview: Adult acne is more common nowadays with changes in lifestyle and the use of various cosmetic products. The treatment of adult acne is a challenge for many dermatologists, and it is also frustrating for the patients. Understanding the cause of adult acne helps establish a better strategy for preventing and treating adult acne. Read Article

Sreelakshmi. S
Sreelakshmi. S

Introduction: Acne starts when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores. Some people call it blackheads, blemishes, whiteheads, pimples, or cysts. However, acne breakout is usually considered to result from clogged pores, a buildup of sebum, and, most commonly, a bacterial infection. What Are the ...  Read Article

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Acne or Microdermabrasion?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.