Acne is not solely problematic for teens. Half of all women in their twenties face sporadic bouts of acne, and a quarter of forty-somethings still fight acne while keeping up with their Botox treatments, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Topical drugstore preparations may help shorten the lifespan of an isolated blemish, but such tools are limited. Benzoyl peroxide and alcohol are the chief active ingredients in most over-the-counter creams. For some troubled skin, these two ingredients cause as many skin problems as they solve. An oil-reducing skin treatment may work for a teen with overactive sebum glands, but drying agents are a poor fit for more mature skin. It’s counterproductive to seek age-defying skin treatments while parching the skin to reduce the severity of breakouts. Desiccated skin reveals all its fine lines, aging even younger skin beyond its time.
Just as a mechanic with only two tools cannot hope to restore a car to perfect condition, over-the-counter acne products cannot restore healthy skin. Dermatologists have a wealth of tools at their disposal. They combat acne with topical preparations, prescription medications and even injections of anti-inflammatory cortisone to end a painful pimple’s life quickly. Taking a multi-faceted approach to fighting acne pays off in the form of shorter, less severe breakouts.
A doctor can prescribe topical acne products containing antibiotics to kill the bacteria that cause acne. Prescription creams such as tretinoin and adapalene are more effective against acne than their drugstore counterparts. Oral medications help clear acne systemically instead of topically. Painful cystic acne succumbs quickly to cortisone injections or draining to relieve the pressure. Laser treatments and dermabrasion may help some cases of acne as well as restoring a smoother surface to previously troubled skin once the acne disappears. Dermatologists can also work with other doctors to adjust medications that might worsen acne such as birth control pills or steroids.
Other conditions such as rosacea or folliculitis mimic acne’s appearance but require different treatment. Only a qualified dermatologist can diagnose a skin condition correctly and provide appropriate treatment, so it is vital to seek dermatological advice for any sudden rash or breakout. Trying an over-the-counter acne regimen to heal a skin problem other than acne could exacerbate the irritation and discomfort of the condition.
Healthy skin means more than simply being acne-free; a doctor’s care ensures that once the blemishes disappear, the skin beneath is vibrantly healthy. Injections of Botox or cosmetic fillers reduce the appearance of deep acne scars, while laser resurfacing smooths away shallower imperfections left by previous bouts of acne.
Acne may not be dangerous, but it merits a doctor’s attention. Seek a specialist in healthy skin and end the cycle of dry skin and breakouts that over-the-counter creams perpetuate.
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