Category Archives: acne treatment


Rosacea - Photo © A.D.A.M.

Rosacea.  Photo © A.D.A.M.

Updated January 01, 2014.


A skin condition which causes redness or flushing of the face, visible capillaries, and acne-like papules. Rosacea affects the cheeks, chin, nose, forehead, and sometimes the eyelids.

If the condition progresses, redness increases, the skin becomes more coarse and bumpy, and the nose may become larger. For some, rosacea also causes red, gritty-feeling eyes.

Rosacea is sometimes mistaken

for adult acne, but it is not acne vulgaris. Rosacea is most common in people with fair skin, and usually appears after age 30. Women are more prone to rosacea, but men tend to have more severe forms.

No one knows for sure exactly what causes rosacea. Although there is no cure for rosacea, it can be successfully controlled with help from your dermatologist. Treatment may include oral or antibiotics, metronidazole, sulfacetamide, and/or retinoids.

Also Known As: acne rosacea

What Tretinoin Can Do for Acne

Updated June 16, 2014.


A topical retinoid used to treat mild to moderate acne. A form of vitamin A, tretinoin rapidly exfoliates the skin, keeping pores clear of cellular debris and preventing the formation of comedones. It is available by prescription.

Tretinoin is also used to improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.

Side effects of tretinoin include:

  • dryness, peeling, and flaking of the skin
  • redness
  • mild stinging, burning or itching
  • photosensitivity

Tretinoin is the active ingredient found in the branded drugs Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Ziana, among others.

Also Known As: Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova, Avita, Altinac

Your Complete Guide to Retin-A Acne Medication

Updated December 29, 2014.

What Is Retin-A?

Retin-A (tretinoin) is a topical retinoid commonly used to treat acne. It is applied to all areas affected by breakouts and helps reduce the formation of pore blockages.

Other tretinoin medications work similarly to Retin-A and are sold under the brand names Retin-A Micro, Avita, Renova. Generic tretinoin is also available.

What Are the Side Effects of Retin-A?

Retin-A has been used safely by many people. Of course, like any medication, it can cause side effects. Dryness, redness, skin irritation and peeling are the most common.


can also cause sun sensitivity, which means you’ll need to wear sunscreen every day.

What Else Is Retin-A Used For?

Retin-A isn’t only used as an acne treatment. Tretinoin medications are also used quite often as an anti-aging treatment. People with adult acne often love tretinoin because of this added benefit.

Another nice feature of tretinoin treatment is that it can help reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. If pimples often leave dark discolorations on your skin, even after they have healed, Retin-A may be able to help fade these marks.

Who Should Not Use Retin-A?

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use Retin-A, unless otherwise advised by a doctor.

Those with eczema might want to forgo this medication, too. Applying Retin-A over eczema-affected skin can cause severe irritation.

There may be other instances in which Retin-A is not advisable. In that case, your dermatologist can offer other treatment options that

will be a better fit for you.

Help! Retin-A is Making Me Peel!

Most people who use Retin-A will experience dryness and peeling to some extent. But with a little extra care on your part, you can limit irritation and reduce discomfort.

Make sure you are using your medication as directed (more is not better!) Use gentle, non-medicated cleansers. A moisturizer will go a long way in soothing tight, dry skin too.

How Long Will It Take to See Results?

Like any acne medication, Retin-A takes time to work. Waiting for improvement is hard, but it can take six weeks (or longer) to see a noticeable difference. Your skin may actually seem to get worse for a period of time.

After your skin has cleared up, you will probably have to continue to use your Retin-A treatment — although less frequently — to keep breakouts from returning.

How Can I Get Retin-A?

You’ll need a prescription from your doctor to get Retin-A. During your appointment, your doctor will explain more about how Retin-A works, its side effects and how to use the medication correctly.

Treating Acne With Oral Minocycline

Updated December 15, 2014.

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See’s Medical Review Board.

Treating Acne with Oral Minocycline:

Minocycline is an oral antibiotic that is commonly prescribed for acne. It belongs to a group of antibiotics called tetracyclines (doxycycline and tetracycline also belong to this group and are also used to treat acne).

Of the all the tetracyclines, minocycline is the most expensive option. But it can be effective against acne when other oral antibiotics have failed.

Minocycline has been used for decades and is especially effective against inflammatory acne, although it’s rarely used as a solo treatment. Its nearly always prescribed along with a topical acne medication. This will give you much better results than just using minocycline alone.

Also Known As:

Minocin, Dynacin, Vectrin, Solodyn (extended-release minocycline)

How It Works:

Minocycline works to treat acne in two ways. First, it stops the growth of bacteria that cause acne breakouts. Second, minocycline reduces inflammation. If you have red, inflamed pimples this is good news.

On the other hand, minocycline won’t do much for blackheads and other non-inflamed blemishes. A better choice in this case would be topical retinoids.

Other Oral Antibiotics Used to Treat Acne:

Common Usage Directions:

Fifty to 100 mg, one or two times a day, is a common starting dosage.

Although it’s recommended to be taken on an empty stomach, minocycline can also be taken with

food. Unlike some other oral antibiotics, minocycline is absorbed really well, even with food. Not having to take it on an empty stomach is a big plus, especially for teenage boys who always seem to be hungry!

You’ll slowly taper off minocycline treatment once acne is under control. At this point, acne can often be kept in check by topical treatments alone. Sometimes, though, oral antibiotics have to be taken long-term to keep acne from returning.

Possible Side Effects:

Side effects can happen, although for most people they aren’t too uncomfortable. Just make sure to check in with your doctor if you notice any. Some of the more common side effects:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness

A bluish discoloration of the gums and mouth can also happen with minocycline use. This sounds strange and a bit scary, yes, but it generally occurs only with long term use and it is reversible. Tooth discoloration (again, of bluish nature) can happen too. It’s extremely unusual, but this one can be permanent.

Very rarely, taking minocycline can cause drug-induced lupus. Again, this is very rare and it usually goes away after stopping treatment.

Minocycline Is Not Right For:

Minocycline shouldn’t be used if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, so let your doctor know if either of these apply to you.

Also, kids under 8 years old shouldn’t use minocycline, although some sources recommend waiting until after age 10 or even age 12. Talk to your doc to find out what’s right in your case (or your child’s).

Tips for Using Minocycline:

  • Try to take your medication at about the same times every day. It helps it work better when there is a constant amount in your bloodstream.
  • Take the entire course, even if your skin is looking better.
  • Don’t lie down immediately after taking minocycline. Otherwise it can irritate the esophagus, which is really painful.
  • Give it time. It won’t happen instantaneously, but gradually you’ll notice less redness and less breakouts altogether.

Read More: Oral Antibiotic Treatment Options


“Prescription Medications for Treating Acne.” Acne Net. American Academy of Dermatology. 2008. Accessed 08 Sept 2011.

Leyden JJ, Del Rosso JQ “Oral antibiotic therapy for acne vulgaris: pharacokinetic and pharmacodynamic perspectives.” J Clin Aesthet Deratol. 2011 Feb; 4(2):40-7.

“Minocycline Oral” Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health. 23 Aug 11. Accessed 08 Sept 11.

Fix Your Smile with Invisible Braces (Laura waltz)

If you need braces to correct or straighten out crooked teeth, you don’t have to dread wearing those unattractive metal wires. Thanks to technological advancements in dentistry, straighter teeth and a winning smile can now be achieved with invisible brace Richmond.
Invisible braces provide an aesthetic alternative to traditional bracket or wire braces. They are clear, barely visible, and easily removable. Invisible braces are also called clear aligners or clear braces. They are made using advanced computer technology which can also predict tooth movement. This makes invisible braces effective in straightening teeth gradually with minimal discomfort.
Invisible braces can treat a wide variety of dental issues such as:
* Crowding – when teeth are too close together
* Overbite – teeth overlap each other
* Underbite – lower teeth stick out
* Crossbite – teeth bite on the wrong side of each other
* Openbite – your teeth don’t meet when you bite
* Overjet – the front teeth stick out
* Misplaced midline – centre lines of lower and upper teeth don’t align
* Spacing – gaps between teeth
* Crooked teeth
Invisible braces are primarily designed for older teenagers and adults, and aren’t recommended when one still has baby teeth. Children and younger teens with orthodontic problems are required to use traditional metal braces. It’s recommended that they see a children’s dentist Richmond. Consult your private dentist Richmond or a quality NHS dentistry Richmond to determine whether you are a right candidate for invisible braces.
Advantages of invisible braces over traditional metal braces
* The wires are small and tooth-coloured, which means they’re discreet and not easily visible to the naked eye.
* Discomfort is very minimal, since the teeth are gently repositioned and no extra pressure is exerted on the teeth.
* Treatment time is reduced up to 75%–typically 6-15 months compared to traditional braces which can take up to two years.
* The cost of treatment is more affordable than traditional braces.
Types of Invisible Braces
Clear aligners
Clear aligners are currently the most popular type of invisible braces, represented by well-known quality brands like Invisalign by Align Technologies and ClearCorrect by ClearCorrect Inc. Clear aligners are a series of custom-made clear, removable aligners that fit into your teeth to provide pain and irritation-free treatment with only minimal adjustment discomfort. Being nearly invisible, clear aligners are aesthetically more attractive compared to traditional metal braces. They are also minimally invasive, apply gentle pressure on your teeth, and are resistant to staining from daily wear. Clear aligners do not include any brackets, wires, or sharp edges that can graze, poke, or damage the inside of your mouth. You can remove them before eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing, and then reapply them without so much fuss.
The only problem is that since they’re removable, one might easily lose motivation or forget to wear them consistently. This can also lead to the possibility of misplacing or losing them. If you lose them, you’ll need to have them replaced and this will incur extra cost. Although generally comfortable to wear, there might be slight pain or discomfort especially during the first time wearing them. As you progress with your treatment, the discomfort would gradually fade.
Your dentist will first take three-dimensional impressions of your teeth and send them to the manufacturer’s laboratory to create your custom-fit clear aligners with the use of computerised technology. Once they’re made, they’re sent back to your dentist where you can try them on and assess if the fit is right. Clear aligners are made in sets. The number of aligners you need to use would depend on the severity of your orthodontic problem. Your dentist will instruct you to wear each aligner for a specific duration and he will also be the one to provide you with your next aligner set during your scheduled appointments.
Only manufacturer-certified and trained dentists and orthodontists can provide you with clear aligners. They may also require special care and maintenance so listen to your dentist’s instructions and follow them to the letter.
Ceramic brackets
Ceramic braces are like traditional metal braces; the only difference is that it has tooth-coloured brackets or tooth-coloured wires instead of metal that straighten out teeth. They are made of composite materials. The tooth-coloured ceramic material blends with the natural colour of your teeth, which make them less visible than metal braces. However, they’re not as “invisible” like clear aligners or inside braces. Ceramic brackets are bigger than metal ones and include ligatures or small rubber bands. These act as built-in spring clips on self-ligating brackets that connect them to the arch wire. The ligatures are clear and changed every time you go back to the dentist to have them adjustment, which is usually on a monthly basis. They require a longer treatment time since they’re structurally weaker than metal braces.
Like metal braces, ceramic brackets cannot be removed until treatment is final. Only your dentist can remove your ceramic brackets. Wearing them can also cause discomfort, irritation, and difficulties in eating, drinking, speaking, tooth brushing, and flossing.
Inside braces
Inside braces, or iBraces, are called so because they are attached to the back of the teeth, hiding them from plain sight. One well-known brand is Incognito Orthodontic Braces by 3M. iBraces use digital images of the interior of the teeth to create computer-designed custom brackets. These brackets attach to the insides of the upper and lower teeth. This makes them appealing for those who do not want the sensation of wearing ceramic brackets, metal wires, or clear aligners in front of their teeth. iBraces are fixed and non-removable. They can be used in combination with elastics to help speed up treatment.
iBraces are more expensive than traditional braces and clear aligners since computer customisation and specialised equipment is used to create the brackets. Also, the techniques used in making and applying inside braces are still fairly new, and only a few orthodontists are experienced in it.

Top Acne Skin Care Tips for Men

Shave lightly over acne-affected areas, and try not to drag your razor or nick pimples. An electric or safety razor may be less irritating than a traditional blade.

Whatever type you use, make sure it’s sharp. Always shave in the direction of hair growth and after you shower, when hair is softened. Use warm water to wet your beard, but cold water to rinse your blade, and choose a thick shaving cream. Avoid shaving when your skin is super inflamed.

Applying acne medications afterward, instead of aftershave, can help control breakouts. However, only use them if they don’t irritate your freshly shaved skin. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medications that don’t sting when applied after shaving.

What are Nodules?

Nodules - Photo © A.D.A.M.

Nodular Acne.  Photo © A.D.A.M.

Updated April 16, 2014.

Definition: An inflamed acne lesion presenting as a hard, painful lump under the skin. Nodules occur when there is a deep break in the follicle wall and contaminated debris empties into the dermis, infecting adjoining follicles.

Is Acne Contagious?

Updated June 16, 2014.

Question: Is Acne Contagious?

Is acne contagious? Is it possible to catch acne from someone else?


Although there are some skin maladies that are contagious, acne isn’t one of them. Common acne (what’s called acne vulgaris in med-speak) can’t be passed from person to person like a cold or flu can.

You can touch, hug, and kiss someone with acne without fear of catching the skin disorder. You can

even share the same towel or soap with someone who has acne without fear.

So if acne isn’t contagious, how do people get acne in the first place? Three major factors contribute to acne — a plug of skin cells within the pore, a surplus of oil, and the acne-inducing bacterium Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).

P. acnes are bacteria that are routinely present on the skin. It isn’t passed from person to person, so you don’t have to worry about “catching” this bacterium and developing acne. P. acnes are generally harmless. But when a plug of dead skin cells and oil blocks the pore opening, it creates an anaerobic environment where the P. acnes thrive. The bacteria irritate the pore lining, creating redness and inflammation.

So, if you have a friend with acne, you don’t have to worry about catching it from them. If you’re the one with acne, although there is no cure, it can be treated. If you’re acne is mild, try an over-the-counter treatment first. If your acne is more serious, or if you can’t

control your acne with OTC products, make an appointment with a dermatologist. Your doctor can help develop a successful acne treatment plan.

The 5 Best Budget-Friendly Acne Cleansers

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

Neutrogena skin care products have been around a long time, but now your choices go way beyond the traditional glycerin soap bar. For instance, their Oil-Free Acne Wash is a nice, basic cleanser that contains 2% salicylic acid.

As far a cleansers go, it can’t be beat. It foams nicely and rinses away clean. It can be a bit too drying for sensitive skin, though. But the price is great, so it’s definitely a keeper for the budget-conscious shopper.

If you’re not in love with the scent (it’s kind of bland and soapy smelling) you may like the Pink Grapefruit version. It has a fresh, citrusy scent that teen girls especially seemed to love. But be aware that while most people liked the aroma, some thought it was too overpowering. More »

What Causes a Pimple?

Updated February 12, 2015.

Acne is a chronic disorder of the sebaceous glands. While sometimes it seems pimples appear overnight, the development of an acne breakout is actually an extended process that begins at the cellular level. All pimples begin as a blockage of the hair follicle, or pore. Gaining an understanding of why a blockage begins and how a pimple develops will ultimately help you in treating your acne.

The Epidermis

The outermost section of the skin, the part you see every day, is called the epidermis. The epidermis consists of five layers. The deepest layer of the epidermis is the stratum germinativum. It is composed of a single layer of cells. Cell division, or mitosis, takes place in the stratum germinativum.


new cells begin their journey up through epidermis to the skin’s surface. First they are pushed up through the stratum mucosum, then the stratum spinosum. These three layers (stratum germinativum, mucosum, and spinosum) together are called the basal layer.

As the skin cells travel further, they reach the stratum granulosum. In this layer, the cells begin dying and hardening, giving them a granular appearance. By the time the cells reach the stratum corneum, they are dead.

The stratum corneum is made up of these tightly packed dead skin cells, which are continuously falling off and being replaced. This process is called desquamation. It takes approximately 28 days, from cell birth to sloughing off, to occur.

The Dermis

The dermis is the deepest, or inner section, of your skin and is made up of tough connective tissue. The dermis nourishes and supplies blood to the epidermis. It is also what gives the skin its elasticity. The dermis is much thicker than the epidermis but has just two distinct layers: the papillary layer and the reticular layer.


the dermis you will find blood and lymph vessels, nerves, arrector pili muscles (the muscles that make your hair stand on end), sudoriferous (sweat) glands, sebaceous (oil) glands, and hair follicles. It is within the hair follicle and sebaceous glands that acne begins.

The Hair Follicle

The hair follicle is a small, tube-like opening in the skin through which hair and sebum reach the skin’s surface. The follicle consists of the pore opening, hair root and bulb, sebaceous duct, and sebaceous gland. Although it is contained within the dermis, the epidermis lines the inside of the hair follicle.

In a normal functioning follicle the sebaceous glands secrete oil, or sebum, into the pore. Typically, sebum and dead cells shed from the stratum corneum emerge at the skin’s surface through the pore opening. In those with acne, however, this process goes awry.

In acne prone skin, sebum and dead skin cells easily become trapped within the follicle. This accumulation of cellular debris and sebaceous matter forms a hard plug that obstructs the pore opening. This obstruction is called a comedo. It manifests itself as non-inflamed bump or blackhead on the skin’s surface.

Propionibacteria Acnes

Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is the bacterium responsible for inflamed acne breakouts. P. acnes are regular residents within the hair follicle. Normally, they are harmless. However, in acne prone skin the P. acnes population grows out of control.

When a comedo blocks the pore opening, it creates an anaerobic environment, or a lack of oxygen within the follicle. This anaerobic environment, along with excess sebum within the pore, creates a favorable environment where P. acnes bacteria can thrive.

As the follicle becomes filled with sebum, dead cells, and bacteria, it begins to swell. The follicle wall ruptures and spills into the dermis. White blood cells rush in to fight the bacteria. Redness and swelling occurs, and pus is created. A pimple has now formed.

If the rupture in the follicle wall happens near the surface, the pimple is usually minor and heals quickly. It is when the break occurs deep within the dermis that more severe lesions, such as nodules and cysts, develop.