Turning to Prescriptions

If pharmacy medications doesn’t help, you could turn to prescriptions

Generally, mild and moderate forms of acne can be treated with over-the-counter medications, but with severe cases the only recourse is to seek treatment from a dermatologist. In many cases, the doctor will recommend a prescription medicine to deal with the condition. It also should be noted that these kinds of medication can be more effective even when dealing with moderate acne than what is typically available over-the-counter.

There are two types of prescription acne medications – oral and topical.

Antibiotics

Commonly used to fight acne, antibiotics can be taken orally or as a lotion. Topical prescription medications may include ingredients such as zinc or retinoids. The most common antibiotic used for treating acne is tetracycline. It is used to kill the bacteria responsible for acne and also reduces inflammation. Treatment may take several weeks or even months to be effective and it is important to continue using antibiotics even after the acne has cleared up. A common side effect associated with tetracycline is increased sensitivity to sun light resulting in bad sunburns if the patient stays in the sun too long. Further side effects may include dizziness, hives, and upset stomach.

Women who are taking tetracycline may be susceptible to an increase in incidences of vaginal yeast.

Ointments and topical solutions

Antibiotic ointments actually have fewer complications than oral antibiotics. Like oral antibiotics, topical treatments are rather effective in killing bacteria that cause acne. If you use these ointments with other topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide the bacteria may not develop resistance to the antibiotics. This increases the level of prevention that you will experience.

Retinoids

Retinoids are a form of acne medication that is derived from vitamin A and can be applied directly to the skin typically in the form of lotions or creams. Topical retinoid medications are useful for treating blackheads and whiteheads by helping to open clogged pores.

Oral retinoids are used to treat the more severe forms of acne, because they have a better chance of dealing breakouts and lesions which don’t respond to other treatments. Oral retinoids cause the upper layer of the skin to peel thereby opening pores. They also cause the body to produce less sebum – the substance which causes oily skin.

As with many other types of prescription strength medication, a number of serious side effects are associated with oral retinoids. They can also cause liver damage and depression, so regular medical attention is needed to make sure the patient is not being adversely affected by retinoid treatment. It is not unheard of for this kind of medication to cause birth defects if mothers are taking them when pregnant, so females should consult their doctor if pregnant, or suspect pregnancy.

Other medications

Birth control pills are sometimes effective in treating acne in women. They change hormone levels in the body and can reduce the acne causing effects of testosterone.