Spotty skin? Treating a young person’s acne

It is normal to have spots appearing on young skin. Acne is a common problem for the young. In most cases, the problem is small and gets better by itself, but it can still cause a great deal of trouble and negatively influence the person’s looks. At worst, acne is a long-term, scarring problem, and, therefore, it should be treated efficiently.

Acne is related to the early onset of puberty, when the sebaceous glands widen and sebaceous secretion increases due to the effect of hormones. Usually, acne is not caused by wrong eating habits or by not washing your skin correctly. The fundamental reason behind acne is not known, and unfortunately we cannot tell why some get the disease and some not.
The bad feelings or, for example, nervousness in social situations caused by acne can disturb life to a large extent, both for young and adults. Therefore, acne should be treated well. It is also good to treat acne early in order to prevent it from scarring the skin. There are good treatments to acne that take effect almost always. Acne’s pharmacological treatment consists of four stages. The dermatologist helps in selecting the most suitable treatment and follows up the treatment. Don’t remain alone with your acne.

The acne treatment methods described in this article are suitable for both the young and adults. The specialist consulted is the dermatologist Anna Haahtela.

1. Acne’s local treatment: gels and creams

The first and the lightest treatment option is local treatment: different gels and creams. They are safe to use, even for several years, and the treatment can be continued as long as acne continues. The local treatment is a flexible way to treat acne, and the effect of the treatment is maintained well throughout the years. The problem with gels and creams is that they may irritate and dehydrate the skin, especially in the beginning. They should also be applied patiently and carefully every day to the entire acne area in order to keep the acne at bay. Often, if the gel treatment seems insufficient, it is because the patient has not been provided with sufficient treatment instructions.

The local treatment is suited for treating mild and moderate acne. Its effects can be felt slowly, and that is why it is often recommended to take a course of antibiotics in the initial phase to support the local treatment.

2. Antibiotics against acne: tetracycline

The antibiotics are usually taken for approximately three months. It can be an excellent help as the initial treatment of moderate or difficult inflammatory acne. The antibiotics are not suitable for continuous treatment, since there are adverse effects related to the use of antibiotics. Acne can also return after the course is finished. Therefore, antibiotics should not be selected as the only treatment for acne. The local treatment and antibiotics to control acne in the beginning is a good treatment combination for many. The benefit of antibiotics is that they do not irritate the skin. The antibiotics may not be very efficient against mild acne with occlusions.

3. Combination oral contraceptive pill against acne

If the local treatment does not provide sufficient treatment for acne, a woman can find help from combination oral contraceptive pills containing oestrogen and progestin (progesterone). The contraceptive pills can keep the acne suppressed for a long time. Their benefits could also include controlled menstrual bleeding and the easing of menstrual cramps.
However, it could take three months or even six months before the effect of contraceptive pills in treating acne can be truly seen. The oral contraceptive pills are not suited for a woman who smokes, has migraine with aura or an earlier history of venous or arterial thrombosis or hypertension, nor a woman who is wishing to get pregnant. The local treatment and contraceptive pills could also be an efficient combination treatment.

4. Isotretinoin treatment for acne

Isotretinoin is a vitamin A derivate that nearly always works in treating difficult, scarring acne. The doctor usually prescribes a six-month course of the medicine. It can also be used for treating mild acne when the other treatments do not provide sufficient help.

Isotretinoin treatment should only be used for a real need, since the medicine requires monitoring liver enzymes and it is harmful to foetuses. When taking the medicine, birth control that is as effective as possible must be used, such as a coil or contraceptive pills and condoms combined. The birth control should be continued a month after finishing the medication.A

Dermatologist talks about the care of impure skin – Watch the video! (in finnish)

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