Acne breakouts are commonly associated with teenagers — but those troublesome pimples don’t always go away when we enter our 20s. The reality is that many adults continue to have acne on occasion throughout their 20s and 30s, and may even live with the skin condition well into middle age.
Thankfully, there are several ways to treat an existing breakout and prevent new pimples from developing. “The medications one uses for acne depend on type and severity,” says Adelaide A. Hebert, MD, a professor in the dermatology department at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School.
Some treatments are directed toward removing the dead skin and oils that clog pores and create acne, while others target the cystic formation typical of severe acne. Additional acne treatment options work by attacking overgrowths of Propionibacterium acnes, a type of bacteria that occurs naturally on the skin but can cause acne when its growth is uncontrolled.
Acne Treatment Options
Salicylic Acid. “Salicylic acid works as an antibacterial,” Woolery-Lloyd says. That means that this acne treatment fights germs that could be contributing to your acne. You can find this powerful ingredient within Clear Essence’s Blemish Control Wash Formula. The minty facial wash rids the skin of dirt, oil and bacteria after a long day.
Antibiotics. Occasionally, your dermatologist might prescribe an antibiotic to be taken by mouth. In this case, remember that they often increase sensitivity to sun, Woolery-Lloyd says.
Oral antibiotics you might be prescribed include:
- Tetracycline, doxycycline, or minocycline
Topical antibiotics include:
- Azelaic acid
- Sodium sulfacetamide
Topical sulfur products. Many over-the-counter soaps and anti-acne creams contain sulfur, which has been in use as an acne treatment for half a century. Although the exact mechanism by which sulfur fights acne is not known, these products are recommended by dermatologists, says Hebert. Try the Clear Essence Medicated Cleansing Bar which has tiny exfoliating beads that remove dirt and dead skin cells that often clog pores.
Another medication that may be useful in women is an oral contraceptive (birth control pill), which can help regulate hormones that may be contributing to acne breakouts.
No matter what acne treatment is used, if it is not working and you continue to suffer from bouts of acne, talk to your doctor. You may need to step up your program, or change it around a little, for best results.