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When Over-the-Counter Acne Treatments Aren’t Enough

Cosmetic physicians may hold the solution

They may work for some people, but over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments don’t work for everyone, especially if acne is severe. Some OTC acne medications can dry out or irritate skin, which can exacerbate acne, causing more breakouts. At these times, where can you find effective relief from acne? Many patients turn to their local medical spas.ID-100358259

Which Came First: The Acne or the Pimple?

Let’s gain a clearer understanding of how acne occurs before we look beyond the drugstore aisle for ways to tackle the problem.

Acne is considered a disease of the skin in which hair follicles become plugged. When sebaceous glands produce excess sebum, or oil, and skin sheds a high amount of dead skin cells, they can create a blockage in the hair follicle, as well as an ideal location for bacteria to grow. Acne may produce a whitehead (a bulge in the follicle wall) or a blackhead (a darkened follicle plug that’s open at the surface). When the plugged follicle becomes infected or inflamed, it swells and turns red — a pimple.

The condition is most common in teens because of hormonal changes, but adults can also experience acne — even severe acne. Cystic acne is an extreme version caused by a blockage deeper in the follicle that produces larger lesions than the typical pimple. These cysts can be painful to the touch and difficult to alleviate, sometimes leaving behind scabs and scars. Acne commonly occurs on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, and back, but it can affect other parts of the body, too.

Hormone changes, particular medications, and diet can cause or worsen acne. Oily foods, chocolate, and dirt are not responsible for acne, as some people believe and according to the Mayo Clinic. Gently cleaning your skin to remove oil and dead skin cells should be enough to help keep acne under control. But don’t overdo the scrubbing and washing. Over-washing and using harsh cleansers can irritate your skin and also contribute to acne.

Now you understand what’s behind the problem. Let’s talk about how to solve it …

Beyond the Drugstore Aisle

When the store-bought acne creams and rinses aren’t doing the trick, you may want to start looking for a qualified dermatologist or other physician who specializes in skin care, such as the physicians at CosMedics, a cosmetic skin care and acne clinic in Edmonton.

A qualified doctor can look at your skin and evaluate your condition and skin type. He or she can provide a personalized treatment tailored to your needs in order to remedy extreme or persistent acne. Such experts can also provide guidance on proper at-home skin care during your acne treatment and customize a regimen — possibly including medical-grade prescription products — to help you maintain clear, healthy skin.

Physicians have a variety of treatment options at their disposal that you won’t find in stores. That’s because the treatments offered by doctors require specialized knowledge or training to ensure safe use. You may be surprised by the number of treatment options available from the doctor. The following are some of the common, popular treatments for acne:

  • Radiofrequency treatments
  • Laser treatments
  • BLU-U® light treatments (with or without Levulan® topical treatments)
  • Chemical peels
  • Microdermabrasion

Other treatments might include facials, topical medication or cream, oral medication, hormonal or birth control medication, cortisone injections, lifestyle changes that may involve different makeup or modifications to diet, or even surgical removal of acne-related cysts.

Of course, any time you want to start a treatment or plan that will affect your body or health, even for OTC acne medication, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor.

 

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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